I enjoy my life. I particularly enjoy the pace of my life. For the past few years it has been a slow pace compared to most of my peers and certainly much slower than it is for the majority of my son's generation.
This morning I was talking about the pace of life with a friend who is struggling to free herself from the ever intensifying pressure of our society to be engaged in something "educationally and/or socially significant" every moment of every day.
She is at an age where getting more education is not going to be that useful to her, as her chances of being hired in a new field of endeavor and using a new degree are slim to none. Yet the pressure to over-educate herself and to continue to climb the promotional ladder is severe. She all ready has a high stress job that she is struggling to continue doing as her age and physical health issues catch up with her in a position where she is surrounded by younger folk. Her struggle to decide what she should to to handle the job stress, while not picking up more stress by deliberately ending up unemployed for a period of time, is huge. Although it has been awhile now, I can still relate to that type of confusion.
As I see how much pressure most of my friends are under to be "useful" every second of their lives, I am grateful I was forced out of the job market for health reasons quite some time ago.
I am not embarrassed if I have to admit I spent an hour in the middle of the day reading a book that has no value outside of my own enjoyment of it. I am happy to take on the occasional volunteer job, jobs of my own choosing and for as long or short a time period as I want to handle. I am no longer embarrassed at my lack of formal education in certain realms that affect our lives. It is lovely to be able to understand what my husband's theological pals are discussing without the pressure of having to join in the conversation if I don't want to. I have no formal degree to defend. I don't have to prove myself to anyone. It doesn't matter to me what anyone else thinks of me or my lifestyle or my circumstances. If I am not taken seriously because I am seen as being too idle, too poor, too old, too fat, too stupid,well then such is life. I can't think of anyone whose respect is so necessary to my life that I need to present a particular image to them. The need to protect myself, to boast about my every busy moment, to care about the opinions of others who don't have a right to judge my life, is all over.
As I listen to various friends and relatives relate their busy schedules to me, I revel in the freedom to set my own schedule and my own pace each day. At this point in my life I am beholden to no one to be anyone in particular, to do any sort of activity that will give me bragging rights in the wonderful world of, "Look everyone, see how busy and important I am!"
Aaaaaah, it feels good........