Again, there's a difference between thinking and worrying. Thinking is practical. Worrying is a waste of time and energy. Thinking is something I do actively; worrying is something I do compulsively.
I've started to worry again about my future in terms of my career, my imminent lack of health insurance, and my choice of where to live. When my marriage ended, I gave myself a year to live in Monterey and see if I could thrive here. May seems like a long time from now, but it's really only 7 months. The compulsiveness is setting in, and I've started the manic searches online. But on the drive home from one of my three jobs today (before I headed off to my next job) I came up with a plan to keep me sane and get the most out of the present:
(First, a little background. I have about 7 weeks left for the current semester. The plan goes into effect at that time. What I have lined up for sure is one part-time teaching job at the college along with 2-3 steady Zumba classes each week at the gym. I can survive on this income January--May. Next summer might pose a problem since my income from the college will be less. I have money in savings for the proverbial rainy day.)
- I'll job-hunt only on certain days of the week, so I don't torment myself day after day. If I set aside specific time, I can put more thought into the documents I'm sending to potential employers rather than just firing off emails 10 minutes before I have to go somewhere, and maybe I can take the time to think more creatively about where I should be applying.
- I'll look only for career-building jobs. I will only consider jobs that I believe will help me advance in a field that I actually want to advance in. My choices are to find a part-time job that fits this description to supplement my other two jobs, or find a full-time job that replaces the job at the college.
- I will not look for jobs outside the Monterey area. The point of my choice to stay here is that I want to stay here. That's the goal. If I start thinking about other places, then I'll lose focus on that. Plus, preference is almost always given to local applicants. If I want to get a job somewhere else, I'll probably need to move there first or have an inside connection. That was one of the reasons I stayed put--my recent job experience is here, so I'm more likely to get hired here than somewhere else.
- If I cannot find a career-building job, then I will use the extra time in my schedule for me-building. Maybe I'll take some workshops, attend lectures, volunteer, read, work on hobbies, network, and enjoy the Monterey Peninsula. This part of the plan is really important. I want to feel like regardless of my job or financial security, I am growing and improving. This is where living in the moment comes in.
In May, I'll reevaluate my situation if I haven't found a long-term, sustainable career and income. But not until then. Until then, my goal is being worry-free.