The Unemployed Bride

I just spent my morning on the phone with unemployment. It turns out that you have to re-file your claim after a year, even though the unemployment homepage and help-line both imply otherwise. What you actually have to do is sit on the phone talking to an automated system for hours screaming “yes” or “no” into the phone until it eventually cuts out on you and you have to start the whole thing over again. If you’ve never collected unemployment, this probably seems pretty confusing—well, it is. Thankfully, after a whole morning on the phone I’ve been assured I’ll still have money to pay my rent and buy some food soon, so that’s good.

Yes, I’m unemployed and I’m getting married in two months. My parents are paying for most of our wedding (which makes me incredibly lucky and eternally grateful), but I’d always planned to be able to contribute something, and to pay for all the little details for myself too, but that’s become nearly impossible. I’m not saying “oh poor little unemployed me”, what I’m saying is that in this economy everyone is learning that you can’t just put your life on hold until things get better. Getting married while unemployed, might seem irresponsible to some, but spending your life saying “I’ll just wait until I get a job before I (insert life event here)” gets old fast. I personally think we have way too little time on this planet to keep putting things off like that, especially when the job market doesn’t seem to be getting better—especially if you’re in a creative field like me.

(I’m interspersing this somewhat depressing post with images of kittens to cheer you up)

I’m not alone in being an unemployed bride, I’ve heard of dozens of others, and I’m sure people might think we’re crazy or impractical. I wasn’t unemployed when I got engaged, but you know, life has a funny sense of humor sometimes. Being unemployed has given me more time to focus on wedding plans, but it has also given me far less dispensable income to spend on it—leading to many panic attacks. We’re not having a crazy expensive wedding, we’re cutting costs wherever we can, and it’s hard. It makes thing far more stressful, I’m sure of it. I can’t help but believe that brides with more money have less sleepless nights worrying over things, not just bills, but also stresses that could be cut out by throwing cash in the right places.

Being unemployed means feeling guilty all the time. Guilty for not having a job, guilty for not having money, guilty for spending any money, guilty for feeling sorry for yourself, and right now I’m feeling guilty for even writing about this, because I know how many millions of people are so much worse off than me. I worked for three years at a large company, I haven’t found work anywhere else. I rarely ever go out to eat or go shopping anymore. If I do it’s at Costco, or Target, or the drugstore. Being unemployed isn’t a ticket for fun, nor is it a free pass to slack, it’s limbo, and trying to plan one of the biggest events in your life while you have no idea what’s going to happen in your financial future, can be pretty damn stressful. I haven’t spent my summer being carefree and living it up, I’ve spent it trying to stay as busy as possible to keep my mind off the worry that plagues me, which includes writing this blog, and maintaining my etsy shop, but more on that tomorrow.

We all have events that haunt us from the future, teeming with uncertainty. Maybe it’s a job interview, or going away to college, or moving, but it’s a constant. For most of my life (especially the last year while I’ve been living in permanent panic) there is always something brewing stress. I keep waiting for the calm, thinking, “once I just get past this” but one thing I’ve learned is that it never stops. It seems silly to put so much pressure on this one day, this one day that will fly by just as fast as all the others in my life, it’s illogical to put that much weight on anything. We strive for perfection on a daily basis in this country, so much so that sometimes we miss true perfection along the way. I’ve barely been to the beach all summer, obviously that’s no tragedy, but with labor day weekend signaling the end of the season this weekend, I realize how much I regret not allowing any time to relax. This is a time in my life where I should be endlessly and unabashedly happy. I’m a “bride-to-be”, it should be all magical perfection and cooing sweetness. That’s what the movies and magazines tell me, but for me, and I’m sure countless other men and women, it’s a time of intense pressure, stress, and self-reproach for being so bold as to enjoy your life while jobless.

I want to enjoy these last two months before my wedding. I want to push past the guilt and stress and go for a walk on the beach with my fiancé without panicking that I should be doing something “more important”. Because really what’s the point of living if spending time with the people you love ends up on the bottom of the pile? I may be unemployed, but I’m still a person, I may be in limbo, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get to live, and I may be unsure of the future, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t enjoy my present.

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15 Comments

Filed under acceptance

15 responses to “The Unemployed Bride

  1. mkz201

    No point feeling guilty about things outside of your control. Take a deep breath, a long walk and focus on the kittens. Where is Thora??

