I have never been so unhappy before in my life. My unemployment, infertility, and Big Guy’s job have all collided to create a perfect storm that has lasted for way too long already.
We moved to Southern California because Big Guy was having a hard time finding full-time employment in Denver. He was stuck in a place accepting temporary and seasonal work in his field, which not only doesn’t pay well, but also doesn’t offer any benefits or long-term stability. When he applied with a large, international consulting firm headquartered in Denver, they offered him a job in Orange County.
We had to take it. Big Guy had been looking for full-time work for almost two years at that point. Also, my fellowship with its paltry stipend was coming to an end, and we were going to lose our source of income. We didn’t have a choice. This meant leaving our home that we love – the house, the city, the restaurants, the mountains, our dear, dear friends. All of it. We didn’t have much of a choice.
My transition to Orange County hasn’t been kind. This place isn’t for me. I can understand why thousands, if not millions, love it here, but it is decidedly not for me for innumerable reasons. Big Guy travels to the desert a lot for work, and even when he isn’t travelling he is working over sixty hours a week. I end up spending a lot of time by myself. All day every day. This has made me unhappy.
I worked so very, very hard for five years on my degree. I was ecstatic when I finished. It felt amazing to get that monkey off my back. I have since applied for many jobs, but to no avail. Let me be clear. I didn’t, at any one point, enter the job search with any amount of ego or hubris. I have applied for jobs that I am over-qualified for, under-qualified for, and jobs that are asking for my exact qualifications. I took an exam for a research position within my discipline with the State of California. By law they must select an applicant from the top three scores. I was the top scorer on the test, but still no job offer.
This has been demoralizing and it makes me unhappy. I feel as if all of my hard work has been for naught. I have effectively educated myself out of the job market. I feel useless and without worth. So here I sit.
As for the family bit, well we all know how that story goes. Infertility, infertility, blocked tubes, infertility, baby, miscarriage, infertility. This has also made me unhappy.
How does one define themselves if not by work and family?
The worst thing is, I don’t know how to fix it. I don’t know how to come to terms with it. I don’t know how to accept and just be in this space. I don’t know if I should passively allow the Universe to work and bend to its will, or if I should actively chafe against the lot that’s been given to me. I don’t know how to maintain some semblance of self in the midst of this pain. What does one do when one is unhappy?
What happens when one is so mournfully, pitifully unhappy? What happens to the heart? To the spirit? To the soul? Does it result in long-term irreparable damage?
I will be scarred by this period for the rest of my life. I’m not sure I like the person that I’ve become. I don’t know if I will ever recover.
I am unhappy. Terribly, terribly unhappy.