It’s been two weeks into my new lifestyle. I have broken off the shackles of working under the English education system and have a whole new found freedom and luxury of six hours a day all to myself whilst the 8 year old is at school. I have this time to write my novel and paint pictures, go for long walks, and do all the things I love (and have wanted to focus more on) before I skip down to school and collect him, work for an hour at my newly set up Homework Club and then it’s home for a relaxed evening with the boy, dinner, games and reading. Right?
So far I have written once in two weeks (not counting the last blog post and the co-written article which came from that published in the TES about leaving teaching). So my novel hasn’t progressed anywhere near to where it should have. I haven’t painted a single picture or sketched a single sketch. (Though I have painted two and a half walls of my lounge – the other one and a half is still waiting to be done.) I have had five small walks and one bigger one (though that knackered my bad knee out a bit too much so still not ready for that).
So what have I done in two weeks? Sat around watching daytime TV? Become a lady that lunches? Well not quite. The work for Homework Club hasn’t been the avalanche, or even waterfall, of clambering kids (parents) I hoped for once the flyers finally went out at the start of this week. More of a dripping tap effect thus far. So at the moment I’m not actually working and real panic has started to set in about the financial viability of my future work plans. Paying for room hire means I’m in deficit finance wise right now, but I guess this is how all businesses start. Trouble is, I didn’t have the luxury of a start up loan and the mortgage is due in 14 days. Okay…so I’m not panicking, thing’s will pick up, right? Once word spreads. I’ll keep telling myself that. Meanwhile, tomorrow I start private tuition for two children (yes – Saturday mornings are now working mornings) and I have another two for a Thursday evening (sacrificing any chance of my free evening a week for socialising in favour of paying the bills). But that’s okay, because I wanted a change. I needed a change. I had to get out of the system because it was slowly eroding my soul and goodness knows I’d already been to the dark side in terms of my mental health and another scare due to work stress earlier this year only confirmed to me I needed to get out. This is all change I wanted. So why this week, (after a euphoric first week) do I feel so… low?
Well I guess it comes back to this idyllic stress-free lifestyle I envisaged for myself. So far it’s involved, as I say, not much of the things I gave up work to do! Instead it’s been: Lots of admin, housework, gardening, grocery shopping, painting and decorating, running an 8 year old round to various clubs, (which all started up again this week), and to THREE dental appointments and to the hairdressers, (school photo alert!), my physio for my dodgy knee, meeting prospective children for tuition, emailing, constant checking of finances (and fretting about it), and finally cramming in a flying visit to a couple of friends today (agreeing to make 3 loaves of ham sandwiches for one who’s having her children christened this weekend) who of course all think I’m now a lady of leisure and have time to meet up more. I don’t. It was lovely to see them, of course, but the thought of another morning out of doing anything for me (ie creative stuff) just has left me feeling as though those extra six hours I thought I’d have for me isn’t a reality which will happen. In fact I’m already beginning to wonder how I actually managed to fit work in at all before!
I think I’m also feeling a little low, simply because I am adjusting to a new lifestyle. Periods of change and adjustment inevitably come with the lows as well as the highs unfortunately. And I’m adjusting to a lifestyle whereby I’m not in quite such a rigid routine and although I deplore too much routine, I think I’m someone who actually needs it, because I’m not terribly self disciplined! I am also still finding it a bit weird not being part of something; the staff room banter, the chat and laughs and unpredictability of the kids. Hopefully once I start tutoring tomorrow and get to the Homework Club (even if only with a handful of children) I’ll start to feel more like myself again.
Living the dream? Well it doesn’t happen overnight. And I have to keep reminding myself that five years ago I went through a much bigger lifestyle change than this… and survived!
How about you? Have you had a big lifestyle change and how did you cope with the inevitable lows after the highs?