Three weeks ago I said goodbye to my 40s and hello to my 50s. Physically, nothing has changed. Psychologically, I think there has been a shift.
The day before the big “50”, we were given the news that my mom’s chemo treatment was being stopped immediately because it was not working and that her Cancer is now at stage four. How is one supposed to deal with this kind of news the day before you enter the next decade of your life?
My defence/coping mechanism was to switch off emotionally, to be my practical, realistic self in just getting on with the job of coping with daily life. I had more than enough to keep me in this “switched off” mode. Coming home from a day at the office, it was straight off to the kitchen to get the evening meal prepared, dishes to wash etc. For escaping from reality – there was social media. In between all this, I had to make some attempt at opening my books (assignments due in March – a few weeks away), but what about the rest of my life? Where do I want to be in five or ten years from now?
I’ve decided that I’ve had enough of the corporate world. I have been in formal employment since the age of eighteen years. I cannot see myself in formal employment for another ten years (until I reach the age of sixty years), so I’ve decided to spend the next five years working hard to prepare for an early retirement from formal employment.
Would I stop going out to an office job entirely? Not necessarily, but I would like to have the freedom to choose to work three or four days per week rather than a full five day week. I would like the freedom to be able to take a “creative sabbatical” to do whatever makes me happy. So, what would I do all day, I hear you asking.
I recently read an article – see: http://www.women24.com/ChatAndWin/Columnists/Why-Im-a-housewife-20140127 which helped me shape this part of my story. I used some of what was said and tried to give it my own “spin”, here goes . . .
In pursuit of the creative dream (goodbye tension, hello pension), the top ten misconceptions of a stay-at-home person is as follows:
1) You don’t work
This really depends on your definition of “work”. If you are referring to formal employment where you go out to an office to do work which you are paid for, then yes, I won’t work, however, doing what I have chosen to do can still be classified as work. When I sit at my desk and switch on my PC or laptop, I am working. When I make a card or little gift for someone, I am working . . .
2) What will you do all day? I would be bored if I had to stay at home all day
Firstly, given the fact that I would not have to check in at a particular time because I am being paid by the hour, I would now ease into my mornings (seeing as I am not a morning person anyway). I would therefore start my day at whatever time I choose to do so.
What I choose to do once I have started my day can vary from baking a cake for a friend, making a card/gift for a friend’s special event/occasion, I could go back to playing the piano/organ/keyboard which is something I neglected while being in full time employment, I could attempt to get through the mountain of books I’ve not had time to read while I was in fulltime employment, I could catch up with long lost friends or relatives I’ve neglected while in fulltime employment – the list is endless. There is too much to do to have time to be “bored”.
3) But you don’t “work”
Refer to point number one (1) please.
4) You are lost – no direction in your life!
What makes you think I would be lost? The path I’m on right now could be and probably is part of my journey called life. Just because I’m not following the path you created in your mind for me, does not mean that I am lost and that I have no direction. This is the right path for me to be on right now. This is what makes me happy.
5) You probably spend all day in bed or at the beach, reading books or getting spa treatments
How I wish this would be the case. You have no idea how quickly time goes when you just have so much to fit into one day. Certain things can only be done during daylight hours which means that by the time those things are done, you are sometimes left with the same amount of time you would have had if you were in fulltime employment.
6) It must be so nice being at home. You can surf the internet, drink tea/coffee, watch TV all day long etc
Surprisingly, NO! There is so much I could have, would have liked to have done while I was in fulltime employment, that I certainly don’t have time to waste surfing the internet, sitting and drinking tea/coffee and watching TV all day. That is BORING and would drive me mad. Keeping busy is the best thing. If I did surf the internet, it would be for information which would be beneficial for me to use in a project I’ve planned or to share with someone who needs that information.
7) You are on Facebook 24/7! Clearly you have so much time on your hands
– Facebook is my “escape” from reality and I am a sharer. I like sharing information which could be useful to others. I like learning from others and one can learn so much from Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.
– I do Facebook, Twitter and other social media while I’m having lunch or after supper while watching TV. Its called multi-tasking.
– Facebook is also a less intrusive way of finding out what’s happening in the lives of my friends and family. It could enable me to offer my help or assistance where it might be needed.
8) You don’t wake up to go to work, your life is a breeze
– I would not wake up to go to “work” but wake up to “work on my life” – to do the things I enjoy.
– I would not say my life would be a breeze. Time management when you’re at home all day is just as much of a challenge as when you are formally employed on a fulltime basis.
9) Aren’t you worried you will turn into one of “those” women?
– Who exactly are “those women” and who are you to judge? Who are you to define them? Are these maybe the princesses, the kept women or the desperate housewives?
– So what if I have chosen to become one of “those” women? Maybe that’s exactly what need to be right now?
10) Well, you don’t have a job, and you don’t have a husband and children. So what are you doing with your life?
– The freedom of “unemployment” is that you have the time to do whatever you choose ie. Spend quality time with a loved one or friend, help a friend to shop for the perfect outfit for an exciting event in her life, take a long scenic drive to see a part of the city you’ve never seen before, do volunteer work or attend an NGO meeting, have coffee with someone who needs a listening ear or shoulder to cry on.
You see, I can be happy and fulfilled in my life knowing that the “cost” of living now and in the future has been taken care of by my exceptional planning skills.