If I didn’t have to work….

People always share the things they would do if they didn’t have to work. “I would finally write my novel.”  “I would have the cleanest, most organized house in town.” ” I would travel and go to every museum I could.”

In reality, what do we do when we aren’t working and have all the free time in the world? Surprisingly, less than you would think. Those dreams of going into town and walking around smelling the roses seem to fade into the background as we spend hours sucked into our computers. Checking emails, Facebooking, shopping online, googling people and things. We (and yes that’s me too) waste so much time online, it’s staggering. I lost my job on November 30th. By now, you would think with all this free time, I would be super-skinny from being at the gym 24/7, my house would be amazingly organized a la Martha Stuart and I would be finished writing my great American novel, have written several songs, painted some portraits and in my spare time would’ve traveled to Europe and back. But the electronic world sucks us in and somehow we end up just reading and watching other people’s extraordinary lives.

What is it about having a blank slate that seems to paralyze us? I thought I would have done more by now. Granted I am planning a wedding and that takes a lot of time. But really what happens is that life still keeps happening around you and gets in the way.  Kids still need their lunches. The house still needs to be cleaned and the bake sale still needs its 30 cupcakes. The bills still need to get paid. You forget when you are dreaming on your lunch hour at your desk that even without work, there still is a lot to be done. Maybe if I lived alone and had all this free time, I would have done a lot more with it. I would be knee-deep in the manuscript of a soon-to-be published book. I would be halfway through cooking everything in Julia Child’s cookbook. I would have several new stamps in my passport. But yes, the truth, life gets in the way. Or maybe life just keeps rolling on. I can’t tell you how many of my friends have told me the same thing..”I thought I would have so much time by staying home and raising children. I got more done when I worked a full day and then came home and started everything else.”

There is a book out right now called The Happiness Project. It is on my list of things to read…I just haven’t gotten to it yet, proving my point. But apparently the book chronicles the author’s year-long quest learning how to be happy. I promise you I will read it. I need some kind of road map for this time off for unemployment I am living through. I do believe that maybe the best thing to do is to just do the best I can. I have a running list and I just take it day by day, trying to fit in all the things in life I like to do, now that I have more time. And though I admit I have not done as much as I thought I would in the past four months, I have done a lot. I volunteer and really enjoy it and look forward to what I accomplish there. I have read 13 books, finishing my 14th this week. I have taken a floral arranging class. I write a blog. I go to the gym as much as I can for as long as I can and I don’t have to motivate myself to get there, I want to go. I have planned and am close to executing a wedding paid for in cash and completely crafted on my own (with some great support by my fiance.) I take the time to email friends or send them cards. I watch the sunset. I take long walks when I have the time. I babysit and enjoy having the time to see the simple pleasures of life from a child’s point of view. I not only get time to read my yoga magazine, I have time to actually go to the yoga classes as well. I reset my internal clock and refresh myself each week.

Time can be an enemy or it can be friend. What would you do if you had all the time you spend at work to yourself? I am not sure how I will spend the rest of this time without a job. But I do know that I will try to do all those big and little things in life that keep you inspired. And when I do have a new job, they will find me to be a very happy employee because I had the time to regroup. Now I am going to step away from the computer and go and “do” something.

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