Prior to walking away from corporate life at the end of February, there were countless people who asked me what I was going to do to fill my days. My answers ranged from, “not this,” to “sleep in,” to “I’ll make it up as I go along.” Those responses seemed to make many uneasy. What is it about not having anything specific to do for a while that makes people nervous?
The first few weeks after work were a breeze. With corporate life in the rearview mirror, we went to Palm Springs. Now there’s a good place to begin to unwind 28 years of full-time work. Shortly after that trip, I set out to Argentina for two weeks with my friend Tanya, in large part to find an apartment that will act as a haven from the upcoming Canadian winter.
It’s been five months since I walked out of the tower and now the most common question is, “do you miss working?” That answer is easy: “It is much less about the work I miss and more about the people I miss.”
I feel no less vital as a person. So far my mind hasn’t gone to mush. You see, I don’t feel that any job I’ve ever had defined me. I think for so many, particularly those who can afford to stop working, their jobs give them purpose — and the thought of not having that purpose is daunting.
My mindset from early in my career was work to live not live to work. Yes, a salary pays the bills, but I’d be lying if I said I was chomping at the bit to get to the office each day. I enjoyed what I did, but I always enjoyed the people I did it with more and so far I’m staying socially connected. If the time comes when I miss ‘the work,’ I’ll jump back in.
In the meantime, I’m keeping busy — studying Spanish — the occasional coffee and lunch with friends — grocery shopping and running other errands in the middle of the day — playing tennis. Oh, and I have a part-time “job.”
It pays me for doing something I enjoy and used to do free. Three or four times a week I go for an hour run with a dog, or two, and one time with three. It clears the mind and given the summer we’ve had, I’m sporting the best tan of my life (yes, I do use sunscreen!)
I work for an outfit called Dog Gone Running. They match people who love to run with people who want to have their dogs run, not walked. Does it pay the bills? Hardly! Remember, I’m working roughly three to four hours a week.
What I make running dogs keeps me flush in coffee. The funny thing is that I likely made more going down to Starbuck when I was in the tower than I make in week of running dogs. Clearly, I’m not doing it for the money, but somehow the coffee tastes better now.
And this morning, while I’m enjoying my morning coffee, what I’ve come to realize is that Fridays don’t seem to serve up the same sense of elation. Sundays are less filled with any angst of what the next five days might bring, and Mondays are the same as any other day – nothing to dread.
That’s a great feeling.