I received an unexpected but welcome gift a few months back.
I was working at a very difficult job in a very challenging organization, and although I was on a team with some incredible people, there were times when it was hard to keep my focus and maintain my energy. Then “POOF!” one day I was told that my job was “moving south” without me. The company was very solicitous and I had the luxury of getting some things wrapped up before my last day. I refer to this as my “detox bonus” — almost a month’s notice to prepare myself NOT to come back to work. It was weird, but as I counted off the days I felt different, lighter: my perspective was coming back! But I couldn’t just go from 100% corporate drone to PJ-wearing slouch watching L&O re-runs until my eyes bled. Remember, I had not had a summer off in over 19 years…. and that time I had to give birth to get it! There were 2 issues to address: re-assure my family that I would not go stir-crazy and by extension make them crazy AND I needed to feel purposeful. So we collectively came up with some much-neglected projects. A brief list follows:
1. Renovate a bathroom I’ve hated for the last 19 years. Full disclosure: I did hire a guy to install the new floor tile, but I demolished the floor myself. Destruction is so very satisfying. And now that bathroom is my favorite room in the house.
2. Take care of all those projects that require somebody home to execute: like re-carpeting a few shabbier sections of the house and having the dining room chairs re-upholstered.
3. Folks of a certain age know that we seem to need more body maintenance so it was the perfect time to get all those check-ups and more invasive screenings out of the way.
4. Sorta/kinda look for a job…. brush up the resume and network a bit.
5. Start this blog.
And then something remarkable happened. As the summer ended and I started to feel the beginnings of panic, I got a job really, really close to home. Close enough to come home for lunch! The last time I could come home for lunch I was 5 years old. And now if I get lucky with all green lights, I can make it home with enough time to take a cat nap before heading back to the salt mines for the afternoon. In short, I’ve lost a commute and gained 2 hours to my day. Now there is a bit of a downside here: when I rode the train I had 2 hours a day to read at least 2 newspapers daily and a book a week. In short, my captive “sitting on my butt” reading time has been reduced. So I’m grateful that tonight we turn the clocks back and I get an hour to catch up on my reading…. or writing…. both of which make me feel pretty good. And lucky.