Pineapple Fountains and Unemployment

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I quit my job last week. Without a backup plan, without a new job in place, I just handed in my letter of resignation. I didn’t even give two weeks’ notice, which I must say is completely uncharacteristic of me! I’m a rule follower, a people pleaser, a do-for-others-way-before-I-do-for-myself kind of person. But I thought about it for a few days, and I decided that it was time for me to take care of ME first. And so, I quit.

My life has been FULL of stressors lately and I’ve barely been treading water. In fact, I describe it more as my whole head is under the water, except for my nose and my mouth, which are just barely above the lapping waves, able to take in a few breaths here and there. On top of the stress of the world right now, school just started back and I have been trying to work my full-time job as well as complete virtual school with my first and third grader. Which has been impossible, to say the least.

My mundane job was not exciting to me at all. I was anxious about working every day and absolutely dreading it. And then my mother was just hospitalized for a heart attack and I wasn’t allowed to be there with her during her hospitalization. As a nurse, this was particularly hard, because I wanted to know exactly what was going on with her at every moment. She was discharged in pretty good health, fortunately, but then the next week, I myself was in and out of the emergency room three times in three days and was ultimately diagnosed with colitis, probably caused by my body succumbing to the immense stress that I was under! Along with my declining physical health, my mental health has never been as bad as it is right now. I have felt absolutely horrible- sad, depressed, hopeless, like a complete failure in all aspects of my life.

Big changes

And so I decided to change the one thing in my life that I felt like I had control over, and that would also lessen my immense stress. I quit my job. And this week, with no work, and being able to stay home with my kids, has been just the rejuvenation that I needed.

I have listened to my book on Audible, I have gotten a little bit of housework done. I’ve actually cooked dinner three nights (if you know me, you know I NEVER cook!) I’ve completed virtual learning with my kids without crying and screaming. I’ve slept in. I’ve actually rested my body and my mind in such a way that right now at this current moment, I almost feel like I could conquer the world.

Almost.

But yesterday was the best day so far. Yesterday I decided to take my children downtown to Waterfront Park here in Charleston. I’ve lived here my entire life and I can’t tell you the last time I visited Waterfront Park. In fact, my children, who are six and eight years old, have never been to this gorgeous part of their hometown. They have never experienced the pineapple fountain, never waded in the splash fountain, or swung on the swings by the water. Because I have never thought to bring them, and never felt I had an afternoon to just spend time with them in this magnificent setting.

As we sat on a bench in front of the infamous pineapple fountain and ate our Chick-Fil-A nuggets, I just kept quiet and let myself experience the warm sun on my face, the temperate sea breeze blowing across my arms, and the sound of the water cascading down the cement fountain. My daughter asked me “Why did they make a pineapple fountain,” and I informed her that the pineapple was a sign of hospitality and welcoming to those that might not be from Charleston.

We walked down the pebbled path and took many pictures with my phone, and we just enjoyed our time together. We took our time and took in the sights of the Cooper River and downtown Charleston. I was able to capture such beautiful memories of that day in my phone’s photo gallery, as well as snapshots of the day in my own mind’s photo album as well.

Today I am thanking God for this time that he allowed me to experience to refresh my mind and spirit. My soul feels renewed and my heart is not so heavy and saddened like it was before. I feel an immense load has been lifted off of my shoulders, and my stress level has definitely decreased.

And I am reminded that it is so very important to participate in self-care and just take time for yourself. I definitely had reached a point where I wasn’t thinking about myself at all, and I was literally drowning under the burdens of my life. But thankfully, I took a leap of faith, and I quit my job. I decided to focus on myself and my family and to work on those most important things in my life. And now, only six days into unemployment and renewed mom-hood, I am happier than I have been in a really long time.

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Cameron Dixon
Cameron was born and raised in rural Ravenel, just outside of Charleston. Her hardworking family owns a blueberry farm in Ravenel, which helped put her through rigorous nursing school at Clemson University. She has been a registered nurse for 10 years, working almost 8 years fueling her passion for caring for sick babies in the Neonatal Nurseries at MUSC. She recently changed nursing jobs, still exhibiting her passion for the tiniest patients and their moms, but now working as a Nurse Case Manager for high-risk maternity and NICU patients. Cameron is happily married to Andy, her handsome high school sweetheart, and together they have one beautiful daughter and one rambunctious son. They LOVE the outdoors, especially in the Lowcountry, and their favorite hobbies are boating in the picturesque waters around Charleston, riding their ATVs, and camping with their friends. She has five dogs, two of which are dachshunds, which she is obsessed with! Cameron loves living in the Lowcountry - her roots run deep in this land, and she couldn't imagine living anywhere else!