with Mir Kamin
I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.
To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/
The harsh realities of my life right now are… less than ideal. I am still struggling with a continuing kid health crisis on the home front, and the havoc that’s wreaking on my career. Things get better, I start trying to get back to working more, then things get worse and I work even less, etc. [Pro tip: I find that I simply cannot recommend chronic illness as a "growing experience." I'd rather we have a little less personal growth and a little more feeling like life is manageable, thanks.]
Professionally, I am scaling back on everything (again!) and begging for mercy from my clients (again!) and feeling very much like a failure because I can’t seem to find my equilibrium. Personally, i am worried sick (literally, though my health issues are paltry compared to what my kid is facing), exhausted, and feeling like a terrible mother because I can’t fix this. And yes, logically, I know it’s not for me to fix. Emotionally—particularly when, say, my child is crying “FIX IT!”—I feel like… a failure. (Do you see a pattern emerging, here?)
So rather than focusing on the (rotten) reality, I thought a bit of fantasy would be more fun.
Let’s play the “what if you won the lottery” game!
I don’t really care what you would buy or the trips you would take or whatever. I don’t care how you’d spend the money; that’s not the point. To me, the question is this: If money was no object, would you still work?
This is an endlessly fascinating subject to me, because when I talk about this with people (don’t ask me how often I talk about this with folks; it seems to come up now and again, enough that I’ve had more than one conversation about it with multiple folks), there’s always someone who says, “Oh, I could never stop working. I’d be bored.”
That response always makes me wonder if the respondent needs more hobbies.
To me, it’s not a binary state, i.e., you work or you sit around and stare at the walls. It’s not even you work or you do absolutely nothing of value. While I love my work, I also love… reading. Petting my dog. Going for walks. Swimming. Sleeping in. Spending time with my children. I always laugh when someone says they could never stop working even if they didn’t need the money. Me? I could stop working. Not a problem, thanks. Maybe that means I’m lazy, but I prefer to believe it means 1) I need a vacation and 2) I have a lot of other interests. Heh.
Would I stop writing? Of course not. I love writing. But would I stop doing it for money? Maybe. Maybe I’d work on a novel instead of taking freelance gigs.
Right now, if money was no object, I think I would tend to my children’s needs, find a way to tend to my own needs (more sleep, less stress), and I would turn my back on work until the current crisis passes. As it is, my income is down quite a bit. But I can’t afford to just stop working, so I continue sort of limping along even on the days when I’ve had two hours of sleep and four doctors’ appointments to get the patient to.
So would I stop working if I won the lottery? In a heartbeat. I love what I do, yes. And my life is… overfull, shall we say, right now. But the bottom line is yes.
Are you one of those “Oh no, I could never give it up” kinds of people? If so, do we “heck yes I’d quit” folks sound lazy to you? I’m curious, as I’m either alone on this or I’m truly a slacker.
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