2020 hindsight: Part two

Hello! I was going to make this hindsight summary just one post, but man, I really don’t know how to shut up. So many words! Hahahaha, so here’s part two. (Part one here)

July: I set up my blog on June 30, but I really didn’t get into it until July. And I loved it. People actually read it! Unreal. It was therapeutic. It was freeing. I did get a bit ambitious by writing an entry every day, but now I do it once a week. That is better for me. Now, I have so much stuff I can do, that I don’t have time to do a blog entry every day, and that is just honestly fantastic.

I also started dieting and exercising. And I really got into it. I found out via rumor that it was likely that my job would last at least until the end of the year. I took that to mean I could be let go Jan. 1. But I at least had an idea of when I would lose my job instead of just thinking “any day.”

August: Folks bought me exercise equipment for my birthday. It’s been fun to have a variety of exercise instead of just jogging every day. It’s been especially beneficial this winter, since I can’t really exercise outside. I started losing weight, and I started feeling better.

I finally tried streaming. Well, that sure does take a lot more work than I thought. I did not realize all the technical stuff that goes into that. Props to all the folks out there who make a living doing that, because I sure don’t have the time to even do it casually. So, I’ve abandoned that, but I still go on Twitch and watch folks play games or whatever. It’s a fun way to talk to and meet other people. I’ve made a lot of online friends that way, and it’s so awesome. Really got me out of isolation. People call me Daisy for short (Frazzled Daisy), and I think that’s cute.

I think this was the month that my hair started falling out in just a crazy amount. I still can’t believe how much hair I was losing. I ended up chopping off a bunch of it. I wanted to shave it off, but I never got the courage. It kind of looks ridiculous now, but whatever. Who am I trying to impress? Hahaha

I started writing a book! No, it’s not done yet. But at least I started!

September: Now, though, I was panicking about losing my job. I found out in APRIL, and now it was SEPTEMBER. I think this was the month that other papers in the company were moving to a design hub, and I definitely got back into the “any day” thinking on when I’d lose my job.

So, I got my brain focused on the job hunt. I updated my resume, asked folks to be my references and was online every day looking for a job. I decided that I would take whatever job I could get. I thought maybe I could freelance as an editor or graphic designer. I started learning Illustrator, and I signed up on a few websites.

In the middle of the month, my blog paid off. Never in a million years did I think anything would come of it, other than giving myself and outlet, something to do and some entertainment for folks. But a friend and former co-worker told me that there was an opening for a columnist to write about my autoimmune condition. So, now I’m a paid columnist! I still can’t believe it. And people read it! And comment on it! And say I inspire them. Me? Inspire people? I just still can’t comprehend that. I’m just little old Sandy. If you’d like to check it out, go to ancavasculitisnews.com, click on “columns” at top right, then select “(In)visible Journey.”

Then, I figured out that maybe if I could get a few more small jobs like this, I could make enough money to survive. I searched and searched for other small jobs, but I could not find anything. While I was really excited about the columnist job, I was starting to feel hopeless again.

Then, one night, after searching for a while on job sites, I took a break and played a video game. Then, I thought “OK, one more check for tonight.” And there it was. Just posted. A perfect job. A remote position for a newspaper designer at a hub. I got SO EXCITED. I applied online, but it didn’t offer a place to attach samples. The job posting had an email address, so I sort of applied twice, because I sent him and email with my resume and samples.

Thankfully, that wasn’t an issue. I got a call the next morning — I applied at about 10 p.m. or so the night before. And, after an interview and background check and such, I got the job. You have no idea how much I squealed with joy. Not only did I get a job, but it was going to be doing what I love!

In my last post, I said that I considered a career change. Well, that was out of necessity not because I don’t enjoy what I do. When I first started out in this career, when I got a new job, I had to move. That’s the way of this business. There isn’t usually a lot to choose from in one area. This time, though, moving was NOT an option. And so I assumed that I would not be able to get a job in my field. Then, a relative pointed out a job listing for a remote designer. And while I did not get that job, it sparked in me a giant “DUHHHHHHHHHHH” that of course remote work in my field was an option.

