“‘…Look at yourself, my dear. You look ill; you are ill. I’m told you’ve been spending your weekends in bed.’ I could not deny it. Gone were the days when I had partied in North London after a school day. Now I would crawl home on Friday evening and fall into bed, exhausted by the demands of the week. The head let the point sink in and continued: ‘This is no good for you. You’re still a young woman. You are – how old are you? – thirty-six? That’s nothing at all, believe me. You shouldn’t be struggling like this, with no life at all outside of school. You know that this isn’t right.’” -Karen Armstrong, The Spiral Staircase
My, my, how this passage resonated with me upon reading it this morning during my prolonged commute due to weather conditions.. I have devoured Armstrong’s comparative religion writings in the past, now I empathize with her frustration as someone dealing with a chronic illness (long undiagnosed epilepsy, in her case).
Part of me enjoys the socialization and teamwork that can be found at a job, even the one I held for a year and a half, even the one that ran me ragged last year. As a trade-off, I cannot focus on reflective writing or necessary exercise. Less than two weeks back and sleeping away the weekend is looking mighty fine right now (minus the Super Bowl, of course). There are writing deadlines next week; there are taxes to be figured out; and there is a caucus to attend. But I also require sleep…and at times, a lot of it.
Part of me wants to make my living writing. I don’t have much going on that I’m getting paid for right now, but by focusing on my writing, I also have time for exercising, cooking, and reading. Not to mention that I struggle with seasonal affective disorder and prefer not to be “at work” during the winter holiday season. It just wears me out.
I’ve been contemplating the future. If I could market myself as an independent contractor specializing in short-term accounting projects such as transitions between systems or periods of high turnover, yet not have to work year-round, that would be ideal. It would still leave the door open for permanent employment should we be faced with a need for health insurance, but allow me some freedom. I’m fortunate to make this choice, I know that.
I need to live a good life. Thirty-one going on thirty-two is nothing. Nothing at all.