Franschoek, Western Cape, South Africa
Pause, Reflect, Re-evaluate, Purge, Restore
Oh my word . . . can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve sat down to write a post. This blog is all about the “journey called life” – my journey, and yet, I’ve allowed “life” to get in the way of so many things to cause me to go totally off centre.
I think at some stage I wrote a post about how my life trying to earn a decent living was consuming me to the point that I didn’t have a life. I reached a point where I was working three jobs causing me to work until midnight seven days per week just to put food on the table.
Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t about getting rich. It’s never been about getting rich. I’ve never been a money chaser. It’s been purely about earning enough money to keep a roof over my head and some decent food on my table instead of baked beans on toast three times a day.
I wasn’t happy being sucked into this big, black, dark hole but it was like I was on a hamster wheel and just couldn’t get off. The one job I was doing at night which I thoroughly enjoyed up to a point, became what was consuming me. Instead of only working 2 hours per night three days per week, I was working 4 hours per night seven days per week (more on weekends). I was not an employee of this organisation, I was working freelance and instead of appreciating my efforts they abused and took advantage of me and my time by just expecting more and more. It was like giving my hand but they grabbed the whole arm.
This was not how I expected my life as a freelancer to turn out. This is not how I expected my life leading up to my retirement years to turn out. Something had to be done – and fast!
What was the solution? How did I get myself out of this big, black, dark hole I found myself in and back into the light?
I had to pause, reflect, re-evaluate, purge, and restore my life back to what I want it to be.
Pause: I had to physically stop! I had to physically move away from my desk and put myself into a space where I was removed from the current environment that was consuming me. The place I live in is tiny so the only way to do this was to go for a long drive somewhere where I could be removed from my “normal” surroundings.
Reflect: Being away from my “normal” environment, gave me the opportunity to reflect on what my life had become, where I was heading and what could potentially happened if I continued along this path.
Re-evaluate: I forced myself to take a good, long look at my current state of life and re-evaluate where I really want to go. Is this really the kind of life I want for myself? Is this really how I want to spend what could be my last few years on this earth? Okay, granted, I’m not in my sixties yet, but I’m not far off.
While I took care of my mother during her short illness, I realised that there is so much more to life than “things”. My sister and I stopped buying each other “things” a few years before our mom became ill and rather focussed on experiences – to focus on our bucket list instead of buying more “things” but somehow, when my work became all consuming, I seemed to have lost sight of this aspect somehow and it was time to get this back.
Purge: The time came to do a real purge of what was pulling me down. First step was to get rid of the job that was dragging me down but this had serious implications and consequences. I was not earning much from this job but the little I was earning was helping to pay the bills each month. How was I going to live without this money? What was I going to do to fill the gap? Where would I get another job from to close this financial hole?
One consolation was that I had reached the point that my credit card which was maxed out at one stage was now at a point where I was able to manage my monthly repayments and it was no longer maxed out. I continued to cut my expenses to the bare minimum. I don’t spend any money unless I can pay cash. My credit card (yes, I only have one) is for emergencies only. I do not have store clothing accounts ANYWHERE!!
So, I resigned from the job that was dragging me down with immediate effect. This was such a shock to my system, that it took me about a month to get used to the idea of no longer having this job and once my mind and body made peace with the fact that this particular job was no longer there to drag me down, it felt like a huge boulder was lifted off my shoulders.
Guess what? I now have more time to devote to my third job (which has now become my second job), I no longer work till midnight every night, I have my weekends back to do whatever I like (I can choose to work if I want to but not obligated to) and this job, now covers the hole I thought my second job was going to leave.
Last night I purged again . . . a committee I was an Executive member of, also draining me of time and energy without adding any value to my life, I resigned from.
The message I would like to leave with you today is don’t be afraid to take that leap into the unknown. Get rid of whatever it is that is holding you back. Yes there will be consequences for your actions but you are stronger than you think. Somehow you will manage to absorb the shock and you will cope.
I hope this post has left you encouraged and motivated.
Let me know if it has motivated you in some way. I’d love to hear from you.