October: So, I turned in my notice at my last job. I felt guilty about it, because it kind of screwed over the folks on the copy desk. But I had to think about my future. I still feel bad about it, though. I had a nice five days off in between jobs, then I got started on my new job.

And I absolutely LOVE IT. It is a perfect fit for me. It is a lot of work, but I love the work, so it’s fun to me. It’s all design, so no editing. I design newspapers in Idaho, Wisconsin and Washington state. Isn’t that cool? I think that’s cool. And it’s been fascinating to learn about those places. It is very interesting to me to see how people live and the cultures and traditions and such in other states.

I bought a bunch of office stuff, including a super comfy chair.

November: So, the job is a lot of work, and I’m perfectly fine with that. But it did mean that I would have to cut back on some stuff. That’s why I haven’t finished the book I’ve been working on. It’s also why I cut back on writing my column from every week to once a month. And why I do my blog once a week instead of every day.

But I am so happy with that. That is fine. I can still do all those things. And I can do them without the looming job loss floating over my head. I also absolutely, positively LOVE LOVE LOVE working from home. If a job can be done from home, it should be. There are just SO MANY ways to communicate online nowadays, it just seems like a such a waste to force people to work in an office.

There are hardly any distractions. I am so much more productive. I am less agitated and angry. No one is looking at my monitor while I design. It bugs the crap out of me when people do that. I am in a quiet corner in my room. I listen to music. I can sing out loud to it. I can watch TV — though I don’t really, because it is distracting. But it’s nice to be able to monitor the news if I need to, without the TV being on and cranked up, like it was at so many other places I’ve worked.

I get homecooked meals all the time. I often have to just grab a plate of food and eat it at my desk, but that’s fine. I have a heater by my desk. I am not freezing to death like I have been in every other office ever. If I get uncomfortable, I can change clothes. I have my own bathroom. Seriously, I could sit here and probably list 3000000 more things that rock about working from home. I can’t think of a single thing I don’t like about it.

Well, because I was adjusting to the job, and it is a lot of work, I fell off the diet and exercise wagons. Then the holidays hit, and I decided that I would just go ahead and stop stressing about it. I wanted to eat the cookies my mom bakes at Christmas, and all the wonderful food she cooks during the holidays. So, I took a break from the diet and exercise, and I look forward to getting things started back up.

December: Christmastime! And a vaccine! And I’m so glad for it. I sure don’t mind waiting for my turn.

I did presents kind of weird this year. I gave presents early, and in one case I just gave money. I bought and installed a new curtain and curtain rod on the sliding glass door as a gift to my mom. And I bought her some replacement Tupperware from eBay. There were three things that I knew that she loved to use, but they were starting to crack and getting close to be unusable.

Here is my mom opening her presents from me. I think she liked them.

I also ordered a couple gifts from Etsy, which I had never done before. It was my effort to support small business right now. The recipients loved the gifts, so that worked out.

And for the first time in 10 years, I had a white Christmas. We got about 5 inches of snow.

It mostly snowed Christmas Eve, then we had about a quarter inch come down on Christmas Day.
I love how bright the snow makes nighttime. The top pic is when it was still raining, then the bottom one is about 1-2 hours later.

I got some fun gifts too. And I am 38 years old, and Santa still leaves me a stocking full of goodies! I had a really nice Christmas. Oh, and originally I had to work on Christmas, but the paper I usually design that day was designed early, so I had Christmas off. Pretty awesome!

My hair seems to have stopped falling out at the moment. Thank you, Pantene Breakage Defense conditioner.

I do have some plans for 2021:

  • First off, obviously, back on the diet/exercise regime. Now that I am used to the new job, I will have time to exercise again. The job really wore me out at first, and that was part of the reason I cut back on exercising. And as soon as all the goodies are eaten, that’s it. No more junk food.
  • I also plan on getting the vaccine. I am hopeful that maybe by the end of the year, my mom and I can go to some out-of-the-way place and have a nice vacation.
  • Write that dang book!
  • Keep socializing online. It’s SO FUN!
  • Buy a VR headset. Seems silly, but dang I want one!
  • Dine at a restaurant and not take it for granted.
  • Shop in a store. I miss that so much.

Cheers to a hopeful 2021! Until next time!

The Frazzled Daisy

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