I’ve been on medical leave since June 2019 and before that I’d been on an extended sick leave. I kept stretching out my initial leave thinking that in a week or so I would be well enough to return to school. By the time I finally accepted that I wouldn’t be going back to work until September 2020, I had experienced conflicting feelings and multiple scenarios about my health and my unrealistic, even damaging, attachment to my job. I was in denial about my medical condition and the thought of not working for more than a year was unconscionable; my doctors set me straight.
Although I am now at peace with the decision to not go back to work this year, I am struggling with how to schedule my time in ways that are useful and enjoyable to me. I don’t want to let my job rule my life. I know that achieving a work-life balance is challenging and often a source of anxiety for many of us. That’s why I am figuring out ways to prioritize self-care in the form of leisurely activities and exercise now so I don’t have to figure it out from scratch later.
Furthermore, I am using the next few months to make headway into three major projects I am committed to accomplishing this year. But, I’m not going to lie…this is hard. I’ve been working since I was 15 and to all of a sudden have open blocks of time on my hand to organize as I see fit has been a challenge. Sometimes my day doesn’t start until after 10:00 am and it ends past midnight because I’m reading and writing or having a hard time falling asleep. How did I ever get up early before? And, how will I be able to get up early when I start working in September?
This is not an exercise for NOW. The fact is that I am making a significant shift in how I approach my personal and professional life that favors the personal going forward. I owe it to my well-being and to my family.
Cross posted to Two Writing Teachers Tuesday Slice of Life Challenge.
6 thoughts on “It’s Time for a Change”
You are making wise choices now even if this might not have been what you wanted or wished for. Not working requires you to not only replan your routines but also to rethink your identity, and this is always challenging. Sending many positive vibes your way as you take care of your health.
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Thanks, Terje. That is exactly the mindset I’m going for: rethinking my identity. Thank you for the good wishes.
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So much of what you’ve written describes my life at this moment. I’m in my first year of retirement and now find myself living the life of Riley rather than a life governed by the clock.
A year off for health care deserves leisure, deserves a slow start to each morning, has earned time to plan and heal.
I also feel your writing describes my status. I’ve been trying to adjust to retirement after so many years in education. I have also come to the conclusion that self care must take priority. Thanks for writing this.
Good luck as you “work” on making time for self-care and balance, and whittling away on the projects you want to accomplish the remainder of this year off. It’s challenging to work out a new normal.
It’s all about balance. You’ll get to a point where most days will level out fine with little notice from you. It will make the off balanced times stand out more, but such is life, no? It’s a reflective slice that shows you will get there. I look forward to your August/September Tuesday slice as you reflect on your return.