In light of it being Labor Day here in the US and it being a little over one week since I haven’t been working, I thought I’d share how it’s going so far. For those of you who don’t know, Dan and I are taking about a month in between our jobs and leaving for South America to putz around here in the US, prep for our trip, spend time with the significant people in our lives, etc.
Overall, it has been a positive experience so far. As much as I loved my job, not having something you are tied to everyday between 9 am and 5:30 pm (and longer sometimes) is obviously freeing with your time; but also with your mental and physical energy. In the past 6 years or so that I’ve been working full time, I have pretty consistently felt drained (even though I’m only in my twenties). I would love to just go home after work, lay around with my cats, and zone out in front of the t.v. It took a conscious effort for me to want to be active (even though I usually force myself to workout), meet up with friends during the week, do household chores like cooking, and even have conversations with Dan. After talking to many friends and coworkers, I found out that most people feel this way, not matter what their job is so I knew it wasn’t unique to me or really had anything to do with my specific work.
During this first week of unemployment, I have already noticed a significant difference in myself and in Dan as well. First of all, the balance between wanting to zone out in front of the t.v. and doing other things we want to do, seems to be more equal. We still have been watching a lot of t.v. which is something I want to cut out more but I almost feel better about it now because I’ve also been doing things that I want to do and I have the energy to do them. Here are some noticeable improvements from the last week:
- Partaking in physical activity has not felt like a mental struggle this past week (besides the fact that it has been unseasonably hot) and I’ve actually wanted to exercise. Not only have I gone on runs and done other workouts but we’ve gone on bike rides, played tennis, and taken walks which I enjoy and would rarely do before.
- I bought two books at Barnes and Noble probably two months ago to read for pleasure and never even opened the covers. As much as I love reading, it made me so tired and I could never focus on what the words on the page said. Now, I have almost finished one of the books that I bought and really look forward to carving out time each day to read.
- My relationship with Dan just naturally has become stronger. We finally spend a bunch of uninterrupted time together and have the time and the energy to simply talk. We have always had a great relationship, but it suffered from both of us being so busy and exhausted in the evenings. About 3 days into my unemployment, Dan had already mentioned that he noticed this change!
- Doing mundane chores don’t bother me as much and I don’t dread doing them. I just.. do them! It’s weird! Doing laundry, unloading the dishwasher, going to the grocery store, scooping cat liter – all things I hate don’t seem to be so bad. I mean, I still don’t love them but I don’t really think about doing them.
Being unemployed is definitely part of painting my spirit gold because it will give me the time and energy to explore and accomplish everything I’m looking for. However, it is important for me to mention that although this past week has been great, I have noticed some negative effects of unemployment (besides missing ITA and my coworkers of course). Keep in mind that these could very well be unique to my situation and personality.
The major downside of unemployment for me is that not having a routine or job that I need to answer to each day can make me feel complacent or unmotivated. I am someone that gets bored, easily. I am kind of like a border collie, I constantly need a “job”, focus, or something to do. I don’t do well with laying around all day and not getting outside or accomplishing something. Because I’m not working I have times where I feel like I should be doing something but I’m not, and I start to feel almost like I have cabin fever. I don’t know exactly what to do with myself and almost feel cooped up in a weird way – even though I have all this freedom! It is something that is really hard to explain so I hope I’m making sense.
I think it is going to be really important for me to conquer this in the next year. Feeling like I always have to be doing something could potentially negatively effect the free time that I have and make me not fully enjoy it. I really want to learn how to slow down and enjoy myself. I’m glad that I am going to have time to work on this now before we leave. In order to battle this mentality, I’ve decided that each morning I’m going to set an intention everyday and goals that I’d like to achieve. This way, I’m hoping I will be more intentionally living each day by feeling like I am achieving my goals but also feel okay with just “being” and soaking in life abroad.