taking half in the hopes of having more

Still a Work in Progress

Nearly a year has passed since I started working less in the hopes of “halfing more”.  Have I obtained everything from this arrangment that I hoped to?  No, I haven’t.  I have worked more than I expected, exercised less than I hoped for, and did less “home schooling” than I planned.  My eating habits greatly improved (though as I write this, there is an empty DQ Blizzard cup in front of me).  I have pinched pennies and worried about finances.  All that being said, I do not regret the decision.  Above all, I have been far less stressed.  For the first time in my 8 year career, I remember coming home from a vacation on a Sunday and NOT experiencing that dreadful pit in my stomach of regret, worry, and stress about how to “make up” my time spent on vacation.  The lack of that feeling is what made that my first REAL vacation in my career.  I also remember being able to attend my son’s field trip to a farm, again thinking to myself how wonderful it was that I could have this experience with him and not have it tainted by guilt or worry about “making up” time for work. 

For this coming year, I hope to do a better job of achieving the desired balance I hoped for.  More time being active, more meaningful time with my son, and less time working.  Fingers crossed.

“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” – Dalai Lama XIV

Life has not been what I planned or hoped for.  Death of a parent, divorce, single parenthood, a demanding career, and virtually no support system.  Countless hours have been spent thinking that if I just had more money, then I could somehow bring balance to my life.  Always knowing that my job would not graciously provide me with the additional income that I thought would provide me with a magic fix, I eventually came to the conclusion that maybe I could have more if I had less – more balance, more health, more happiness if I had less work and less money.

I elected to choose half.  Half the work (actually a little more than half) and half the pay (actually a little less than half).

As the day approaches when this “new life” begins, I am feeling nervous and fearful.  In a down economy, I have asked to cut my salary in half.  Have I made the right calculations?  Will I be able to adjust my lifestyle accordingly?  Will I be able to pay all my bills?  I’m fairly certain that I’ve done all the math correctly, but I know that until I experience it, I will not truly understand it.

In the meantime, I must hold on to the belief that not getting what I wanted out of life may just be my stroke of luck.

Thank you for joining me as I chronicle my journey in the hopes that by “halfing” less, I may “halfmore”.

“Be moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance.” – Epicurus

Moderation.  Balance.  That is the goal.  Currently, half of my day revolves around my career — from waking up and getting ready to the moment I walk back in the door.  Assuming I get 8 hours of sleep, and that my son goes to bed at a reasonable time, that leaves me with about 2 hours to myself, and maybe 1 hour of free time with my son.  Certainly, that is not balance.  Life is short and without guarantees.  It is only within the last year or so that I have realized that only you can feed your soul, and nobody will do it for you.  To taste the joys of life in abundance is what I NEED.

My vision entails: 4-5 hours per day on work; 2 hours per day on physical fitness; 3-4 hours per day on “home schooling”, and the rest of the day dealing with errands, meal preparation, leisurely activities, home maintenance, etc.  That looks far more like balance to me.

I’ve once commented that well paying jobs or careers usually have a significant negative component for which the higher salary serves to offset.  That has certainly been my experience.  Why then such concern or fear to be moderate?