The older I get, the more in control I like to be. Suddenly things like “planning ahead” and “knowing what to expect” are important to me, and to my sense of well-being. This strikes me as odd. I thought that responsibility came with family and possessions and, since I have neither, I would somehow get to live to avoid it. That line of thinking seems to be untrue.
In order to deal with the stress in my life, in my money, I took on a second job. It’s becoming clear to me, the longer that I’m employed there, that working a night shift in a gas station, in an impoverished town filled with addicts is likely not a safe place for me to spend a lot of time, to build relationships; it kind of feels like watching a train wreck in slow motion.
There was a time, and it doesn’t feel too long ago, when I would simply quit this second job. If I hated it, I would quit it, no questions asked. There was an even more recent time when I would do the more responsible thing, and give notice. If I didn’t feel unquestionably safe to stay sober, then I had to politely protect myself by moving on.
I’ve convinced myself that I cannot quit this job. I have got to make sure that I am taken care of through the winter. I have got to be able to pay off my debt. I have to keep this job just in case I really do lose my other job.
I’ve agreed to some weekend and evening side projects for my landlord in order to earn even more cash on the side. This offer was made to me before my primary job came under fire, it was made when I was first beginning to realize that it might not be wise to work at the gas station. If I combine my faith with my logic, it seems pretty clear that this third offering was likely put in place by God; God who heard the fear of my heart and, with a nod, opened a different door to achieving these new money needs.
I’ve somehow convinced myself, now, that I need all three jobs. Side jobs aren’t predictable, they aren’t steady. I’ve got to keep all my jobs and, if I do end up making a bunch of extra money, I can pay my way out of debt sooner. Besides, what if I lose my primary job?
And that’s where I lose control and the anxiety starts. There’s nothing I can do to affect whether I keep or lose that job. What if I quit one of my jobs, get fired from another, and am living on just the side jobs, then what would I do? I don’t want to become one of the nations unemployed. What would people say?
Is this what getting “older and more responsible” looks like? Does responsible have to start outweighing the avoidance of temptation at some point? Or, is this what self-sabotaging looks like?
And how does everything always come back to ‘what will people say’?