Monday, July 11, 2016

How I'm Spending My Summer Vacation...

...or Why I Checked Out of the Nine to Five

I'm not sick.
I'm burned out.

For the first time in my adult life, I am not getting up and showing up for a job in the public sector.
I still arise bright and early and manage to put in a good, solid 8-10 hours of work at the house but when Friday rolls around, there won't be that steady, reliable paycheck. That will be one of the two things I miss. The other being the co-workers I have grown to love and care about. I will not miss the unbelievably stressful job I  had. Over the past couple of months I was diligent in getting myself to a point that I could afford to do this financially for a period of time. This break won't last forever. I know my to-do list will wind down; the garden will play out; I'll start to get stir crazy and be ready to jump back in the work force and begin contributing my tax dollars to society again. My husband, God bless him, is 100% supportive and I cannot express what it means to me.

June 30 was my last day of work at my public job. In a little less than two weeks, I can not believe the positive changes I have experienced. My smile has returned, I'm relaxed, happy and am sleeping very well. What makes this experience different than taking a two week vacation? Well, when you try to take a vacation and you have vendors calling you to tell you about problems and people ignore your "Out of Office" message on your email and text you directly; you are not achieving what a vacation is all about. Recharging your batteries. Returning refreshed and ready to get back at it.

When you live your life on this repeat cycle for years and your job becomes the main priority in your life; something has got to give. When you no longer can sleep and find yourself waking up at 2AM panicking about: whether you sent this or that email; reminded a vendor about this or that change for the umpteenth time; repeated the requirements to a department multiple times so they get carried out properly (even when the instructions were written up) or worry about if one of several departments will contact you to cuss, complain, and be downright nasty about things you have no control over; it's time to make a change.

At the end of the day, the only people who really care about you are your family and close friends and they are who you need to put first.

Why did it take me almost 53 years to put this into practice? It took having someone in my life who loved me enough to say, enough is enough. How did I arrive at this point in my life? For over 18 years I was a single Mom. I lived a lot of my life worrying. I worried about my job; was I doing enough and doing it perfectly (first child syndrome); feeling guilty for raising my kids in a divorced home; allowing myself to feel bad because I quit college to work in an industry that I loved and enjoyed going to everyday; and trying to please every single person in my life but me.

Well no more. I found myself missing all the joys in my life but especially quality time with my husband and family without work interruptions. Several months ago Andy and I had just had our drinks served at a long overdue dinner date when the phone started ringing. It was from one of my superiors and I knew I had to take that call. I expressed what I was doing in hopes it would shorten the call, but the phone call lasted a lot longer than it should have. Was the world going to come to an end? Was someone going to die? No, that conversation could have waited until the next day. I saw the expression on my husband's face. That was the turning point. I married my husband, not my job and I was going to implement a change.

I knew life would go on without me when I left my job, but I had someone I loved dearly who was not getting the best of me and deserved it.

I had lost that permanent smile on my face. People continually asked me, "why are you so happy?" For many years, in spite of all the above, I kept that smile because I felt appreciative of all the blessings in my life. Life isn't always easy. That's just the way it is. You deal with it and go on. Trust me, no matter how bad something is, someone is wishing they had your problems. So why the drastic change? I won't get into any details but I can confirm if a job in the future requires me to carry a cell phone so anyone can have access to my life, any time it's convenient for them, via phone, text or email, it won't happen.

But Denise, that is the way of the world! This is how business is done nowadays. Maybe, but not in my world. Not my circus, not my monkeys. I have finally learned to set boundaries.

I can eliminate enough of life's trappings to make whatever adjustment I need to if it came down to it. Believe it or not, at one time we all survived without cell phones, hundreds of tv channels and eating out every night of the week. I'll waver on the internet, but I'd go to the library and use a computer with free internet there if I had to.  

So what I have been up to? Being the person I am, I have a long list of things I want to achieve daily. Regardless of who you are or what you have, you should always strive to make good use of the time you are blessed with. I have been enjoying the simple things in life and WOW, what a difference! Andy reminds me every day to not overdo it. I am trying to pace myself better.

Each morning, I drink my coffee and then I get out in the garden and pick vegetables to can or eat. I have restocked the pantry with 27 quarts of green beans, cucumber relish and raspberry jam, peach jam and raspberry jelly so far. I have frozen peaches, 17 lbs. of red raspberries, about 9 lbs. of black berries and 3-1/2 gallons of cherries. These will be used for an assortment of goodies. I have sliced squash freezing and ready to pack tomorrow for this winter when the urge for a pan of fried squash comes along. I have dehydrated onions for soups, stews and whatever else we want to put them in. We have enjoyed cucumbers and onions, squash and zucchini casseroles and started 10 gallons of blackberry wine. Red raspberry and cherry wine are next on the agenda. The Roma tomatoes are starting to turn red and I can't wait to can them; make some 'mater sandwiches and fried green tomatoes from the Better Boys. The cherry tomatoes are insane and are so delicious this year! My living room has been painted...even the trim.

The library logo mural was designed by yours truly.
 I spent the day with two of my grandkids, Alli and Aydan. We had so much fun! They are now proud library card carriers. We played nine holes of frisbee golf; went to Reeves on the Square to eat ice cream; played Scrabble and watched movies. How great is that??? I am hoping we will get to do this weekly.

The frisbee golf course was a blast! We only lost one frisbee
and had one end up in the lake just once.
Next month we will make the 3900+ mile trek to Alaska to visit my sister Dawn and her husband. I can't wait!! During our layover in Seattle, we will be meeting up with a former co-worker and taking in a few sights. This is an experience I look forward to sharing with my husband.

Blair and Kevin are building a house and I will be free to assist them in anyway they need. Wow. Being able to HELP your family and not have to feel guilty about taking the time off to do so.

Most importantly I am getting to enjoy being a housewife, something I've never experienced before. Did I just say that? Happy wife, happy life indeed!

Yesterday I baked a ham. Today I am cooking 3 lbs. of mixed beans with the ham bone (and plenty of meat) to eat or freeze and enjoy later. Hopefully I can do this without either of us gaining any weight back. Every morning I put on NO MAKEUP, a pair of shorts, t-shirt and flip flops. I keep the TV off (with the exception of catching up on the news) and turn up my favorite SiriusXM channel and get things done.

I might even get my love of writing back so I can enjoy posting on Man, That Stuff is Good again.
My cup runneth over.

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