Life as I know it is my present state of being. I am unemployed, financially broke and experienced major changes to my lifestyle in order to deal with the have-nots of the wants vs. the needs. Although the finances bring conflict and uncertainty, life as I know it has also brought time.
Time has enabled me to pursue my hobbies which cultivate and encourage my well-being. The hobbies expand as I explore new ideas but for now, the following are my areas of concentration: writing, piano, knitting, journaling, volunteering, and going to museums.
When life revolves around the nine to five work grind, my hobbies suffer because time is spent commuting, working, preparing lunches and dinners and living. Hobbies are regulated to an hour before going to bed and weekends after running errands and cleaning.
Work is to make money, hobbies are to flourish and nourish the artist within. My unemployment has allowed the hobbies to consume my days and lullaby me to sleep at night knowing that I will return to them the next day.
My hobbies do not pay the rent or cover the monthly utilities. Work, when I had it, did. I send out resumes on a daily basis but the enthusiasm for finding my dream job has long evaporated. I have had those dream jobs and barely survived the physical and emotional tolls inflicted on my soul.
The truth is, even though I know eventually an interview will give way to steady employment, the thought of losing the time spent with my hobbies is depressing. My hobbies are not moneymaking prospects for if they were, then the joy of empowerment and vindication would evaporate. The hobbies would transcend from a place of calm and comfort to the realm of capitalism, greed and survival. No. My hobbies will remain hobbies.
In the meantime, the search for employment continues reluctantly. The return to the “office” is dreaded for multi-tasking paper pushing duties numbs the brain. The “team playing” co-workers are a charade because teams (and salaries) do not function cohesively but rather as individuals competing for raises, ruthless in their office gossip and “passing the buck” on workload and responsibility.
Fluorescent lighting used in most offices does not help to calm this dysfunctional environment. The ghastly stark green tinged tones are reminiscent of the lighting in science labs where rats run through complicated mazes in search of a cheese reward.
At the office, while fluorescent lighting beams on them, workers run through mazes of cloth-covered cubicles. These workers do not seek the cheese. They seek answers from the human resource rep whose email citing corporate changes in bonus’ and reduce salaries has led to workplace pandemonium! Chaos has spread! Who will lead them back to the nine to five grind?
The answer- “Who Moved My Cheese?”, piped over the office intercom by way of “Books on Tape”. It may be the only way to pacify the office rat race workers but not the lab rats, they’re happy with the cheese.
With all this drama taking place seven hours a day, possibly five or more days a week, in just about any office setting, non-profit or academia, it’s not surprising that by the end of a workday, workers are exhausted, anxious and frustrated with depleted mojos. Moreover, to think they are up the next morning ready to repeat the same drama-different day routine.
I will continue to send out resumes and pray for a job to pay the bills. I will also continue to bask in the extra time I have with my hobbies and not allow them to end up in the drawer of forgotten items when a job breaks through.