Day 1 of…something

Posted: September 22, 2014 in writing
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Most of my life has been spent achieving stuff – an education, a career, a family…some sort of identity that tells me, and the world who I am. Work, work, work – I’ve been called a workaholic more than once, and usually by another workaholic…they know the signs. Work can be an endless treadmill but it’s far better than not doing anything? Ummm. Interesting. Let’s just hit the pause button. All the workaholics ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Well there’s the money. And the status. The thrill of success – being able to stare down a problem and achieve where others have failed. All of those gloriously egoistic and materialistic reasons. That’s ok. No-one’s judging here, but what if your employment stopped tomorrow and you hadn’t planned for it? Where would your ego and lifestyle be then? Worse still where would your identity be?

These are the questions I’m pondering because today is Day 1 of my new unemployment. I didn’t think I’d be unemployed at this stage. Thought I’d slide on my knees all the way to another job eventually; onto greener pastures, new circumstances, people and nail biting challenges which I would successfully overcome. However unforeseen things happen in life, tragic things, hard things. Not everything is tied up in neat linear boxes of continuity.

Anyway I found myself unemployed and actually scared by the prospect. Who would provide for the house, what are people going to think, how long will I be unemployed…ah the list of scareables (such a word?) went on. That was until I separated my real identity from my work identity.

Little by little, I stopped being scared. I began to do the maths on my budget and think about the things I had always wanted to do. There was some further study to upgrade my existing teaching quals – good idea I thought – I like teaching and it offered another spectrum when I did decide to return to work. There’s the new book to write – always wanted to find the time to do that, now I have it. And the opportunity to do a bit of casual consultancy work…there have been offers already. Not too much but just enough. And there’s time to look around for new work without the pressure of being in a busy job, doing long days, and getting to an application at 9.00pm, exhausted.

There’s all those things, however the best of all is the time to stop, get healthy, get peaceful, and get relaxing. Like everyone else in this world I have a strong identity. Not being in work is giving me time to find it, drowned out as it was by superficial concerns. Already I am humming along to a happy tune at the most random of times – driving back from picking up a wireless adapter for my computer or going on my morning walk where it’s spring green as far as the eye can see. I’m getting a little bit happy, and it feels good. Really good.

What I’m trying to say is that today, on Day 1, I’m comfortable with who I am and I don’t have to be working 10 hours a day mostly just to keep my ego at bay. Did I also mention the freedom from employment captivity…yeah that part feels good too. I’m the boss of me now.

I look at the question of identity in my book Belonging Places. If you haven’t headed over to Amazon to have a look at my author page and the links to my books, I invite you to see if there’s anything there you like.

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