The most surreal part of my new non-job status is the quiet.
The all encompassing lack of noise, commitments, thoughts.
The emptiness of my house when both boys are at school - a phenomenon I had yet to experience since I scheduled my in-office time around their school hours. The silence of my phone without the constant twitter notifications. The elimination of an entire email box and all its required responses. The new blank space on my calendar every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday after deleting recurring meeting commitments. The absence of need to constantly check-in, monitor industry publications and social trends.
My head is simply quiet. My fingers twitchy. I pick up my phone so many times a day - a subconscious muscle memory during my usual touch base times to ensure I wasn't missing a new assignment or follow-up - and realize there is nothing to see. The equivalent of those ancient days of picking up your phone to ensure it still had a dial tone when that boy who promised to call hadn't yet. Only right now, I'm not sure what I'm waiting for. Waiting to be needed. Waiting to be wanted. Waiting...
I find thoughts bubbling to the surface - old to-dos, stories that could have a hook, an article by a reporter that could have been relevant research - and find myself having to physically shrug them off. These thoughts that were part of my daily life for three years are simply not important to anyone else anymore. I let them go, flinging them off my fingertips with a quick shake of the wrist, a deep breath and the conscious reset of my thoughts on the present. The moment. The task at hand.
I haven't yet settled into the quiet, instead, finding things to fill my time. Teacher appreciation gifts purchased. Window boxes and containers for the front steps planted. Laundry tackled. Summer camp registrations completed. A party to plan. A blog to redesign.
One day the quiet will feel less like disquiet and more like peace. One day the voice of more than self-doubt will creep back into my brain. One day the quiet will be welcome.
Until then, the cacophony of two boys is music to my ears and balm for my soul.