Not working has been a trial for me mentally. I've been employed in some fashion or another since I was 15, and if you count babysitting, 12. It's been difficult for me to be home so much, to not be working and not having an income of my own. I'm very lucky to have a wonderful partner who has supported our household financially through this time, as well as been my emotional rock. Things could definitely be much worse, especially when I consider that they aren't bad for us at all financially. The worst part of the entire situation has been my emotional reaction to staying home.
I'm not a stay at home mom, so I don't have a child or children to focus on. Sampson is a great companion, but I think even he is sick of me being here all the time. As I mentioned in my last post, there is only so much cleaning one person can do. There have been some really bad days over the past few months where I've felt pretty hopeless, wondering if I'll ever find a job in this crappy economy, in a town where it's hard enough to find a job when the country isn't facing huge economic issues. What would I do if I wasn't working? What would people think of me? For reasons I won't get into on this blog, I'm unable to go back to school as I had planned/wanted until some more time has gone by, so I've been feeling really lost.
Something wonderful has come out of what my mom refers to as my forced life of leisure. I came to realize that I was placing way too much value on whether or not I was working. As B so brilliantly pointed out, my employment status has no bearing on who I am as a person. It doesn't define me, it doesn't make me good or evil, it doesn't tell the world anything about who I truly am. It should not impact the way I view myself nearly as much as it did. Realizing this took away a lot of my guilt about not working, and really allowed me to embrace this time off as a time to focus on myself as a person, rather than Sarah the Worker Bee.
I still have rough days where I beat myself up from time to time, but overall? I can honestly say I like myself a lot more today than I did when I was gainfully employed at my last job, where the work environment had turned me into a version of Sarah that I really did not like. I've found a level of happiness I didn't think I could have in a situation like this. I've learned to be more financially responsible. I've learned to listen to my inner voice that tells me to try things I've always wanted to try, I've paid more attention to my intuition, I've rekindled friendships that had fallen by the wayside because I was "too busy" while working. I feel refreshed and renewed. I've developed a different outlook on life. My self-esteem is moving away from being centered on who I work for and what I do to being based on who I am.
I'm planning to carry my new outlook and this spirit of renewal into my next adventure. Wouldn't you know it, as soon as I let go of all my negative feelings about myself and realized I am more than a paycheck, I was offered a job with an organization I've been admiring from afar for quite some time. I'll be doing work to support values I truly believe in, and I'll have the privilege of working with a dear friend of mine. As hokey as I think it sounds, it is true...you get what you put out into the universe. Negativity brings negativity. If you want to change your life, change your focus, and put joy and positivity into all you do.
Socks Ravelled here.
Pattern: Spring Forward by Linda Welch, from Knitty.com, Summer 2008
Yarn: Great Adirondack Soxie in Rosewood
Needles: US size 1.5