There is a moment of quietude one reaches when all projects are put to bed and one wonders, “Now what?”

“Now what” is infinitely better to ponder than the “What the hell have I just done?” that threatens to overtake one’s psyche.

Whoever ratted me out at work, I almost want to send them a thank-you card instead of murdering them in their beds. I look forward to leaving the semantics behind when I clean out my desk on Friday.

But I will miss my favorite parts of the job. The morning check-ins with A, our first cigarette break of the day before we get started on our work (we aren’t morning people), the brainstorming sessions, the midday therapy sessions, the food/smoke runs in the afternoon, the late-day check-ins with “Adonis” and the camaraderie we all share in general with each other and our vendors.

Next week at this time, I will have nowhere to be, no pressures other than figuring out where the car payment is coming from. I’ve waited so long for this time, but it didn’t happen the way I planned. Then again, nothing ever does unfold the way you expected it would.

The job with the vendor may or may not work out. They are being met with resistance about me being a customer and all — can’t they see that as a customer, I am the best person to transition into their job opening? And it makes me wonder whether they would be comfortable having me when I was so thoroughly displeased with my former employer.

I’ve spent so much time hoping for miracles, but the reality hit today that all I ever really wanted was respect. I neither needed nor wanted to be celebrated — just accepted as a contributing member of the team. I hated being accused of keeping my department in the proverbial “silo” because I was always reaching out to help others — particularly others who wanted no suggestions or manpower or ideas or communication. The dichotomy drove me to distraction sometimes.

I’m trying not to feel guilty about taking a month off before I start looking for what it is I’m going to do next. The money situation is the killer, of course — I really do need the time to gather the strength to decide what I want to do before I go about doing it. We all go from job to job or life situation to life situation, assuming the next one is better. And sometimes it is, but more often, we trade bad for bad. I hated most of my staff at my last job but handpicked and nurtured everyone I had on my team at this job. But I supported the vision of my last job and hated the lack of vision at the current one. What would my next move have brought? Why can’t I take the time to prioritize and be prepared to search for what exactly I want and be able to live with what I don’t necessarily desire?

This is what makes me hate the welfare system. We reward people who shit out five kids and pay them to stay at home. But for people who are truly suffering an identity crisis, as I am doing right now, shouldn’t we get back some of the money we dumped into TANF so that we can massage our feet before we jump back into the race? Employers enjoy the luxury of interviewing a ton of candidates before settling on the right one — they leave positions open indefinitely and overburden the remaining staff. Why can’t I entertain several career possibilities without the distraction of wondering just how long it will be until my car is repossessed?

I will probably end up taking a stab at several careers at once. This is my right, this is my wish, this is my future. But there is the pressure to just take a “real” job for a year just to make ends meet (although even with a full-time job, I haven’t managed once to make ends even appear in the same ZIP Code, much less meet!). Tiff says it would be nice to “win” for a change — earning more money than we spend constitutes a win. But the thing is, the more money we make, the more we need. Sure, I don’t need to spend $136 on digital cable and broadband, but for as much as I work from home (as well as for how I am too poor to go out much), I see it as an investment. I keep meaning to cancel the cable and keep the broadband (at $50), but damn HBO and Showtime series (like “Six Feet Under,” “The L Word” and “Dead Like Me” keep me forking over the cash. Not like I can find anything ELSE to watch on the other 700 channels I have!

Anyway, suffice it to say that reality has hit. I didn’t mean (or want) to wallow, but I’m starting to get nervous. And I’m too tired to be nervous. I need to think about the future, but the present is draining the life out of me.

I have four pages of a to-do list, none of which has to do with finishing up the old job. This is a good thing, I guess. I will suddenly have the time to have a life again. But it’s not going to stop me from missing the life I had.

Word to Adonis, even though he has no idea where I am blogging now: I never expected that missing you would be so high on my to-do list. Maybe there is life for us — together — after this whole mess is over. Am I the only one hoping for this? You’ve promised that we won’t end. But first, we have to begin.

I have so many beginnings to anticipate; I just hope that I am aiming for the right things.

On iTunes: Seether f/Amy Lee, “Broken

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