That’s it- I’ve finally nailed it- my life without a full time job has lacked the basic structure for a normal day and I’ve been floundering for 10 years! I knew I always hated getting up at Spotrick’s late hour instead of my natural early time, but it’s dawned on me that it’s more than that- I need to start the day when I AM comfortable and get on with things in my own time even though I have no 8.30 deadline for getting to work. I’m SRSLY gonna try to do what I used to do: get up early, go straight out in the garden, potter about in the cooler air, get the cups of tea at 7.45, wake up Spotrick, eat brekky and start some work by 9am. I’ll add some more to this, but since it dawned on me, I thought I’d better blog it or I’d forget or leave it forever…
Now to add a bit (it’s the 26th Feb now).
I’ve decided that my life particularly lacks structure as there has never been anything like a marriage and kids to keep me focused even when I might have felt like neglecting myself. Most women I know centre their lives primarily around their kids, even if they have high-powered jobs- they’ll usually be the ones in the household to get up in the night if a kid starts throwing up, or to organise a taxi to get them picked up from violin lessons after school. These women have the “pull” of the kids plus the obligations to fulfill their job roles to allow them to go with the flow each day, even if they don’t feel like getting up and facing the world. I used to have my job (when I was fulltime for many years), and I was able to keep getting up and going even when I felt horribly depressed. I also achieved a good deal at work, even in an international context.
When I left this work and tried to retrain in the computer industry there was a period of time when each day was so frantic that I could hardly remember what day of the week it was. Gradually the stresses of being alone in a role in a strange organisation got to me and I gave up working in that industry. That’s when the lack of structure probably hit me, but I didn’t notice at the time.
I started to get contract work which meant working part time, irregular days and hours. It became harder to get up in the morning, harder to have my clothes ironed and the cats all fed and cleaned up before I headed out for appointments. My old routine of getting up early and doing 30- 60mins pottering in the garden before breakfast gradually ran down and I started to neglect to yard and the cats’ health. Unconsciously I probably expected that Spotrick would pick up the slack, but of course he didn’t because it had never been his “thing”.
Other friends drifted away as I wasn’t at the same work place and new friends didn’t visit because we lived a long way from the city. I tried to stay in touch by ringing people and going to visit them, but the effort became too much. I started to get less work and when contracts finished it was hard to summon up courage to seek more.
I knew other friends were also depressed, but they seemed to stick to the routine of work and carting kids to school through thick and thin. Sometimes I noticed they were very ineffective at work, spending large amounts of time “mucking about”, gossiping and going for coffee. But they kept up their responsibilities to their families- I don’t know how well, of course!
I sank really when I started getting rejected at job interviews, being told I was not “intelligent enough” or “not suitable for our team” etc., all of which I felt was unfounded and unfair- why tell me such derogatory things? I was especially discouraged (and furious) when I was asked to apply for a number of good positions and always came “second” to a youngster with virtually no experience, but either a previous career in nursing or a PhD (in anything at all). My self esteem fell and fell and I started to spend a lot of time alone at home not doing much. The house and garden were neglected (and still are), the cats became neglected (not having their vaccinations and dental work) and the ones with chronic health conditions (two of them) just deteriorated to the extent they made me cry daily. Having a completely inadequate income didn’t help either- Mr Visacard is making a mint out of me!
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, since I’ve realised this structure business is probably the key to fixing up my life, I have started to get into more of a routine each day, although I’m not good at it yet. However, having a little work to do, I am distributing it across the days and committing to doing some regularly, structuring other activities around it. When daylight saving ends, there might be a bit more sunshine in the mornings for me to get up earlier and do some gardening, but at the moment I don’t naturally wake until about 7.15 to 7.30.
However, I’ve made a start, I feel a little better and I’m ready to attack the rest of the year. Here’s to a bit of structure!