My life has changed significantly in the last number of years. I’ve gone from single mom/professional suit-wearer to married, empty-nest, freelance writer. Days that used to be spent commuting and hitting tight project deadlines are now spent writing, cooking, exercising and – yes – smiling! The company I worked for closed as a result of economic challenges and finding comparable, steady work was a challenge. Eventually, I gave in to the momentum and turned to freelancing….which involves nary a suit, power pump or outrageous commute. It’s wonderful!
Finally having come to terms with not bearing the label “professional,” I can’t imagine getting back on what I used to call…dum…dum…dum…The Hamster Wheel of Doom; and because my husband has been at the same job for over 25 years, I had the luxury of easing up, looking inside and figuring out what I’d actually like to do with my life.
Now, though, while still being nothing but supportive of my desire to re-align my priorities and get in touch with the creative, artistic, literary person I buried years ago out of some twisted perception that it was the only way to be a real adult, Jim has discovered that he, too, would like the same opportunity. Seems only fair, right?
But what about all those grown-up things like paying the bills, mowing the lawn and eating fiber-filled muffins? We’re nearing fifty after all! And what about the debt we’ll saddle our children with when we go broke being centered, happy, off the grid old hippies who die from some preventable disease because we couldn’t afford health insurance? Who is going to pay for our funerals if we let our life insurance go when Jim quits teaching?
Melodramatic? Maybe. Completely out of the realm of possibility? Other than the part about eating fiber-filled muffins – probably not. We, like so many other folks I talk to these days, are increasingly dissatisfied with the status quo. Maybe it’s our age. Perhaps it’s the empty nest syndrome, the political state of the country; or perchance it’s our buried inner-hippies rearing their dreadlocked heads. Regardless, these newly simmering thoughts about both of us actually living life off that hamster wheel are real and will need to be addressed sooner rather than later.
In the mean time, it’s time to start thinking about finding a balance between the grind of the grid and the lure of the life fully lived. We’ll make sure we maintain our grown-up safety nets like sufficient health insurance, good life insurance and even those brick-like high-fiber muffins; but as Bob Dylan would say….Times – they are a changin’ around our place. Wish us luck!
….And… if you’re struggling with similar life changes or have made some of them successfully, please, please let me know how it’s working out :)