Work for idle hands.

It cannot be said that I’ve been idle during my unemployment.

I was downsized in January 2010. I was initially self-conscious when asked, “So, what do you do?” I felt like a loser because I didn’t have a full-time, on-staff job. After a few weeks, I decided to define myself, and my answer is, “I’m a writer.”

The typical follow-up question is, “What kind of writer?”

I still respond, “Unemployed.”

I laugh to let my listener know I mean to be funny, not pathetic, and use the reply as a conversation starter.

I realized recently that while I have not been a paid employee anywhere for the past 18 months, I’ve been busier than at any other point in my life. I’ll need to dedicate a few blog posts (beginning with this one) to provide an accounting of what has occupied my “idle” time.

I was the Jersey City Running Fitness Examiner on for about five months. It combined two of my passions: writing and running. Unfortunately, it did not include another driving force in my paycheck-less life: getting paid. I did gain a new appreciation for the term “runner’s high.” My brain must have been altered to recommend those workouts. I have returned to them recently in my panic about turning forty, and they are impossible. Crazier is that I’m smiling in the accompanying photos AND readers actually followed those workouts. What the hell were any of us thinking?

Example: I wrote about the benefits of hill running, and provided my own routine as a sample workout: A three-mile route that involves ascending twenty hills, including one so steep cars avoid it and my nose scrapes the 90-degree angle. The photos prove it. They also prove that I needed an intervention and deserved some payment for literally working my a** off. Hell, I deserved a Nike contract.

Did I ever tell you about teaching a class on sin for seven- and eight-year olds? I will in my next “idle” posting.

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