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? :)