Every month, my checkbook is a slave to Sallie Mae and AES. In a month or so, I am buying my leased car, but I will still have to make monthly payments until I can pay it off (wooo financing). Both of my cats need to go to the vet for shots and Jasmine needs anxiety medications (hahaha) and to get her arthritis checked. I have to buy presents and spend money for wedding events (wedding/engagement party, hotel for wedding, etc. etc.). I also just dropped a lot of money buying Big Fish tickets for my friend and I (but I owe him lots, so it’s fair).
Money is flying out of my bank account.
And yet, I’m taking the summer off.
How is this even possible? Is it responsible? Am I a spoiled, lazy brat?
I don’t know. I’ll be honest with you. I don’t know.
I do know that it really makes some people angry. I know some people think that I’m lazy, or that I have no work ethic, or concept of real world costs and real world life. I do. Don’t you worry, I do.
There are a lot of people who envy me for being able to sit around all summer, just as we did when we were in high school. And you know what I say to them?
Let’s switch. I would much rather be working. I love to be busy. I am a costume designer by profession, but in my heart and soul I will always be a stage manager. I love to do work, and get people going, and keep things organized and moving like a well oiled machine. Having nothing to do is beyond bizarre.
So why am I sitting on my bed, just hangin’ with my cats right now?
I need to take time for myself right now. I have been going non-stop since graduate school. Last year, I jumped right from student teaching into an intense summer teaching job, where I had very odd hours, drove up and down New Jersey to teach, hurt myself schlepping all of the materials to the different classrooms, and rarely saw any of my friends. It was taxing. I made money, and the experience was invaluable. However, employees were barely considered to be living, breathing humans, and making a buck was more important to the company than the success of the classrooms. I would not allow myself to go back to such a job this year.
I have been applying to jobs since graduate school, and I have been substituting and working on shows this school year. It never seems like enough. Because it’s not enough. I need a full-time job with benefits. I need to be in more schools so that maybe I’ll have that chance. I need to find time to read more plays. I need to find time to learn to sew better. I need to find time to apply to jobs. I need to find time to study for yet another Praxis exam so that maybe I can get a job as an elementary school teacher. I need to find time to sift through jobs. I need to find time to help my friend plan his wedding. I need to find time to be a friend. I need to find time to find myself.
After a rather embarrassing breakdown the other week, by which I could only be consoled with a trip to Applebee’s, I decided to stop looking for summer work, and just let fate happen.
I could only have emails and phone calls to prospective employers ignored so many times. It really starts to make a person feel low, you know? 20-somethings in this day and age know what I’m sayin’. And if they don’t, they are damn lucky.
So I am going to take this summer off, to recharge, reinvigorate, and find myself. Here’s how I plan to do all of this:
- I am taking my first official relaxation vacation in years. I’m going to California. I’M GOING TO DISNEYLAND!!!! And a spa! And a wonderful engagement cocktail party!
- I have been studying, slowly yet steadily, for my Praxis test. I feel good about the Language Arts/Reading section (of course), and I finished studying for science. Next is Social Studies and then math. I can do it!
- The other day I took a friend to go pet the kitties at the animal shelter, just because it makes me happy. We really wanted to adopt a kitten though, which would have been bad. $$$
- Almost every weekend of the summer I have some sort of concert or event planned. It more than makes up for last summer, and I feel as if I have some social events to look forward to, as opposed to how I felt last summer, and throughout most of this school year. And the best part is that they are all inexpensive, so I don’t feel as if my wallet is draining too much, in retrospect.
- I bought a few yards of gorgeous linen fabric and a lovely Project Runway dress pattern so I can be creative and make something, while working on my sewing skills.
- I have a massive stack of books and plays that I want to read. I’d like to get through a bunch of those.
- I’d like to take a few Wednesdays and go into the city with one of my friends from high school to catch some discount matinee musicals with the help of the lovely TKTS booth. This friend of mine is in exactly the same position that I’m in. She is also taking the summer off, for many of the same reasons that I am, so I know that I’m not alone.
I realize this still sounds insane, and now that we’re into July I am definitely feeling anxious about money and my future, but I think it will work out.
I will never give up my dream of teaching theatre and inspiring students full time, but for right now, I need to take a break before my aspirations turn into more full-blown nightmares that keep me tossing and turning all night.
So let’s go, Summer. Bring it.