It has been just over three months now since I became unemployed. It’s a big deal for me, even though it was my own decision, made once I decided that if I made my life much simpler, I had enough to get by.
I knew that my job provided more discretionary income than I would ever have again. I knew that it provided a social circle of sorts, and a reason to bathe regularly. I was prepared for a lack of all those things. I felt like I’d always had it in me to a be poor unwashed hermit, so no problem there.
I didn’t realize that my job provided reference points for the passage of time, and that after so many years with a typical job, I would be disorientated without those familiar markers. My husband, who made this same plunge three years ago, saw what was coming. Of course, for the past three years he had been using my work schedule to mark his own days.
“We will still have special meals on week-ends,” he declared. “Drink a bottle of wine, grill a nice piece of fish.” I laughed at him. “We can do that any time now.”
“Yeah, but we won’t,” he said. “You’re going to need this.” He was right.
I didn’t realize that my job provided a sense of purpose, even if that purpose was only to pay the bills. I have a higher purpose, I thought. My real purpose is to write. I didn’t consider how writing is basically a manic-depressive activity for me, filled with bursts of creativity and action interspersed with doubt and lethargy. One’s purpose needs to be solid, a guidepost that doesn’t wax and wane to a bipolar rhythm.
So I’ve kind of informally been seeking a purpose, and oddly enough I think I’ve found one. It probably was my purpose all along, I just didn’t think of it as such.
My job is to get wiser. I actually think that is everyone’s real job, but I also think it’s not my business to tell other people what their purpose is. So …. I’ll stick to me. I’m on a mission to become a wise woman. I’m not sure exactly what the process involves, but I’m pretty sure that it includes a lot of writing, reading, helping others, being close to nature, taking good care of my self, traveling, learning, and meditating. It might involve a lot more. I don’t know. I’ll find out.
I figure that a would-be wise woman takes wisdom wherever she finds it. So now my life is a classroom and, as a full time student, I make little notes to myself wherever I go. People in town may think I’m a little crazy.
A wonderful local yoga studio has provided me with lots of material, not to mention a few more reference points as I try to make it to my favorite classes. “We are naturally drawn to movement,” the instructor said the other day, talking about how all the flashing blinking lights in our lives hold us mesmerized. “But remember that there is no movement without stillness.”
It sounded very Zen, but in fact the man was talking good solid physics. There is no motion if everything is in motion together. You do know that the earth is zipping around the sun at nearly 70,000 miles an hours, don’t you? You don’t? How could you possible not notice traveling at 70,000 miles an hour? It turns out it is pretty easy when everything else moves with you. Have one thing stand still (or as good old Einstein pointed out, assume you are standing still and the other thing is moving 70,000 miles an hour in the other direction) and the motion becomes apparent.
That’s it. You need motion. You need stillness. You need reference points. Way to go, physics! Way to go, yoga! Way to go, universe!