Reading today’s Cary Tennis advice column (one of my guilty pleasures, btw), “Does less of a paycheck make him less of a man?,” I find myself thankful for how lucky I really am.
When I was between jobs after moving back east, it was extremely difficult. Financially it was OK, though not great; Lisa was chomping at the bit to do some much needed house renovations and we didn’t have any cashflow to permit it, and trying to find a job was challenging. But emotionally it was one of the worst periods of my life. I have since discussed this with my therapist and concluded that there were two major factors at work on top of the standard major-life-change stuff that depresses anyone: having a major part of my identity bound up in what I did for a living, and not wanting to disappoint my wife. The pressure of those two things combined with an uncertain job market and existing depressive tendencies were enough to drive me through the floor into a major depression. A glance at any of my writing between October 2004 and March 2005 won’t bear that out, because I didn’t write much about it, but it was pretty severe.
The one thing that pulled me through was Lisa’s support. Which brings me back to the advice column: I can’t imagine being in this guy’s shoes and having to deal with the lack of support his partner discusses. Talk about kicking someone when they’re down. Ladies: this is not how to help someone who is underemployed and trying to get their self esteem back.
So yes, I am extremely thankful for what I have with Lisa. I’m not sure I would be here today without it.