Friday, 1 July 2011

Meaningful work

When I worked the office grind I used to dream and fantasize about unlimited free time. I dreamt of freedom. Freedom from a schedule, freedom from a desk in an office, freedom from the stress of the job. I dreamt of freedom to do whatever I wanted day in day out. Freedom to climb mountains every day. Freedom from cities and concrete buildings. Freedom to cycle through forests with the wind in my hair. I wanted freedom to design my own life.

Now that I've got what I want can I handle it? This life is not for everyone. You have to take charge of your own entertainment. People wonder what I do all day, they ask don't I get bored, don't I feel lost without the sense of purpose that work brings?

The answer is, no and yes and sometimes. But the truth is that I could not return to my old life now. You see I feel that the work ethic is so ingrained in us that people now cannot imagine life without work, and I find this sad. Most people are not prepared to take responsibility for their own lives, the thought of freedom actually frightens them.

But, it was never my intention not to do some sort of "work". Even though its been almost a year since The Escape I am still in the early stages of discovering what I want. The great thing is that I can and do climb mountains most days, I can and do ride my back with the wind in my hair. I now grow vegetables!

However I think we humans are complex creatures and like it or not we need other humans around us. The truth is that I do miss some social interaction. I used to think that I wanted to go and live on an island on my own, I was very bitter, angry and dejected. Being somewhat introverted I find socialising difficult.

Ideally I would have liked some sort of part time work, something fun like working in a cafe or waitressing. Those jobs are few and far between, and in the area where I live there is great competition for them. These days there is a formal application process for these part time unskilled jobs. You actually need a CV to serve coffee??? My CV is very technical, I don't stand a chance.

The other thing is that I do miss the intellectual stimulation of my old job. I have thought about retraining, I'd like to do something involved in public service. But you wonder whether there is any point in retraining without the certainty of a job at the end of it. I looked into retraining as a Nurse, however my GP put me off this and suggested that I study medicine instead. There is a post graduate fast track course in medicine which is designed for mature students with a degree. Now this really got me thinking. I have always been interested in medicine but this is a HUGE commitment. For a while thinking about it I got excited about it. But would I be just trading one treadmill for another? This would be ideal for me in a way that it is helping people, its "giving back". But it is a big commitment. But I do need something to do. This does mean that we are committed to being here for long term.

Do we have many other options anyway about where to live? Portugal living is still on my mind but I worry that it could be too one dimensional, I think I may need more variety. I also have to think about DH. DH said he was bored and has gone back to work, its not permanent work, but he has taken a temporary contract for 3 months as a locum. He says he needed something to do and missed the social interaction. Hmmm I do wonder sometimes whether we want the same things.

9 comments:

Jerry Critter said...

You said:
"Hmmm I do wonder sometimes whether we want the same things."

Well, you also said,

"Ideally I would have liked some sort of part time work..."

and

"The truth is that I do miss some social interaction."

It sounds like, to me, you and DH do want the same things. Maybe your approach is different.

Dreamer said...

Hi Jerry, lovely to hear from you and I hope you are well. Yes what I've written is a bit contradictory isnt it, but what I didnt say is that DH is now away from home all week working, there isnt any of that sort of work around here. It seems a bit extreme just to have something to do. I find myself falling back into the trap of work, I think work is a distraction from the bigger picture of where and how we are going to live, and this country is getting on my nerves again, but then where else is there to live? We are too old for Aus, NZ, cant get into North America, the english speaking countries are a non starter for us, I am really struggling to face that harsh reality. I want to be somewhere amoungst like minded individuals, there are none here, I dont know how to explain it without sounding horrible but people just see what is in front of their noses. I dont know really Im very confused with it all.

Jerry Critter said...

DH being away all week puts a whole different spin on it. I'm sorry!

Anna said...

I totally understand what you're going through: I have much the same feelings. The only difference for us is that we are going to leave the country and will travel for a bit before finding some small place to live (probably in France). I used to think we would just rent forever but I am now finding that too restricting as my home (no pictures; bland blinds, all beige etc). Keep thinking, reading, searching - you don't have to settle for the status quo - the half life. Stay bold!

