My Week of Leisure

“Aren’t you supposed to be at work?” I’ve heard this question six times over the past few days. There is no work. At least not this week. I resigned from my job. It wasn’t working out, I didn’t like it… at all. Friday was my last day.

I’ve got something in the works. A part-time consulting gig at a local non-profit. That starts next Tuesday. But this week is mine, all mine.

So, what have I been doing? Mostly I’ve spent my time job hunting. Emailing everyone I know to tell them I’m looking for work. Answering ads from internet job-posting sites. Brainstorming new ways to earn money. And I’ve spent my time planning. Running numbers to determine how long my paltry savings are going to last. Figuring out the best place to buy health insurance. And I’ve spent my time taking over chores from Susan. Shopping, kid-care, mowing the lawn, running errands.

For the past few months—while working this job—I haven’t been very useful in the chores department. Other than after-dinner dishes, I’ve done almost nothing. My days were long. And my days were exhausting. Not physically, but mentally. I came home spent, ready to chill. Susan sent me off to the living room with my computer and a cocktail to enjoy some down-time. A bit of blog reading, a bit of comment responding.

A note about that cocktail: two years ago, it would have been a glass of red wine… maybe two. Something varietal, something flavorful—a Pinot Noir, a Zinfandel. Complex. A wine to think about, to study. I like a wine that kicks me in the head! A wine that opens my eyes, surprises me. That was two years ago. Now my cocktail is seltzer water with a wedge of lime. It’s the lime that makes is special, elevates the drink to cocktail-level.

Over those past few months another thing I gave up was exercise. Time was limited; my motivation, non-existent. And over the last couple of weeks I’m starting to notice. While moving a box of copy paper at work, I was shocked by how heavy it seemed. At my old work, being the only guy, I’d typically be in charge of the copy-paper delivery. I’d bring six boxes up a flight of stairs and another twenty yards to the place we stored it. Now I was struggling with a single box. It bothered my back. It pulled on my appendectomy scar. I’m becoming frail.

Becoming unemployed is a great time to take stock of your life. Better than your birthday. Better than New Year’s Eve. I suddenly have an abundance of time and a desire to improve myself in multiple ways. I’ve set a list of goals that rivals any resolution list from my past. One of my biggies? Get back in shape. Since last Friday, I’ve been running, I’ve been walking, I’ve been stretching. And I also attended two classes at the Y. I went to yoga and spin.

The Y is where people keep asking me about my work… shouldn’t I be there? How’s my new job going? This is when I need to explain that I resigned from my job. And no, I’ve got nothing lined up. I’m calling it my first retirement. The people taking these classes with me are all ten years older than I am. They’re really retired. They’ve finished their careers, and they’re taking care of themselves. They’ve set those resolutions, and they’re sticking with them every day.

I’m getting a taste of this during my week of leisure. I’m writing daily. Exercising. Reading self-help. I think I’m going to start up crossword puzzles again. I used to do this, and over time, I edged closer and closer to becoming a genius—at least with crossword puzzles. My self-improvement is elevating my self-esteem. I’m feeling great about myself, about who I am. And nothing, I suspect, could be better than that during a job search.

A version of this post was previously published on JefftCann and is republished here with permission from the author.


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