I’ve worked for such long hours for so many years now, I’m not sure I know how to “gear down”… and yet that time has come. I’ve preached to others for years, and although I believe it – I’m a terrible student of my own lessons. I guess those who can’t — really DO teach (although I’ve always balked at that concept).
I think the reason that I felt it was imperative to enjoy my work, to do only what I love most, is because I knew I’d have to continue working long hours for the rest of my life.
Why work 10-14 hours a day if you hate what you do? That’s a death sentence.
It hit me like the proverbial “ton of bricks” yesterday, that I no longer have to work the number of hours that I’ve always worked. Until yesterday it never really hit me that I worked so hard because I had to – I guess, I just twisted it around to “I want to, so I could keep moving forward.
I didn’t know all this until I actually HAD another option.
When Wayne and I married, he moved to the farm and the travel back and forth to his job in the “Big City” was required just as the gas prices started to climb.
We were trying to build the cabin in between his twelve hours or more away to commute two hours away for an eight-hour shift and then another two hours on the road back home, and my own unruly work schedule. He was getting him home around 2 a.m. He was exhausted, he was sleeping when I was working, and we seldom saw each other. I worked all the time and I was exhausted too.
We then made the decision that, financially, it was wise to release the job in the city. And, we wanted to see each other more. Wayne came home to work on getting the cabin weather-proofed and to make domestic progress on literally building our dreams. He spent just over four months working on the cabin along side my father daily, or nearly daily.
During that time, the financial pressures increased, as we needed more materials and supplies to build. It was becoming quite stressful for us both. So, Wayne started looking for a job locally. Here, in rural Kentucky, good jobs aren’t that plentiful.
Yesterday, Wayne enjoyed his first full day of work in a position that will provide him professional challenges, the opportunity for growth and a job that he believes he’s really going to enjoy. He will be able to cover health insurance for the family, and it’s a 15-minute commute from the farm.
Suddenly, stresses I have been carrying around began to melt away. He’s seemed to relax a bit, too. Things have come into crisper focus. And, I can take a day off without guilt. It’s been literally YEARS since I’ve taken a day (even a weekend) off without feeling guilty. Now I can.
Now I can set regular business hours. Now I can know that the bills will be paid even if I don’t work into the wee hours of the a.m., now sleep may not be so much of a personal enemy, now relaxing won’t seem so much like a guilty sin.
It’s liberating and a bit odd. And I realized that the last time I didn’t HAVE to work, was when Nicholas was a baby (he’s nearly 17 now). For ten months, I didn’t have to work. I was finishing my undergraduate thesis at that time, but I didn’t have a “JOB” — I did move twice and once was across three states, but no work, per se.
Before then, from age 18 until then, I was working one, two, even three jobs at a time, even while attending the University of Kentucky. Later, when we returned to Kentucky, after the boys’ father completed a military stint, when I was going to school at Centre College to complete my degree, I worked part time. Before I could finish my degree, I was supporting the two boys alone.
And I am in wonder when I consider how much easier life will be with this new change. Wayne has always been a partner, he’s helped me to define exactly what that term means for the first time in my life. But, to have two good,dependable incomes to support a single family… well, that’s all new to me.
There are so many plans we will be able to make, we will be able to eliminate lingering debt load and invest in our future. And, I’ll be able to work regular hours- beginning immediately.
The pressure is releasing, pressure I didn’t even know I had. It’s like being immersed in pure luxury. It’s being able to breathe deeply. It’s like heaven.
With good kids, my health, a wonderful life-partner, my business flourishing, and my love of my career – I thought life was good.
Suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, it just got a whole lot better.