Friday, February 3, 2012

Another Season of Life

I just can’t stay home and do nothing.
My friend of over 35 years is retiring from her high level government job in less than two years. She’s moving to Florida with her husband and teen-aged daughter; their new house already bought and waiting for them.

The words above are hers; spoken to me as we had our semiannual phone conversation.

Is there fear in these words, combined with anticipation and excitement?

Our conversation ended, but the words stayed with me. As someone who has been given the tag “stay-at-home mom,” and as someone who is not employed, I could have given her countless examples of what to do with her hours of the day that “will not” be spent at home.

Instead, I simply mentioned something about her daughter still being in high school, and that there will surely be events surrounding her life that she may get involved with. Besides, my friend already has plans to mentor young people, and other ideas of her own.

My thoughts left my friend and went further; wondering what motivates people in a season of life that gives them freedom to decide what their day will be. When I was much younger, I thought that once financial stability had been acquired and the job left behind, then the days would vary with part time “fun” jobs, recreation, traveling, volunteering, serving on boards, waking up when you feel like it, sports, helping with grandchildren or the elderly, gardening, reading, writing, and
s-l-o-w-i-n-g   d-o-w-n   t-h-e   p-a-c-e.

However, now that I’ve partially entered that season of life (nowhere near fully, because I’m still raising children), often, I see a different picture. I witness people tormenting themselves over what to do with their time. Older stay-at-home moms, new to the empty nest, worry about whether or not to get a job. Seniors go to bed at 7 o’clock because they don’t know what else to do; the days feel long to them. (I can’t imagine that, for I feel the days are too short.) Other seniors wake up with anxiety, concerned about health issues or other things, like feeling lost in a technical, fast paced, youth filled world.

Newer stay-at-home moms worry about the long list of things to do for the day. Some turn on the TV and drink wine with Kathie Lee and Hoda, to conquer their fear; that overwhelming feeling that stems from the “freedom” of scheduling their days. Some stay-at-home dads wish they were employed. Hmmm…

People on disability find themselves bored; thinking more about what they can’t do, instead of what they can do.

The grass is always greener…

I once heard how a rich young man had a meltdown because he couldn’t decide what shoes to wear for his tennis match.

When my last child went off to kindergarten, I had big plans. I was going to volunteer more, exercise more, de-clutter and organize my house to perfection, etc. After all, I’d have seven “free” hours a day. Right?


There was an adjustment period. I found that I could not simply switch gears and travel down a different road. I had to gradually merge onto it, allowing myself, and then willing myself to enjoy it.

A couple years ago, I wrote a post, titled, “Moms and Friends on the Tennis Court.” When I read it again, along with your comments, I see that I may have implied having a little guilt for “being home.” I hope you don’t get that message from this post.

Life is not always about what you do, but how you feel when you’re doing it.

Do you need motivation to get the day going? What’s your motivation?
Some people need motivation to come back home. Are you one of them?  :)


Linda Hensley said...

A saying I've always liked is "bored people are boring people". There's always stuff to do, whether or not it's for work or other people. Why not do stuff we enjoy just for ourselves? Where do we have to go to get that permission? Great post :)

Tabor said...

It is a continual juggling act. Somedays I get busy with projects and others I feel guilt about sitting around doing nothing. I do wish that my volunteer work was more rewarding. It is hard to find the type of volunteer work that fits when you live in a very rural area. I do have plenty of hobbies and ideas that fill most of each day.

Abby said...

I think my problem [as you know I've struggled with these thoughts :)] was feeling guilty about doing things just for me. I still struggle with it a bit, but I'm certainly never bored!

And thanks for another long-awaited post!

Simone said...

Just recently, I've learned that if I don't take the initiative to get motivated with what I have and what God has given me, then I stand to lose a whole lot. That is coming from having my heart stop on Saturday and realizing that I was faced with life and death right before my eyes. It sure changed my perspective. I feel more passionate about things that mean a lot to me. Being at home right now though, I'm still trying to remind myself to enjoy being alone and hearing the silence.

Judy Thomas said...

When I was younger I used to need a kick in the pants to get motivated. Now, at 52, I realize that life is finite and, if I want to do what I want to do, I need to drop excuses and behaviors that put things off and just do it. I can now spend a 4 hour session drawing or writing, I walk most every day (for the last 5 years) and if I want to try to learn to do something, I find a way. Half-time work has helped organize me- I love my job, but it makes my non-renumerated time more valuable.

Just Two Chicks said...

Okay, you just totally described me in ALL of that... well, not the accepting portion of it. I have a melt-down every time I walk out of the house lately, because I rarely leave it,and when I do, I want to look GOOD! Seriously, I know it's nuts... deep down, I know this! That doesn't stop me from feeling it though. I remind myself that I am thankful, I'm just so lost as to having a higher purpose, so to speak. I'm raising teens, I take are of the house, and the spouse... LOL BUT, everyone around me is busy doing... and I'm busy spinning my wheels. I think for me, it all comes down to being able to start my business. Had we not begun the process, then walked away from it, I wouldn't have that "itch." It was fun, I loved the presentations, the people... I don't know. SO, yeah, my blog posts "yesterday," and "blogging from bed," really touch on my nuttiness as of late. Oh well... I figure I'm getting it all out in my blogs, so I can present myself in the real world as "sane!" Haha!

jiturajgor said...