Dreamer said...

Hi Anna, yes I too thought that we would rent forever but as you say it is very restrictive, the biggest probloem is lack of security of tenure, being at the whim of a landlord all the time cant be much fun for years on end can it? Its also difficult to nest in a rented home. Then you have the financial arguments,does it make any sense to buy property in a fallling market anyway? It depends I suppose, there are so many variables to the rent v's buy argument.

What part of france are you thinking of?

FrankC said...

A falling market is the best time to buy with it's very low housing prices-it's called a buyers market. But I'm sure you know that. I think that with so many choices of what to buy or where to live if you want to "like the sun", you have the problem to decide what to do.

It could also be the fear of ending up in a place that you'll hate the rest of your life and the lost cash of your hard earned money. Take your time don't rush it.

Maybe you could try to buy two places to live, one for winter and one for summer, and still stay cool for outdoor pleasure. This could be what you need to be happy.

Not work work work work work, and more work, plus more work.

Are you crazy! Your DH needs to see the light.

Your retired now and life is short, live it up now while you can. You can have lots of simple pleasures that don't cost much and still have lots of fun.

But to be stuck with a boss-hog working and working, who needs that when you've got your freedom you worked so hard for.

Like that song goes - Live baby live a new sensation.

Bye, love your blog, make life an adventure - pull DH by the ear and get the hell out of dodge!

Dreamer said...

Frank, I agree with everything you say. I dont understand DH's actions at all, and too be honest Im starting to feel more than a little hurt about being "abandoned" I suppose, is it me he wants to escape from? does he need to do his own thing? who am I to stop him? Am I trying to control him..??? I dont konw I thought we wanted the same things and we are supposed to be a couple, maybe Im being bit melodramatic??

Dh says he worries about money, everything going up in price and inflation etc etc and about being skint in our old age, but I dont really worry about that I think we will be ok, it seems to me to be far easier to try to live a different lifestyle rather than keeep trying to earn more money all the time

And YES, we are scared to death about putting our hard earned money into something which we may end up hating, when I owned property before it seemed like a prison, trapped by four walls perhaps I was just being immature. I just feel ambivalent about everything

Too be honest I think that with DH the way he is I think sometimes to myself well I might aswell be out earning money, but its not what I want to do behind a desk all day

And yes to buying in a falling market around here we are now starting to see some properties selling at a third of the price of the 07 top of the market, but still unsure that this area is right for us.

FrankC said...

What good is more money if your just going to get sick or ill by living an unhappy life. In life you don't really own anything. When you die, others who did not work for it, will quickly take everything you thought you owned.
All our busy rushing ends in nothing heaping up wealth, yet not sure who will spend it.

Your body is loaned to you for a few years then taken back to dust.

Simplify your life sometimes less is better, If all you do is work then you don't really live anywhere cause you'll have the poverty of time. Life will just become a job and nothing else.

Maybe taking root some place is not the solution for you. From the way you talk, you seem to be a free spirit type of person. You like the - Escape Concept, to be free and come or go as you please, why stay put.

With the way the world is today and the way it will become, many people have decided to live a mobile lifestyle. If a dark storm of any kind comes, economic, no gas, no food, a war, a super volcano, and your in lockdown mode with a fixed dwelling, you may not be able to adapt or leave the area without a major money loss.

I hope i didn't scare you but the earth, people, and countries are changing.

Tell DH how you feel he might make a change, if not, at least he knows.

Chow!

Dreamer said...

Hi Frank, I could talk to you about this stuff all day, we think alke :) I consider mobile living all the time, but I struggle to come up with a way to make it work without spending huge amounts of money every month, when we were on the road so to speak last year we went thru the best part of 10k in less than 3 months! Now this is not staying in 5 star hotels and seafood meals every night! I think we found it hard to live the mobile life on a budget because I do like a certain level of comfort (bed, seating) and that does cost, so far cheaper to rent a base, with my own furniture, here we can live for circa £1k per month all in, very difficult to replicate that unless one camps a lot :)