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It’s a funny thing, life.
Just when you think you’ve got it all worked out, there’s often a great big reminder that actually, no, we don’t.
I was made redundant from my job today, so it seems like a very appropriate day to talk about work – only I’ll be writing from a completely different perspective than when I read Notes From A Blue Bike a few weeks ago. A perspective that changed in a few moments, with a few words spoken by my boss who has the responsibility of delivering the news.
I’ve run the gamut of definitions when it comes to work – I’ve volunteered, worked full-time/part-time/shift work, studied whilst working, worked before I had kids and as a parent, worked as a full-time mum and in the workforce as a single parent. Now, for the first time, I find myself unemployed.
Funnily enough, I actually asked for this.
Not in the sense that I asked to be made redundant, or wished that I wold lose my job, but last year, I awakened to the true desire of my heart to work more at home as a wife (to-be) and mum, more than in the workplace, but felt that I wasn’t in a position to be able to make that happen.
In the 3 years and 2 months I worked in my job, my working hours ranged from full-time, to 4 days a week, back to full-time, until I finally settled on working 3 days a week as the best balance for our family.
It took constant assessing, experimenting, give and take and just being intentional to find my rhythm – not just when it came to work, but to life in general, because paid employment is just one aspect of work in our lives.
2013 presented many learning opportunities for me to work out what does and doesn’t work in my life, in our family, and I had a rude awakening as to just how much I struggled with saying ‘no’, for fear of disappointing people – and the impact that had on all of us. I had to eventually say ‘no’ to some things that I should never have said ‘yes’ to, and it was a painful experience.
But they were some of the best, most enlightening experiences I have ever had. They were lessons in saying brave yes-es and strong nos, and working out what it takes to keep the rhythms of life more gentle than discordant.
They helped me define what work – paid or unpaid – is important, and what isn’t. And you know what?
Most of it isn’t.
Working to provide an income is important. Working to please other people isn’t.
Working to give my family what they need is important. Working to get more stuff that they want isn’t.
Checking Facebook/ Instagram/ Pinterest/e-mail a hundred times a day on my iPhone isn’t important. Checking in with my kids and my love every day is.
Cooking basic, clean, healthy food for my family is important. Stewing over any number of things that I *could* worry about isn’t.
Boundaries are important. Constantly wanting more isn’t.
Enough is an ongoing, constant evaluation, when it comes to working. Sometimes the balance requires less effort and more intention, sometimes it’s simply knuckling down to just do what needs doing right then and there. Sometimes it’s more giving and less taking, and vice versa.
My working life looks very different right now, and I don’t know what enough will be. I love Kat Lee’s personal motto, ‘Do as little as possible, as well as possible’.
Put boundaries in place.
And when you work out what the minimum is that is required for your life, do it to the best of your ability.
Work out what the essentials are for you to live a truly authentic life, and live them well. With passion and joy.
Get rid of everything else – stuff, the yes-es that should have been nos, worry and fear, expectations.
This is how we find our definition of enough.
I have no idea what makes up enough for me right now. And that’s ok. It an ongoing process for life, sometimes requiring more focus than at other times. I do know quiet, contemplative time is needed, and that I need to find it amidst the everyday of my life (that generally involves *a lot* of noise).
I also know that right now requires coffee, books, knitting and conversations – for now, that is part of my work. That is a big part of enough.
There will also be walking, and baking (gluten-free) bread, and doing laundry. And the dishes. And cleaning the toilet.
And it will be enough.