Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Not Looking

When I began this blog over a year ago, I said I didn’t consider myself retired; I considered myself unemployed. My usual habit was to work hard, unemploy myself, take a break, explore some things, and find the next exciting job to occupy me. This was only my latest break.

In my mind, I wasn’t “retired” because I don’t have a pension. And I expected I’d get a job because that’s what I usually did. I liked having a regular place to go, helping something grow, being part of a long-term mission. I liked the identity that came with being part of an organization.

But the things that captured my imagination weren’t coming in the form of jobs. No, what was really interesting me was art, travel, community efforts. New Things.

But then – as readers of this blog know – after a while I just felt adrift and untethered. No structure imposed by work hours, no purpose other than what I could impose on myself. I was doing contracts – and I like them a lot – but they aren’t regular and don’t come attached to a workplace, co-workers, and an occupational identity. My existential crises ran amok. I was lonely. A job seemed a solution.
So now, here we are at today. A job prospect came my way that’s actually intriguing. I think it would involve working with interesting people, would involve some travel, would even include writing. Of course, it would ease financial pressure.

But if I took that job, what would happen to my month in London (the newest iteration of my month in Manhattan)? What about the prospects for an artist-in-residency at Hagley in Wilmington? What about all the things that I do between 9 and 5 each day? How will all my volunteering fit in? What about all the things that don’t get done even with all the time I have now?

How can I possibly squeeze myself back into the box that a regular job requires? 

See where I am? I think this is called a crossroads. Or just Identity Crisis #402. I really am on a different road, a road that for the time being does not involve a job. But because I can over-think anything to death, I have a whole bunch of questions for myself:
  • I have LOTS of years left in my Third Third. Have I opted for the pleasure route too early? When I decide I want something different, will employment opportunities have passed?

  • If not-employed is now my decided route – not just a de-facto-it-happened route – what does that mean? Do I get more serious about what I’m doing? What does that mean, to “get more serious”?

  • How many of my decisions are just laziness decisions, evidence of some responsibility fatigue?

  • How much of this is just incredibly selfish in not taking financial pressure off my husband (even though he denies feeling the pressure)?
In the end, none of these questions matter. I can’t do it. I just can’t take a regular job right now, can’t put myself in that box. I couldn’t sign on a dotted line, set an alarm clock every morning, sit at a desk in an office. It feels absolutely impossible. Every fiber of my being rebels. Why?

Because I like my days.

(Eye-opening wow.)

It took me a while to get to this point, but it’s true. I’m in my Third Third, I’m in charge of my days, and I like them!


  1. For personal selfish reasons, I say "Good! Great! Works for me!" I would miss my daytime adventures with Barbara!

  2. I love your blog! Come check out mine

  3. Yup, where would it all fit in time-wise? Would I be able to keep up? What would I give up? Luckily, no one has offered me an interesting (or even uninteresting) job! How nice that you have reached a comfort level with where you are.


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