At home or office,work has no different face in a whole.If yo take it as a burden it becomes so.Women at home are probably taking a great effort.Talking out of topic,am I?

Barb said...

Hi Anita, It's a long time since you posted. You always give me food for thought. I've been retired for many years, and each day, I'm busy doing something I really enjoy. I can't imagine being bored or lonely. I do think attitude is important. Life is never on hold. I enjoy the slower pace now - I focus on people and activities that are important to me (though they may not actually be "important" in others' opinions). I make time for daily exercise. I remember to be thankful. I smile a lot. I'm smiling now, in fact - thanks!

InSeason Mom Cynthia said...

Wouldn’t it be great if those of us who feel we have too much to do could trade some of the time with those who feel they don’t have enough to do? This would be a win-win for everybody!

Yona said...

Lately, I've been feeling like I've been on a hamster wheel. things motivate me, but my actions don't show it. Certain things weigh heavy on my mind that prevent me from enjoying the things that I like to do. I need to start being more proactive in not getting distracting from completing the tasks that allow me to have more free time. I feel like I've been rambling, but this was good for me to get out.

Rebecca S. said...

My parents taught me that the secret to a happy life is finding where and how to give what you have to offer. That means so many different things for so many different people. I feel like I have struck the right balance between being a stay at home mom, an on call office administrator, an arts volunteer and a person who needs time to keep herself healthy and fit. Lately, I've had some struggles as you know from my latest post, but I am feeling good about the remedy. Life is a constant juggling act. Constant. We should never get to a place of complacency. Boredom should be a luxury of the very young.
I feel like I've been on the computer long enough and now it's time to get going with the 'productive' part of my day :)

Tammy@Beatrice Banks said...

I have this conversation with my mom often. She can't see herself staying home even though she's at retirement age. I, on the other hand, love staying home and dread the thought of going back to work, which I might eventually have to do. But I know if I do, things will fall in place and I'll adjust. It's just a matter of making the best life you can no matter what season you're in. I will say that motivation for me is harder to come by when I'm not on a clock. It's a luxury to have free/creative time. Gotta work on exercising though!

Menopausal New Mom said...

Anita, I always have so much on the go. Right now I'm in the process of decorating our home on a tight budget using second-hand finds and making things myself. My days are full but then again, my daughter is done school at 2:30 pm so my free time ends at 2:00. Making room for an hour of exercise each morning, cleaning up the woodstove from the night before, bringing in the wood and then restarting the woodstove for the day, cleaning up the kitchen after the previous evening of snacks, etc., I'm still up to my neck. When my mom retired several years ago, I remember he telling me she has no idea how she ever had time for a full-time job. I feel the same, very fullfilled and happy and busy.

fsmum said...

Love your comment 'Life is not always about what you do, but how you feel when you’re doing it.' I can safely say that I love almost everything I do in my new life as a forty something first time mum! My little boy is 4 now and he is the thing that motivates me most! I have no choice but to get the day going and no choice but to come home again! I wouldn't have it any other way now, altthough I didn't always think that way!

Buckeroomama said...

I think we all just need to embrace whatever situation we are in and make the best of it --IF we don't have any other choice. If we do have a choice and the current situation is not to our liking, then we need to ACT and do something about it. The change doesn't have to be anything dramatic to start with... baby steps, dip our toes in the water and all that. If we like how it feels, wade in a little deeper; if not, get get out of the water and go to a different beach. Something like that. :)

Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

When I retired from teachin' I thought I'd have time on my hands to sit on the front deck with a great book watchin' the birds....boy was I wrong.

I've never been busier in my life. Our mornins begin at dark thirty here on the Ponderosa. I have a multitude of jobs, teach a Pre~teen Sunday School Class, lead Kid's Church, keep up with Elder care 'round goes on and on.

It's a runnin' joke 'round here 'bout my free time which is just as well. I don't sit still well anyway. 'Pretty darn spastic.

God bless ya and have a marvelous day sweetie!!!

Unknown said...

I hear that lament from people that are retiring too. I think most of them identify with their careers very strongly and therefore it will leave a large gap in their life. But surely, everyone, can explore their inner soul and find those things that they once loved as children or dreaming young adults to pursue once again before obligations took control.

I know I have. And, ohhhhh, there are not enough hours in the day to do all that I want to do!

Julie Magers Soulen Photography

Chapters From My Life said...

I am on the opposite side of the fence. After doing nothing much for the past 20 years in my life, I woke up in my forties and have been studying and trying to build a career for myself with gusto.

gayle said...

I can not wait until I retire ~ hopefully this year!! I'm 58 and even though I have an easy job, wonderful hours, summers off and many days off during the year ~ I want to stay at home! Some of my friends think it's a great idea for me to retire and some think won't I get bored. I can't imagine me getting bored. I never have before. There is always something to do ~ either things I Have to do or things I Want to do!

Great post!

Arlee Bird said...

I never seem to have enough time to do all of the things I'd like to each day. I don't think I could ever just do "nothing" and it would seem sad just to spend hours of each day watching television.

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