- Posted October 3, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Shutdown over: What next?
Furlough – Day 2 – Nothing but Time
So what did the almost 800,000 other people sent home with nothing but personal time do with their time?
In talking to some of my fellow furloughies, what people did with their first day off ran the spectrum. Some simply turned on the news, plotted around the house, ate too much junk food, and wondered if this would end soon. Others were proactive, getting out of the house as soon as they could to shop, hike, deal with personal business, etc. Some spent the day applying for unemployment benefits, figuring out personal finances, and wondering where the money to pay the rent would come from. Some ended the procrastination game and finally fixed that broken outlet in the kitchen.
Emotions were high and with them the variance in responses to the situation. Some were in denial. Some were immeasurably angry. Some were distraught and prayed for this to end. Most had run the same gauntlet as me the day before, frustration, shock, despair, fear, uncertainty, sadness, and, above all, disappointment.
Me? I got up with my alarm and went straight to the computer hopeful that this insanity had come to an end. Upon seeing that it had not I went back to the bedroom and regrouped my brain. Feeling the likelihood I would get called back to work was somewhere in the vicinity of winning the lottery, I realized I had to do something.
I spent the morning working on personal business stuff for my family (paying bills, going over accounts, etc.). I checked news sites for regular updates. I looked into unemployment. I caught up on personal e-mail. I read Facebook to see how friends on furlough were doing. I read CNN I-reports about the shutdown. I went shopping with my wife and youngest son. I wandered around Cabela's and realized that having been laid off; this was probably not the right time to get a new fly rod. I went home.
I watched with baited breadth as the congressional leaders, the vice president, and the president went into their meeting. I hoped that since these were six of the most powerful and influential leaders on the globe, they must be able to figure some way to turn the lights back on. I watched as the headlines said they could not. My hope trickled out. I realized I would have to plan to fill a lot more days before the shutdown was over.
Then, as life does, it directed my mind elsewhere. Our family dog, Sarah, who had not been doing well lately, was put down this evening. Sarah’s personal time had run out. I held her soft head with graying hair and sad eyes in my hands and kissed her goodbye. As she left this world I realized I would be stupid to waste any of the time I still had.
Tomorrow is not just another day, but a day of opportunity. I know I am lucky I can say this. There are many out there who cannot. It is the not the day I chose, but it is still my day. And though I am not yet sure what I will do with this time, I know I will make it my own.