When I started this blog, I meant it to record my day-to-day experiences, like one or two other blogs I enjoy reading. Now whether it is because my own life doesn’t feel that interesting or that I am constantly challenged by external and internal ideas, my blog has become more of a vehicle for my thoughts. I am using it as a sounding board and looking for echoes bouncing back from others of like heart. I hope you find it resonates and if not, I’m sure there are blogs out there more to your taste.
My heart feels very full right now and I feel the need to put it all down on virtual paper. Where to start?
I have reached an age in my life – approximately ¾ through my given years – and a point in my life, where time is of greater importance than money or things. I’ve learned to value the time I have and do not want to waste a moment of it. Now hear me: I am NOT saying that whiling away an afternoon reading a good book is wasting time. I AM saying that spending any of it on the proverbial treadmill being miserably industrious for the sake of ‘work’, ‘retirement’, ‘the boss’, ‘money’, that ‘elusive dream that you can’t quite name’ is a waste. I speak as one who knows what it is to do that, and who has reached a time in life where it I see it for what it is. I regret none of my choices in life, which have brought me to where I am today – single, childless, owning no home, in a state of flux work-wise.
My wealth has been in experiences, and I am very rich. I know what it is to have very little and yet be content. I have travelled many times and absorbed with great joy the experiences. There are moments that have thrilled me and long years of working and dwelling among people of a different culture who were family to me. My dreams have been strong enough to cast me off the shores of my comfort zone, and to discover new lands and faces and skills that have made me who I am today. I have never felt lonely, but I am often alone. My singleness never stops me from going to a restaurant, movies, or – well – anything. Of course I enjoy the companionship of others; it expands the experience to share it – but I don’t NOT go, because I have no one to go with.
But that’s not what I wanted to say.
I had coffee the other day with a friend I met through the Kiwi Outlander fan group, and we regularly enjoy meeting up now. Annie shares her stories with me and I come away inspired and full of ideas which I long to ignite into action. I consider myself rich in my friendships – and humbled by how kind and generous my friends are. Beverley, with whom I can talk about anything, whose talents are not just her needlework and home-making, but thoughtful discussion that eases the heart. Barbara Joy, who started out as business mentor, but who is a woman who is so eagerly involved in creative activities that retirement has never been a consideration. Rhonnie, who I met through Outlander as well, who has floored me with her generosity and skills, making me costumes for my memes at her own expense, just because she loves what she does. Another friend, Kerrin, who works from home as an accounts clerk, but dabbles successfully in a range of other interests, from ice-hockey to drafting and sewing.
When I finish the six-week contract in a week that I’ve been working for the temp agency, (as an administrator), I know what I am going to spend the first day back in my office doing. I will be sitting with a huge sketchpad and pens, mapping out my dreams and goals for this year, and five years from now. Then I will hone what I will do daily to move towards fulfilling them. There are so many possibilities, and I risk wasting time while I dabble with them all. That time spent mapping down the ideas is never wasted and serves to bring focus and direction. It’s something I learned through my small business course years ago, and it has served me well in the time since.
But let’s move away from me for a moment (ha ha, do I hear sighs of relief?):
I’ve lived long enough now that I can make some observations about people’s choices regarding work. There are some diligent, conscientious people out there, who are skilled at what they do, and consequently find they are given more and more responsibility. It’s the nature of the world we live in, and the hierarchical work situation, that no matter where you are in the pecking order, you are likely to find yourself under pressure you can hardly bear. (I’m not talking about that group of people who do as little as they can, for as much money as they can, delegating and schmoozing their way out of responsibility and effort.)
I’m talking about those who have passion. Who work with that same passion, even in a job that hardly tugs at their heartstrings. The sort of people who need to be told to let go, to move out of their comfort zone, to learn to delegate, to care less about finding security in their job, and more about encouraging their real passions.
Recently someone close to me finally gave up working for the same company after seven years. She had suffered regular bouts of being made to feel she was not good enough, or working hard enough, and yet she WAS. It was very hard for her to 1) give up a work environment she knew for one that was unknown and 2) face feeling disloyal for leaving the old known environment and people. But it was long past time for her to move on, especially given her experience and skills and the sure likelihood she would be refreshed and find new friends and experiences at the new job. There are so many I have met in this situation. She DID go for an interview and get the new job, and now she is elated and thrilled and filled with excitement again. What you have to ask yourself is: bottom line, what could be worse than the job you are presently doing that you dislike so much? My own experience has taught me that there are never regrets for leaving a situation like that for a new one. I have met many people in jobs that they feel they cannot leave, for FEAR. Fear that they will not get another one, or that they are too old, or that they aren’t skilled enough, or that the pay cut will be damaging.
NONE of those reasons are good enough to waste the years of your life on.
Lacking skill? There are endless ways you can upskill – on the internet, through courses, through libraries. Too old? All the people I’m talking about in the first few paragraphs are near my age, and I’m 60. The difference is that you need to find what you are passionate about, and put your efforts and energy into that. It’s hard to go past someone who is passionate about what they do.
And don’t just think of the money. I know, I know, we all need it. But I recently saw a video clip of the former president of Uruguay speaking about materialism and living to consume – missing out on so much in life by that mentality. See it here: https://www.facebook.com/203959539740058/videos/692358027566871/?pnref=story
Just hearing those words has given me pause regularly as I reach out to purchase something. It challenges me on how much I need to live well.
YOU are so worth it – you have only so many years of life here, to live. Why not continually investigate ways to live it well? Why not discover your passions and seek to find ways to pursue them? Why not learn to need less and give more?
Okay, enough already.