The Man’s Shed

It is nudging on two months since the man and I decided that within two years, the way we lived our lives would be different: ergo less work, more balance.* At the time, we had some abstract ideas about what we thought the new life might contain, but nothing was set in concrete. So has anything happened or has it been a case of empty words? Actually, I should say has anything further happened, as a month ago I chatted about the decisions and changes to that point.** Anyway, I am pleased to report that yes, there has been more movement in the right direction.

The biggest thing to occur since beginning this exercise has been an increased awareness of what we want.  OK, I can hear you saying, what exactly does she mean by that? The answer is that by declaring via  the blogosphere that we wanted more balance, we now find that we are defaulting to choices that do fit in with this goal.

We are deliberately slowing down to enjoy the moment more. We are recognising what makes us happy. Some changes are so tiny, they could be considered irrelevant, but believe me, they do make a positive difference to feelings of wellbeing. For me, it is as simple as using a nice tablecloth and having flowers on the table. This was the stuff of special occasions in the past, but not anymore, it is for everyday now. The Danes with their concept of hygge would understand and approve, I think.***

The man and I are making better use of our leisure time. Bike riding is on the agenda again – nothing too big to date, but using the bikes nonetheless.**** The cars are being used less and less, instead we are choosing foot power for errands close to home. And we are walking the prettiest routes, not the quickest!   I am making time for my duolingo French lessons, which is bonne.

Pottering around in the garden is giving us a lot of pleasure. We are in the throes of planting vegetables and fruit trees to complement the beds and trees already there.There is something primal and therapeutic to be derived from growing flowers or food for your own table and others.

We are catching up with friends. I, in particular, had become quite a hermit outside of work and would see few people, bar family, at the weekend. I should say in my defence that my job entails working with people all day, so by the weekend I often relished time by myself. However, this was a huge indicator that my life was out of whack and I knew it. Friends are priceless…so pleased to be back in touch!

The decluttering process is continuing. I have sorted out the books – they had been in boxes since we moved in December last year.They have been divided into a ‘to keep’ pile and another to give away. So easy. Why did I procrastinate over it?

My secondment at work finishes at the end of September and I return to my home library. I have made a choice not to seek any promotions; one of which was the management role at this site. I now have a new boss who has been in libraries years less than I have! I am embarrassed to admit that the old, ambitious me was slightly put out by this turn of events – this was not what I anticipated happening.  Silly of me, right? However, I’ve put my adult hat on and firmly reminded myself that climbing off the hamster wheel is what I need to do to achieve my goal of a better work/life balance.***** So all is as it should be. Sweet.

The boat is on track to go on the market mid September**. This is a wee bit weather dependent as there is some painting to be done on the outside, so we are hoping that the rain gods will behave themselves in the next few weeks. Once sold, our goal of reducing hours in paid work is a go. Fingers crossed, it sells quickly.

In my first post*,  I mentioned that the man wanted a shed. I am pleased to report that this too has been achieved. If you remember, I said he had done work for Opus Libero (http://www.opuslibero.co.nz). In one of life’s serendipitous moments, the owner of this company rang the man with the news that there was a shed near him up for lease, the boat builder owner having decided to retire. If the man took it on, Opus Libero had work for him. Of course, it was a yes. The man is ecstatic: he has a shed, some bread and butter work and an opportunity to do other jobs for his own clients.

The last thing that has happened is that I am back on track with pursuing my passion. It has the potential to become my income, but, actually, I don’t care whether it does or doesn’t, it feeds my soul and that is enough.

Returning to work next week after a holiday will alter things again. It  has been easy to live a better work life balance when you don’t have to factor in a 40 hour working week.  Our break has confirmed how we want to live: less paid work, more life balance. We remain committed to achieving this lofty goal within a two year period. Two months in, we are on the way. How good is that?

* In ‘Direction rethink’

** In ‘Round up’

*** In ‘Simply present’

**** In ‘Balancing Act’

***** In ‘Work out’