As much as I don’t really like reading blogs that are a never-ending critic of information and articles produced by other people, (probably as much as they hate reading diary blogs), I was deeply moved by this article in the Guardian on Sunday
I think it was because it reminded me in no uncertain terms why I had tried to change the way I live my life in March last year, and how easily in the last six months I have sold out and got dragged back into a ‘earn more, spend more’ mentality. In fact it made me very sad, just for a moment.
Particularly point 8 of the article – work less.
I spent a number of years looking for an interesting and challenging 0.6 (21 hours a week) contract to bring in enough money to live on, but still leave enough time to live a ‘greener, more engaged life’. What has happened over the last 6 months, is I have accepted various different free-lance contract which have meant I have been working on average a 4.5 day a week, sometimes more.
Yes, we have a little bit more money. It all seems counter productive, for example, after a particularly work filled January, we are now so tired we haven’t cycled to work for the past 2 weeks, therefore spending more money on petrol and both of us are fighting off colds.
I really do believe time =money….or rather, time = well-being, in a way that money cannot bring. Becs now work s 9.5 contract, which basically means she gets tonnes of holiday for a bit less salary, and we have both talked about her working her way down to 4 days a week.
I am aware that to present this as a noble cause is funny to other people, but until you have tried it, it is difficult to relate to how much of people’s perception of your value to society is tied up in how much you work.
When I tell the more remote colleagues at my organisation that I am three days a week, their response is ” What do you do in the other days’, or ‘oh do you have children’. I usually talk about my freelance work rather than Sencemeadow…I’m not sure why, but I think it is because on some funny level, I think that makes me sound better.
The truth is, I never sit around watching telly, but why is it so important to me to justify my choices in this way? The minute you start talking about quality of life and time vs money, people feel it is a judgement of them, and read you as a ‘kept woman’. Years ago no one ever had 2 partners working full time….someone was around to run the home and take care of well-being. The communities were stronger (apparently) because people had more time for each other.
I must try to stick to my original plan, as I know this would be better for myself, and also better for something bigger than myself …..if only I could work out how.