A. and I had a conversation over dinner the other day about adjusting to life’s changes. She’s currently between jobs and she might be, as she says, “catching up on years of lost sleep”, but she’s not wasting time at all. She’s been brushing up on her skills by taking various online courses, and she’s also currently taking part in NaNoWriMo, writing a mystery novel. We’re both relatively comfortable financially at the moment where she can afford to take some time off and readjust to real life.
This got me thinking as well, because we both understand what it means not to have a job, and especially what it means to live paycheck to paycheck. So many things we’ve put off for one reason or another, whether it be financial or emotional or whatever. I always found this deeply depressing and intensely aggravating, to be honest. Since I was a kid I’d always wanted to be a writer, an artist, and a musician — not one or the other, but all three — but it was hard for me to focus on all of them. They all demand countless hours of practice, knowledge, and labor that a person already working full time may not have time for. This is precisely why it took me until my forties to become a self-published author, and to a lesser extent, why it took me until my forties to dedicate some daily practice time for my music playing. And why, alas, I have never had enough time to focus on art.
I’d said to her that I was both impressed and maybe a little jealous that she now had this time to catch up on all the things she hadn’t been able to do. I would absolutely love to be able to not think about Day Job stress and simply focus on learning the ins and outs of things I’d love to do. I would love to take art classes again — something I haven’t done since high school. I would love to learn how to record multi-track song demos in Spare Oom. I would also love to improve my writing without having to carve out whatever precious time I might have for it.
[Mind you, this is also why I am always angered by those who view the arts as frivolous and not worth federal funds or adequate payment for delivered goods. But that’s another post entirely.]
So what’s happening right now is that I’ve been doing some deep thinking about this. I’ve been contemplating changing up the Day Job for some time, as you already know, and with that change comes the adjustment of other things in my life. This is a perfect time for me to start making a stronger effort to include those ‘extracurricular activities’ in my daily life instead of keeping them at the level of wishful thinking.