I remember watching a nature show about Gannets; the large, white sea birds that nest in dense colonies along the coast for several weeks a year. The commentator explained that when presented with both, a predator flying over-head and a baby crying to be fed, Gannets will often start to preen themselves. Overwhelmed by two competing stimuli requiring very different reactions, the birds stall and display behaviour that is inappropriate to both situations.
That is me. I am a Gannet. I am “between jobs” with a time on my hands for the first time in many years. There are a thousand things I could be doing; dozens of things I should be doing. I am planning on moving once I secure a new job so I should be fixing my house, packing my belongings, and doing deep cleaning. I should be researching storage facilities and looking for a new home. But I can’t seem to decide – where to start in my house, whether to hire someone to help me, or where to move to.
Instead, I have been wasting time. I have been both bored and restless; unable to settle on one task. I have been eating for entertainment, for pleasure, for comfort!! “Go for a walk” I tell myself. But I cannot pull myself away from the computer. I have been obsessively checking social media sites and job sites; watching the same jobs flash before my eyes over and over again. At night, I comfort myself with a steady stream of Netflix fare.
“Keep busy”, I tell myself but it is SO hard to do so when your life is up in the air. I don’t know where I will be working in two months, where I will be living, or what I will be doing! In fact, I don’t know IF I will be working in two months. I feel frozen in job-seeking Hell; applying for jobs and waiting! “Go for a holiday!” my daughter tells me. But how can I go away when I am waiting to be invited for a job interview?
I seem to be stuck on a ever-revolving carousel where every decision rests on the one before it. I know that something will change and then I will have to take care of all of things that are going un-done when I had the time. But somehow that does not seem to matter. Like the big, white bird that spends most its life at sea, I am stuck; overwhelmed by the tasks requiring my attention, plagued by indecision, and immobilized by fear.