I hurt myself at the gym the other day. The exact moment is still fresh in my head. There I was, back flat against the weight bench, two 400-pound dumbbells poised above my head.
Okay, so maybe it didn’t happen exactly that way.
I didn’t really feel the injury when it happened. The workout, though a bit more strenuous than normal, was like any other. My chest was sore the next day, and not in a good way. By that evening I couldn’t lift my arms without shooting pain. Sleeping was near impossible, as laying down was just excruciating. So I watched what seemed like a full season of “
I’ve hurt myself before, many times. I’m a boy, have been all my life. And I played lots of sports that involve helmets. But this time was different. I’d rendered myself completely useless. Not only could I not find a full-time job, despite my repeated best efforts, I couldn’t even move. I was officially just taking up space. It was a really bad day, one of the worst of my unemployment.
Prolonged unemployment makes a person feel useless. Take it from someone who knows all too well. When a hundred resumes go out and your phone stays silent, it’s easy to get really down on yourself. I fight this feeling everyday. A lot of my fellow unemployed do too. Please correct me if I’m wrong, if you’ve interviewed all 14.8 million of us and found the vast majority to be confident and well adjusted. I’ll douse my computer in honey and eat it piece by piece, starting with the sharp parts.
Going to the gym is my outlet, my shield against that overwhelming useless feeling. It gives me a sense of accomplishment. It helps me validate my existence. Look at me, world, err… Jackson Heights, err… other sweaty people in this ugly building on
The injury, painful though it was, healed pretty quickly. There is some lingering discomfort from something that happened months ago, when I was doing dips with a
As if somehow connected, things have picked up on the job search front too. Some recruiters recently inquired about my resume and, even better, returned my calls. I have a few quality freelance opportunities, including an exciting month-long gig that starts tomorrow. I know deep down that I’m not useless. And it shouldn’t take a workout or some job search success to remind me. But I’ve been unemployed a long time. And keeping one’s confidence and spirits up is hard work in itself. A little validation helps once in awhile, no matter how it comes about.