Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The New World

What a difference a week makes. From one week to the next, my life has shifted from a eleven-year history of full-time employment to a new paradigm of self-directed part-time employment which is still somewhat puzzling to my reeling brain and mind.

How does one arrange one's days when they aren't built around the 9 to 5 framework? What parameters does one set in order to get things done, balanced with time to not do anything at all? Does one think, "Don't just sit there, do something!" or "Don't just do something, sit there!"?

What does it mean to not have one job that defines one's place in the working world? When someone asks the ubiquitous question, "What do you do?", what becomes your new ten-second elevator speech?

"Well, you see, I'm a newly-minted under-employed nurse slacker, waxing poetic---latte in hand---at a cafe with Wifi near you!" Or perhaps, "I'm a burnt-out nurse with more per diem jobs than I can count."

However one defines it, I know this first week has seen me working a few hospice shifts, attending my new Tai Chi/Qi Gong class and my new writers' workshop, and---dammit---crying uncontrollably during a matinee showing of The Kite Runner. My slacker cup runneth over.

I embrace this new life, even as I must accept not commuting with Mary every day, letting go of my beloved work family, and allowing the uncertain fickleness of this new paradigm to overrun my life. Gaining control of these new reins, I have no doubt that a kinder, gentler work-life will emerge, seeded with challenge yet relatively free of the trappings which so efficiently burnt me to a crispy shadow of my former self.

Here's a toast to newness and all its inherent uncertainty.
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