Because five years is so obvious.



2011, Here I come. I have a plan. And for the first time in my life, it’s not just a to-do list of all the things I might-maybe-want-to-kind-of get done… someday. Nope. It’s actual plan. Like for grown-ups. Some of its features include action items, deadlines and objectives. Impressive, no?

My husband B and I made the plan over the last weekend when we holed up a nice, but otherwise nondescript hotel room and forced ourselves to stay away from the hooch, at least until dinner (On a Saturday? Preposterous!). We each made a list of 43 goals and compared notes. Who knew B wanted to host SNL? I mean, I guess we all do, but he put it on the list. I had things like walk the dogs more.

Quickly, you should know the dogs, Grandpaw and Dolly Parton, are fat. Ms. Parton more so than Gramps. But they really do need more exercise. So now I walk them with their backpacks on, loaded with canned goods so they can burn more calories. I think they want to kill me because of those backpacks.

But anyway folks, back to the matter at hand. The plan.

It’s a big thing to map out your life, years in advance. It’s wrought with all kinds of hazards. You could accidentally wind up too married to said plan and miss a really great opportunity because it’s “not in the plan.” You might also find yourself stressing about things that are literally a THOUSAND DAYS AWAY. Not healthy.

My personality type (completely insane) leaves me much more vulnerable to that latter pitfall. I,um, tend to be a bit of a worrier.

A brief example:

Yesterday B and I decided to go to the gym after he was done with work. So I thought it would be convenient to bring his gym clothes with me when I picked him up so we could just go straight to the elliptical epicenter. However, this plan probably shaved a good 7-8 months off my life in the long run because I spent a lot of time and energy worrying about WHAT I WOULD DO WHILE I WAITED FOR HIM TO CHANGE INTO HIS GYM CLOTHES. HOW EVER WOULD I FILL THOSE TWO MINUTES? I don’t like the gym at all. I just like to get on a machine and get the hell out of there. The place makes my skin crawl and I can only go there if the buddy-system is in full-effect.

So I thought of the following solutions to this quandary:

1. Stay behind in the car for a few minutes and meet him inside after he’s changed
2. Sit in the chairs in the lobby of the gym and try to look cool (yeah, right)
3. Mill about juice bar as if I’m pondering a purchase
4. Wash my hands somewhat slowly in the women’s locker room
5. Just start working out in advance of his costume change

Then I had a brilliant idea! Hurrah! This will save the day! B can just change in the car on the way there! And I won’t have to figure out what to do in those two horrible minutes left alone in the gym!

Whew. That was a close one.

This is going to be a long four years.


And so it begins

Two weeks ago yesterday, I lost my job. Or I should say, they told me to get lost because it's not particularly accurate to say I lost my job. I know exactly where it is. It isn't hiding under some couch cushion or deep on some shelf piled over with crap. Nope. The job is exactly where it's always been. They just don't want me in it anymore.

I'd know it was coming for a few days. A former investigative reporter, I'm pretty good at getting the scoop, breaking the story, blowing things wide open… as they say. And yet, 15 days later I find myself surprisingly kind of bummed about it.

By way of background, I despised this job. I accepted their offer almost 3 years ago and at first, it wasn't such a bad gig. But as with most things, the bright, sparkly sheen of newness wore off. And that wore me down. The gray, soulless cubicle. The oppressive fluorescent lighting. The booboisie I was made to toil beneath. The ever-changing job duties that somehow left me doing the exact kind of work I'd always sworn I'd never – never, ever – do. 2001 Marta would be so disappointed.

Which is why this vague sadness after being told to hit the road is so surprising.

Wouldn't you think every day now would be a party? A celebration of the end of a GoTV-induced depression that always sat like a rock in my shoulders? Yeah. Me too.

I can't tell if it's the fact that my ego got a little pummeled. Or if it's the full tilt panic that creeps up like bile from the depths of stomach up into my throat whenever I try to think about what to do next. Or if it's the fact that lately, the most interesting part of my day is watching our robotic vacuum cleaner circle the house wondering if it will get hung up on all that which poses an obstacle for the little Roomba.

"Oh my, I can scarcely handle the suspense! Will the Roomba make it back to its dock, cleverly avoiding the treacherous kitchen cabinets where it might get stuck???"

Maybe it's all of these things.

Now each day I wake up I tell myself, "Today will be the day that I'll finish all the things I've been meaning to finish for so long! Today that script will be done! That closet will be organized! Those dogs will get all the exercise they need!" But for some reason, each night I realize I've fallen farther behind the goal. Farther behind than before even -- because now there are so many more expectations… Free time, the time away from the 9 to 5 (or 7 or 8) grind, is now loaded with so much pressure and expectation because there's so much of it in my life. All the excuses that come bundled in that tidy package of employment – "Work has been so crazy this week" are gone. Lost, like my job, I guess.

So now when the mascara comes off, and the doors get locked and dogs get their nighttime chewies and lights turn off, all I got is the raw, suffocating self-awareness that tells me the reason things didn't get done is all on me.