Warning: serious-ass First World depresso-fest ahead

It turns out I stop blogging when I’m having a nervous breakdown. Actually I shouldn’t trivialise nervous breakdowns – let’s call it a First World Freak Out.

So I’m having a First World Freak Out, on several fronts. First, I quit my job, which is equal parts horrifying, gratifying and liberating.

The horror: I truly love the people I work with. They are some of my closest friends, and currently I get to spend all my daylight hours with them. I have no doubt that never again will I have a job where I can ‘surprise hug’ about 80% of my work colleagues without being cited for sexual harassment. I adore these people and it breaks my heart to leave them. For an extra dimension of horror, in precisely 2 days, my income stream will be $0 per week. This puts a serious dint in my wine budget.

The gratification: You never find out how appreciated you are until you hand in that resignation letter. They made me discuss my decision with three separate members of the management team. They invented a new position for me. They hired two people to take over my role. They took the entire office staff out for Yum Cha today to see me off, and there will be a barbecue for the other members of the company on Friday. The CEO is taking me out for lunch next week, when I’m no longer on his payroll, because he is overseas during my official send off. For ten years I’ve felt like an uneducated, paper-shuffling shitkicker, and all of a sudden I’m important. Everybody is being overwhelmingly lovely – it’s almost like being present for your own funeral.

The liberation: My job has been stressful. Long time readers may recall the Great Hives Episode of 2010 – it lasted 9 weeks, and the only thing I can put it down to is my anxiety levels. The company has terrible cash flow, and 90% of my job turned into fending off creditors that varied between irritable, desperate, condescending and downright aggressive. The worst ones were the sole traders and family businesses, who were struggling as much as we were, but with the added pressure of the possibility of losing their houses and livelihoods. It made me feel like a monster. I’ve been responsible with money my entire life, and having all these people make me explain why we can’t pay our bills on time and implying I’m bad at my job just drove me crazy. Instead of making me thicker-skinned, it destroyed me. I’ve lost count of the number of times I had to sneak into the bathroom for a private cry. Occasionally I was caught, and quietly sent home for the day. For the last 18 months or so I’ve flat out refused to talk to creditors. I’d wake up in the middle of the night, thinking about how many suppliers didn’t have their payments authorised that day, and how many cranky emails and phone calls I was bound to receive the next day. I was repeatedly told to ‘hang in there’, while funds that could have been used to quiet the angry hoards were redirected into capital projects. I tried every trick in the book to distance myself from my work persona, but as it turns out I’m no good at that kind of thing. I’ll freely admit that it’s my own character traits that made this job so difficult, and a more resilient soul would have no problems. I’m ok with that. And in 2 days, I will never have to think about it again.

Anyway, that’s only the first part of my First World Freak Out. My second problem is Nikki. Nikki will get her own post shortly, but basically when she was a stupid little 19 year she flounced into my life and made me fall in love with her. She’s almost 22 now, and I don’t know what I’d ever do without her. She’s decided to make me find out, by moving to Japan to be with her stupid boyfriend. Of course it’s always difficult when friends move away, but we’ve been a huge part of each other’s lives over the last couple of years and I feel like I’m losing a limb. I’ve had close friends leave before – just never when I’ve been in the middle of a career crisis.

My third issue is Papua New Guinea. For years, Mum’s been nagging me to visit her homeland with her and I finally consented. We’re heading there for three weeks. I’m not really sure what to expect once I’m there, but I do know it’s taking a LOT more preparation than any trip I’ve ever been on. I have to get vaccinations and malarial prophylactics, I have to buy mosquito netting and a sleeping bag and hiking boots, I have to bring an entire medicine cabinet with me – and I have to do it all with a 16kg baggage allowance. It’s some serious National Geographic shit.  I’m trying to organise this while simultaneously training two replacements at work and going out with Nikki every single weekend because we both know we’ll never have this time together again. Honestly, when I finish work, all I want to do is start exercising and cooking again, do some gardening and spend some “me time” putting my head back together. Instead I’m flying halfway across the world to a half-developed nation where there’s a 1 in 3 probability of being sodomised with a machete. To top it off, I will no longer be able to spend a relaxing couple of weeks with my parents in my childhood home. I’ll be in Far North Queensland for less than 24 hours before we fly out to Port Moresby. Both my parents keep reminding me that the farm will always be there, whereas opportunities to explore my rich cultural ancestry are rare. Be that as it may, if there was ever a time when I needed to watch the clouds swallow Mt. Bartle Frere in the evening, or lie under the branches of the same trees that shaded me before I even learned to walk, it’s now. I’m well aware my thought process is tinged by a large helping of spoilt brattiness, but to be honest with all the changes going on I’m really craving comfort and familiarity and a good dose of oxytocin.

So quite frankly, I feel like shit. I haven’t exercised in weeks, I’m getting round and soft, my house is a fucking mess, I’m frightened and sad, I’ve been drinking enough to lower my IQ by 50 points and I haven’t eaten a nutricious meal since I returned from the Cook Islands. I really feel nothing like Inga. I’ve turned into Lindsay Lohan, only I’m fat and poor.

Sorry for the rant y’all. This was for my benefit – my usual “quality” blog content will resume shortly.