Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Monday, 4 February 2008

A Fresh Start


It was a strange start to the day this morning as from today both NAH and I aren't working. We're both too young really for us to be called 'retired' and I'm not sure for how long NAH will pursue his own interests before the pull of being an engineer gets too strong for him to resist. However, he's assured me that he's going to have at least 6 months off to do his own thing and decide what he would like to do in the longer term.
Perhaps he needs to ponder the question posed for this week by David over on authorblog. He asks 'Do you get enough leisure time?' In spite of not working (I know I'm very lucky and I'm risking making you all snort with derision), my answer is no! I'm even busier now than when I worked as I now have the energy and time to do some of the many activities that interest me. I would like to be able to do even more. Am I being selfish, or is it simply because it's part of the human condition to never be satisfied with our lot? I also believe that a modified version of Parkinson's Law is at play too - my leisure (rather than work) is expanding to fill the time available!
What do you think? Do you have enough leisure time?

12 comments:

  1. Nope. I have virtually none! I spend a lot of time not obviously doing very much, but with two small children it is not my time to spend how I like. If I pick up a book they want in; gardening is difficult as you have to keep an eye on them all the time; I can't go to classes or anything like that...
    Bah.
    S'not fair.
    I'm really interested in your situation - I've read some of your archives but can't see why you left your job, Sorry if I am prying and it is personal, but I would be interested to know.

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  2. There's work and there's work. I work more than I ever did before but because I'm doing something I want to do it's more like leisure. Maybe that is the difference, work can become leisure once the stress is removed.

    Lisa, when my 3 children were young I felt like you but remember they are only young for a short time and before you know it they will be gone. Enjoy them while you can, there will be more time for you in the future.

    Lovely photo btw VP

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  3. I've always made time for my interests even when I worked full-time. I think that some people make the time to do want they want, whereas others always say that they're too busy. The other consideration is what people do with their leisure time!
    I don't think that you are being selfish at all. As for being satisfied with our lot I can at least say that at present I'm fairly content with mine.

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  4. I certainly feel that I don't have enough leisure time at the moment. I seem to bring work home with me most evenings and at weekends and have done so for years. However my recent application for voluntary redundancy has been accepted and come late summer I will be unemployed. I am really looking forward to an early 'retirement' and testing out your 'Parkinson's Law' theory.

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  5. Lisa - I'm not surprised at your reply having read your Blog lately. I'll leave the rest of my answer for you to the end of this reply if you don't mind :)

    dnd - you've made some good points there and given Lisa a much better answer on her situation than I could have done. Thanks also for the photo compliment.

    Flighty - your contentment comes over in your delightful Blog. I too made time for my interests when I was at working (most of the time anyway), but now I have even more of them!

    Anna - I know just what you're talking about. It sounds like you're going to use your redundancy in a positive way. I wish you well and hope to hear how you get on.

    So Lisa, you're right - I've left hints here and there, but not really told the story. This is because I have a very optimistic view of life (no matter how bad it's been) and so want to reflect that in my Blog. I don't mind you asking because I can sense the sympathy in your curiosity. Reasons why I left work? Quite a few. I was very successful in my job (as a business analyst in a bank) - I was always chosen for the tricky and complex pieces of work. Mostly it was great - I love learning and bore easily, so having a knotty problem or 3 to solve was right up my street. Then it became more than 3 and I guess I just burnt out 3 years ago. I was off work with stress for a while and never returned to work full time after that - surprsingly I found I could do just as much in a 4 day week than I'd previously done full time. On top of that we've been coping with distance caring for 2 relatives for 2 and a half years. Last year it turned into 3 (300 miles apart) and that was the final straw. I initially took a career break for 7 months, but things still aren't sorted so we've both decided to 'retire'. Unfortunately we've not been able to have a family, but that now can be turned into a positive as it's given us the opportunity to stop working earlier than usual, do what we need to do family-wise and discover new interests. I'm currently doing a garden design course, so who knows where that may lead? :) I've also discovered blogging as one of my new interests and I'm loving it!

    Sorry for the long reply - but you did ask ;)

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  6. I did ask - and I have been worrying ever since that I should have! So thank you for replying ;) Sorry to hear about your relatives: that has to be hard going - but, as you say, what a fantastic opportunity to retire so young and do what *you* want to do (ok next inappropriate question - how old are you?!)
    Sorry also about whinging; it's been hard going lately but it was my choice to stay home with the children and I wouldn't have it any other way!

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  7. Hi Lisa - I'm 48! That's why I'm saying I'm Not Working rather than Retired :)
    Don't worry about 'whinging' - you still manage to make your life interesting reading, even when you're feeling fed up

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  8. Oh yes, you definitely need a new term for it. How about not in paid work? Because I am sure you work very hard on things you enjoy!

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  9. I'm 48 going on teenager ;) And you're right, I'm probably working way too hard on enjoying my new found freedom. In fact, I'm having to stop myself from doing loads more!

    I've just watched the Money Programme about retirees becoming entrepreneurs - it resonated quite a bit with how I feel about life at the moment. Who knows what it may bring? I like that feeling very much...

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  10. Thanks for your good wishes. I have been on a pre-retirement course today and now have a mental action plan in my head - soon time to get it down on paper. Like you we do not have a family so it has made the decision to 'retire' earlier easier. I hope to report back later in the year on how it's going !

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  11. No, I don't have enough spare time - it's nearly 7pm and I'm still at work. It's because all our good engineers keep leaving, so there are fewer of us to do the work!

    Great blog, by the way. I hope you both enjoy your "retirement."

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  12. Hi Anna - that sounds like a good course. I hope it's given you plenty of ideas and let me know how you get on :)

    Catless - thanks for stopping by and the compliment! Your comment on free time is a painful reminder of how things were for me until recently. I hope things improve for you soon.

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