  2. Hi Justine! Oh god, unemployment is so not fun and every little thing makes a huge dent – like paying rent, cc bills, food shopping…So I could imagine your stresses with your wedding coming up. When I was unemployed last year I got super mopey and all I did was play Wii with my laptop next to me on the couch while I went back and forth, refreshing craigslist.

    I can tell that you are very deserving of some happy time before your wedding. Unfortunately, this is just the nature of being a 20something in a city with a shitty job market right now. But do enjoy yourself and your special day 🙂 I also hate those “When I do this….I will do this” type of mentalities too. Life really is too short for self restrictions. I personally like enjoying myself more than stressing out about things that won’t go away at the drop of hat. I guess we are pretty alike in that sense 🙂

    • Justine

      Amanda, you’re totally right about not stressing out about things you can’t change, and it seems like being unemployed has become and unwanted staple of our generation doesn’t it, ugh it sucks! Thanks for the words of wisdom! Oh, and I keep meaning to check to see if Costco has coconut water for you—I’ll remember next time for sure!

  3. haren

    Well I think Amanda said everything I could possibly say about not putting pressure on yourself. So I will just wonder where and why one buys a kitten sleeping bag?

  4. haren

    And by the way you and James need to go stroll in a sunset on the beach, before the hurricane. And Amanda I am pretty sure Costco has coconut water. I saw it there and wasn’t sure how it was different than coconut milk.

  5. lizzy

    stress! i think you are so right to not postpone your happiness and fun until you think you’ve earned it. thats some sick american pilgrim work ethic bullshit, and i hate it. it stops you from enjoying anything!
    and i am also saddened by your lack of beaching. its important for your mental health, and you need to go just so you can check it off your to do list and not feel guilty about not going to the beach enough.
    now you and james go to the beach and do this-
    http://chicago.metromix.com/content_image/full/155233/560/370

  6. Jennifer

    I appreciate all the pictures of the kitties. 🙂

    On the bright side, even with limited resources you have the time to hand-craft things and make sure that the things you do turn out well. Time can be substituted for money in certain cases.

  7. katie

    KITTIES in sleeping bags! Thank you!
    Please go to the beach!!!
    Don’t feel guilty- this is an opportunity to have TIME which will be more precocious then money when you look back someday. On a side note John showed up at my house around 1am last night and we talked bridal party for awhile- we are both sooo EXCITED and HAPPY for you guys!

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  9. kelly

    It’s 2 something in the am and I’m reading your blog. I finished school 2 months ago, and I’m jobless. I stress a lot and apply everywhere. I too just got married and just got back from my honeymoon in Hawaii. Had a great time but I worried through most of it bc I knew I was coming home jobless. I wasn’t fully focused. My husband and I bickered a little too which is sad bc it should have been perfect. I hope you remain stress free and enjoy your time. If not, lets you and I plan a second honeymoon together! Goodluck with everything. This is such a happy but sad time. Makes me feel looney and so not myself 😦

    • Justine

      Kelly, please don’t be sad or lonely. You have a new partner to share all of life’s ups and downs with, which of course can sometimes lead to bickering—even on your honeymoon! I finally found a job, so I know you will too. Looking back now, I wish I had more faith that I would find work. Since I can’t go back in time, I will pass along my wisdom to you; you will find a job, it might take a lot of effort, but I promise you will. I know it’s tough, but try to enjoy the happy times and not worry as much about the future, especially while you’re with your husband. We never know what’s going to happen so why not just be content in the present? I struggle with this still even now, but I’m trying to live by it. Getting engaged, getting married, getting a job, none of these are the magic bullet, things aren’t always perfect, but there can be some pretty awesome moments in there if we can just learn to enjoy them despite all the bad. Congrats on your marriage and try to stay positive—I’m sending good vibes your way!! 🙂

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  11. fay

    Hey hun, im an unemployed bride aswell and my wedding is 3 weeks ago! I just a got telling me i was rejected for a job..joy! Its really hard but dont give up! If i had to chose between being unemployed and having my fiance in my life or being single and being employed, i would chose the first option! We still have to be grateful we have these amazing men in our life and our family! Yes its hard and it sucks having to worry about planning the wedding and finding work but dont give up! a lot of my friends are actually jealous im unemployed because they were all employed and found it hard to work full time and juggle planning a wedding! Im jealous that they were all employed! But stay positive! Theres many brides in this position right now! Hope you find work soon hun!! Xox

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