She paced around her apartment looking for something else to do. Laundry was done. Every thing was clean. And then cleaned again. Even the "I'll do it later" jobs had been done. The weekend had been spent rushing from one thing to another. Just keeping busy. Trying to outrun that feeling that had started when she heard the ding and the IM had popped up on her computer screen Friday afternoon.
"I'd like to see you in my office."
With that little ding and that one sentence everything shifted. She had been thrilled that there was only an hour left, then happy hour, then the weekend; one of the first weekends she had had all summer with nothing planned. No BBQs, graduation parties, weddings, birthdays, nothing. Just a weekend with no responsibilities at all and she had been so looking forward to it. After leaving her boss's office she had wished for nothing more than a weekend packed with activities so she could focus on something, anything else.
She had been distracted Friday night when she was at Happy Hour, of course she was, but no one pressed her for more details than just the blanket, "work stuff" she had tossed out when asked. At that point her mind was still reeling. What was she going to do? Start over? Again? It wouldn't be the first time, that was for sure. She'd done it often enough. New jobs. New cities. New was sort of her thing. But always on her volition. Not forced on her.
She wandered around the apartment looking for something else. It was Sunday afternoon and soon she would have to start telling people. She could play off Monday as being sick. Buy herself a day. Maybe two. But she had never taken more than a few days off. Ever. Her father had taught her to always do her best, work her hardest at any job she had. Show up first, leave last, do your best and it will be noticed. Well sure, Dad. If you want people to notice that's good advice.
She felt itchy. Like her skin was too tight. She thought that this must be what a snake felt like right before it shed its skin.
She sat down at her desk and opened the top drawer. The one with the list. She hated calling it a bucket list since that seemed so trendy. She just thought of it as her master To Do list. Things had been added and crossed off for so long the first few items on the list were written in loopy script with hearts dotting the I's. Most of the things on her list were things To Do, as befitted a To Do list. But there was one giant don't. She remembered the day she wrote it.
She had gotten off the phone with her sister. Listening to plans for the family vacation to one of those all inclusive resorts. The kids would have a day camp of sorts while she and her husband could lounge by the pool or on the beach drinking frozen boozy mixtures all day. When she asked what else they were going to do, maybe hiking or snorkeling or anything her sister had informed her that she and her husband worked too hard to turn their vacation into some sort of extreme sport. It was all about being comfortable. Like their luxury car, their too big for them McMansion, the right schools, the right activities, it was all about being comfortable. A comfortable living and a comfortable life. They worked like dogs for that comfort, but that was something her sister seemed to not notice.
As she hung up the phone she had pulled out the black Sharpie and written "DON'T GET TOO COMFORTABLE" across the top of her To Do list. And so she hadn't. She had moved. Moved cities, moved jobs, moved from apartment to apartment. Don't get too comfortable was sort of her mantra. If she felt herself settling in someplace that itchy feeling would start up and she would break free. Or at least she used to.
After the ding on Friday she realized she had been at this job for 6 years. Sure she had moved around there, taking on new challenges as fast as they were offered. Sometimes overstepping her experience zone. Floundering on occasion. Making mad dash saves on others. But six years? Had it really been that long? And this apartment, after the weekend spent cleaning she realized she could no longer move with a few boxes from Kroger's and two car trips. There would need to be a van, and movers.
She owned a couch for god's sake.
How had this happened? How had she left herself settle in? And was this her karmic retribution for it? For ignoring the bold print DON'T GET TOO COMFORTABLE?
She turned on the laptop and pulled up a copy of her resume. When was the last time she had even updated it? Two years? Seriously? How had she gotten that complacent? That comfortable?
The itchy feeling intensified and she got up and started pacing the apartment again. Don't get too comfortable. Well she certainly wasn't comfortable right now, that was for sure. And as soon as she thought the actual words the itchy feeling lessened. The tightness started to release. She wasn't comfortable. Not at all. She was standing on the edge of a new adventure and it was scary. It was a challenge. It wasn't comfortable. Not at all.
Six years and a couch didn't mean she had settled. Didn't mean she failed at her list. Not at all.
She picked up the phone;
"Mom? Hey, it's me. Yeah, I'm okay... Mostly.... Well you know the company I work for merged with another one right? They've been reorganizing departments. Restructuring....Yeah, you're right, code word for firing people....Well so...Friday my boss called me in to his office... No...no, Mom, I'm fine. I'm really okay. They offered me a VP position. New office, new responsibilities, nice raise....yeah, I think I'm going to take it."