I’ve been half-joking lately that I feel a bit like I’ve enrolled in a Life Recovery program here. But, in fact, maybe it’s more of a Life Rediscovery, when it comes down to it. It’s sort of like a giant time out. I’ve been able to pause, catch my breath, take stock of the last few years and decide how to move forward.
And I love it; surprising things are coming out of this time already.
As many of you know, I’ve cut back on my regular work hours in order to make time for consulting work, and although I’ve had some jobs come in, many things haven’t panned out, at least not yet. In strictly financial terms, this is not so great, and I can’t afford to work so little long-term, but it’ll be okay for a few months.
On the personal front, it’s fantastic.
We moved here three-and-a-half years ago from San Francisco with two very young kids and I hit the ground running, quickly ramping up and working more hours than I’d ever worked before. We got settled in a rental house only to have it put on the market the next week, pushing us to buy our first home and move into it just 9 months after the cross-country move. It’s been an endless cycle of working and parenting and settling in, and because we rapidly found great friends and organizations to be part of, we were always busy. It was, as they say, all good. Really good.
But I can’t emphasize enough how wonderful it is to have a little time this fall to simply breathe. Yes, I’m still seeing some clients and running my practice, with all that entails. But the kids are both in school and are calm and happy much of the time when they’re home now. They’re older and independent. I took myself off all committees and the Condo Board. I’m able to volunteer at the kids’ school for the first time ever, as a room parent in Lyle’s kindergarten class. I’m cooking our meals and baking yummy autumnal treats, listening to music, and seeing friends – even in the middle of the day sometimes. I’m reading blogs again, ones I haven’t visited in a long while, and discovering new voices as well.
Spending more time in my house has led to all sorts of small repairs and cosmetic changes that were on the periphery of my awareness for a long time; I have just recently unpacked boxes left over from California. One by one, I’m working on the closets and storage areas, getting rid of boxes and bags of junk taking up space here. Yesterday I had a professional organizer come over to give me ideas about how to use space in our home office more efficiently, now that I’m in it a lot more. I’ve even taken up the violin again, more than 20 years after putting it aside. Lyle is going to start playing and I’m going to relearn alongside him; I’m finding enormous pleasure in picking it up in the middle of the afternoon or at night when the kids are in bed and working on my old Suzuki tunes from childhood again. Without my modified work schedule this year, there’s no way we’d have time for the violin lessons or the flute lessons Baxter is starting next week. I know: I tried to fit music into our lives last year and it was impossible.
I hope and expect the consulting jobs to pick up more soon. If they don’t, I’ll go back to taking new clients of my own at work this winter. But even when I’m working more again, I am committed to making sure I continue to have the flexibility and freedom to schedule jobs so that they work within my new life here, the life in which I have more down time with my family and friends and for baking and making music and writing and thinking and breathing and being.