"Do you have patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?”
- Lao Tzu
While I'm laid off and looking for my next great new job, I'm also trying to live the fullest life I can at this time and in this space. We have to make the best of any situation we are given. "Receive what you have been given."
Perhaps I've been given this (hopefully brief) respite from work for a reason. No matter the reason, though, each day must be lived to the fullest, being fully present to every moment, every breath. It's pointless to squander today by worrying about tomorrow. We only have this moment, right now. Be prepared always, but don't waste time in pointless worrying. It doesn't change anything and it only discolors the beauty and wonder of now.
In making the most of the situation, I start each morning with a walk. After years of sitting nearly immobile at a desk for long days (I used to tell my boss that I felt like a veal calf, locked in a pen), it's wonderful to get out and move each morning, drinking in the cool morning air, feeling the light breeze that is nearly a constant presence here at the beach. I listen to the birds chirping and watch the squirrels skitter up trees as I approach. I find myself smiling as I walk, enjoying every sensation, feeling the rhythm of the day as it opens up. A beautiful way to start each day.
I spend more time in the garden, too. I've cleaned up the winter debris, trimmed and fed the plants. I listen for the whirrrrrr of the hummingbirds as they visit the garden. I pull green worms off the sweetpeas ... cut white and red roses for bouquets to enjoy inside my home. Sweetpeas are my favorite flower: deliciously fragrant, frilly, feminine, colorful. I keep a little vase of them on the kitchen counter so I can stick my nose in them at any time. aaaaaah ...!
I'm also enjoying the luxury of time to call or meet up with friends. And having time to read articles online that I would've normally skimmed over. And doing some detailed cleaning that I've had to put off for so long. I love a clean, sparkling house! (When did the baseboards get so icky? Looks like I'll be painting trim, too.)
One thing that I've never had time to do was cook. As a single mom, I always worked long hours to support my daughter and I, so I didn't have time to plan, shop and prepare meals. After she grew up, I still worked long hours; plus there's a very low ROI to plan, shop and prepare a meal for one person. Hours of prep and clean-up for a meal consumed in 15 minutes. Whenever I'd buy fresh produce, I'd use some in a recipe, then the rest would go bad before I had time to prepare another meal using those ingredients. Such a waste. It's been nice to be home and to actually use up all the celery, all the onions, all the apples and oranges and cucumbers and everything else that used to spoil. I made soup for the first in my life recently. I felt so accomplished!
I call all these pleasures "Unemployment Benefits," things that I wouldn't normally have time to indulge in while working long days. If I knew that I would be starting a new job, say, on June 1, I would be thoroughly enjoying this time of being unemployed. There would be no nagging voice in the back of my mind harping at me constantly to focus on the job search to the exclusion of anything else. I could sit outside in the sun, guilt-free, relaxed, basking in the beautiful weather, the cool ocean breeze, listening to the birds, smiling at the hummingbirds' whirrrrrr, loving the scents of all the flowers.
I'd love to be working, but while I'm not, I'll live the fullest life I can and enjoy my unemployment benefits of beautiful days and simple times.