Today, for the first time in seven weeks, I had to get up, tart myself up a bit, and go to work. Well, if I’m honest, it wasn’t really work, even though it was very nearly a full day of doing something other than pleasing myself.
It was actually my first shift helping out in the day care centre at the local hospice. I went with some trepidation. Did I know how to deal with very sick people? Am I up to standard re tea making? Without my realising it, Thursday’s are men only days at the day centre, and goodness me, despite their obvious sickness, they were a cheeky bunch.
Some of the time I was standing round like a spare part, but a lot of the time was spent chatting cheerfully, looking at rude jokes on one chaps phone, and playing Rummikub, a game I’ve never played before. We had a lovely lunch, lots of tea, biscuits and cake, and several of the men had aromatherapy sessions. I saw photographs and heard stories. I chatted to the other volunteers and found that despite some age differences we were like-minded. The overall atmosphere was warm and friendly.
One very poorly chap, who spent the day attached to an oxygen machine told me ‘you won’t find a person with a proper serious disease who hasn’t got a sense of humour’ and after today, I can believe it. These were all gentlemen with plenty to be miserable about, but instead of dragging me into the gloom, they brightened my day. It certainly wasn’t work.
So, after 15 years of dedicated service, I left work six weeks ago and am now enjoying being a lady of leisure. Whilst I was miserably serving my full, four months, notice, there was excited talk about my taking on bits and pieces of work ad hoc to bring in a little extra dosh. However, the longer I have spent at home the less inclined I am to start looking, and, if I’m truthful, am hoping that nothing turns up.
I am in the very happy and fortunate position that my not working does not mean destitution. My husband is a high earner, kids are independent, and we’ve paid off our mortgage. My income was generally being saved for our retirement and treats, such as expensive holidays to far flung and exotic places. So some income for me would be nice, but not necessarily essential.
So far, I’ve managed to keep myself busy all day, every day. People have asked ‘don’t you get bored?’ No. I don’t. I am filling my days with homely, housewifey things. Things only previously done cursorily at weekends. For instance, this morning, I cleaned the windows…vigourously and actually enjoyed it. I’ve baked bread -without the machine. I no longer have outstanding ironing, and the dog is enjoying lots more exercise and attention. I’ve been digging over the garden ready for vegetables next year, and of course, I am writing.
I feel great. I have energy and enthusiasm once more. No longer dragged down into depression by the stress and responsibilities of work, I can be silly again. I have found my lost self. I was switched off, now I am switched on again.