For myself, I have begun a new journey. I don't know where it will start, or where it will end, I just knew it was time to begin. The past few years I've been working full time in a very stressful retail environment. Before I started my job six years ago, I was a stay at home for twenty years. But I wasn't a 'normal' homemaker. Even though family and home always came first, I created a full time drama ministry at my church that took up the majority of my time. Then, as my kids grew up and became more and more active in music, my life's purpose seemed to be chauffeur and coordinator of all their music lessons, performances, and rehearsals. Later, after my oldest went off to college I had a friend approach me and ask me if I wanted to go to Italy with her. Well, who could turn that down? The problem was with a kid in college, who has the money to go to Italy? So I had to get a job. I never dreamed anyone would hire me when I hadn't done anything but volunteer work for over twenty years. But to my surprise, two of the three jobs I applied for offered me a position. I took the job that appealed to me the most and what started as 'just a little job to make some quick cash' turned into a career.
At first, I loved my job. I never even thought that my job was work. It was fun. Going to work was like hanging out with my friends all day, I couldn't believe I was getting paid for this. But, eventually, one by one all my friends started to leave for better opportunities, and women my own age were being replaced by college students, whose company I also enjoyed, but it just wasn't the same. After a couple of years of working part-time, a full time key holder position opened up in my store and I took the position because I was almost working full-time hours anyway so I thought I might as well get the benefits of it. I held that position for over a year when an entry level management position opened up and I moved into it because it really wasn't much different than what I already was doing and I would get more pay. The extra second income was nice for awhile. We were able to take some very nice vacations and I could spoil my kids with gifts and buy myself any little trinket my heart desired, but I started to realize that the only time I was ever truly happy was when we were on vacation. The other 48 weeks of the year I was miserable. Because I live an hour away from my job, I was away from home 50 hours a week. My beautiful home that my husband and I worked so hard to build, fell apart, my garden went to weed, and my crafting time was almost non-existent. My days off were spent just trying to do the basics: laundry and dishes….forget about deep cleaning or repairs of any sort. I lost most of my friends, because I never had any time to spend with them. I stopped virtually all my church activities with the exception of worship team and my card ministry. And worst of all, my husband and I, on average, only saw each other twice a week. Life ceased to be enjoyable and just became this endless circus of work, sleep, work, sleep, work, sleep, which led me to question 'Is it worth it?'. And after almost a year of asking myself this question I finally came to the conclusion that it wasn't worth it, and I quit my job.
Now you would assume, most people would think that I was crazy to quit a full time job with great benefits in this economy. But you know what? Everyone that I told was genuinely happy for me and they all said that they could see how stressed out I was. It was a real affirmation for me that I had made the right decision. That, and the total peace and elation I felt when walking out those doors for the very last time. For years I felt I was suffocating, and for the first time in a long time, I felt I could breathe again. I felt so free. So happy.
By now your probably all wondering, "What are you going to do now?" The answer is I DON'T KNOW! Initially, when I first put in my two week notice, I immediately applied for two part-time jobs. I was called for an interview for both of them, and ended up not taking neither because either the hours weren't right or I didn't care for the job duties. An old friend of mine stopped into my store during this time and I told her I had put in my notice, and had a couple of other job offers out there, and she looked at me and said 'You know Amy, it's o.k. to take some time off. Don't feel you have to rush into another job right away. And, there's a lot to be said of retirement too!'. And my husband about this time said to me 'Maybe it's time to just be a wife again'. Both conversations really seemed to just confirm for me that it was time, for now, to just 'be at home'.
My last day of work was Black Saturday. Since then, I've been busy playing catch-up on the holidays by finishing up on my Christmas Card Challenge, decorating my home for Christmas, deep cleaning my house from top to bottom (Ugh! What a mess!), baking cookies, and spending time with my family. Everyone keeps asking me if I'm bored yet, and I usually reply, "Not now. I'm too busy with Christmas stuff. Ask me during January, February, or March." But I don't think I will get bored. I've always been the type of person who could occupy herself with hobbies, and if I tire of that, I jump in my car and go somewhere. Before I worked, I participated in women's bible studies, and attended paper crafting and quilt groups. But I had to quit all my support groups when I worked full time.
So where do I go from here? Well, I still dream of traveling. My husband said that until our last child is done with school we won't be able to take any trips for awhile, unless they are shorter and closer-to-home. I have to admit, that does depress me. But I can be patient and wait. In the mean time I will dream of all the beautiful places on this earth I want to see through pictures and tales on travel blogs and websites, and perhaps, start planning on our next trip.
For those of you who have been faithful readers since the beginning, you have probably noticed how my blog has really changed over the years. I started this blog in 2008 to help promote my home paper crafting business. But over the years as I've grown and my interests have changed, it has evolved into so much more. Instead of just paper crafting, I now write about anything that interests and sparks creativity in me, including fashion and travel. I have made a lot more friends in the blogging community by including these two topics and I have found that I really enjoy writing and look forward to creating new posts every week. I'd love to see my blog grow more and perhaps even generate some income, so I'm looking into that possibility at the moment.
In the meantime, I keep my eye on the want ads just in case anything pops up that I might be interested in doing. But it would have to be the 'perfect' job with the 'perfect' hours to get me back into the work force again. Life is too short to never be able to see your husband everyday, to not have friends, to not be able to do activities you really want to do. I don't have many healthy, mobile years left on this earth, and I want to treasure every minute of it.
And finally, I do want to say that I'm thankful to have the luxury to be able to make the decision to quit my job. I do realize that there are many people in this world who are stuck in the rat race and can't just quit due to family and financial obligations. I understand, and I sympathize. I know it's hard to keep going. I know, because I did it myself for years. All I can say to you is, don't stop dreaming, don't stop looking, and if you make just one goal or resolution this year, let it be that you will keep open to the possibility of a lifestyle change. I know I have. And I don't regret it. Not one bit.
Have a great day! Amy