EMBRACING UN-BUSYNESS IN MIDLIFE

Becoming un-busy in Midlife means leaving the stress behind, slowing the pace, refusing to compete, and living life with freedom and joy. #midlife #unbusy

WHY I CHOOSE TO BE UN-BUSY

It's "U" for "Unbusy" as we head towards the end of my List of More. I've been discovering the joy of unbusyness over the last several months after walking away from a very stressful and drama driven job. When I left I needed a few months to recover and get my head back in the game, then I started to plan how to get things up and running again - how to jump back on the bandwagon and get back into the rat race. But then I had my Midlife Epiphany and life changed.

I realized that I didn't want to go back to what I had before. I didn't want the craziness, the office politics, the 9-5 routine, the nose to the grindstone anymore. I wanted to let that go, but I immediately thought that I needed to replace it with some other form of looking and feeling productive, I didn't think I was allowed to slow down, breathe, and set my own pace - because that would be self-indulgent wouldn't it? And we all know we're not allowed to be self-indulgent!

CHANGING MY WORLD VIEW

It often takes time for an ingrained point of view to change. For some people it can happen overnight, but for those of us who like to over-think everything, it can take a little longer. I honestly felt in my head and heart that I needed to prove my worth by being in the workforce, or by earning an income in some form. I guess it comes from childhood baggage and how our self-image is formed, but for me it's always been about working and contributing and being the stoic ant toiling away to fill the nest.

Then one day my job imploded and all that was turned on its head. I woke up to the fact that I didn't want to be a worker ant any more, I'd been home for a few months and I loved the freedom of not being a cog in someone else's machine. I'd thought about alternative ways to earn some dollars and none of those appealed either - I don't want to try to turn my blog into a business, or start up something else from scratch, I don't want to think about a pay cheque any more, I just want to "Be" and not "Do" from now on.

Happiness is getting to sleep in and wake up in a quiet house with no plans. #lifequotes

HOW DOES THIS TRANSLATE TO UNBUSYNESS?

Once I had extra time on my hands, I started reading articles from people who wanted a similar life to me. They used terms like "Slow Living" and "Living on Purpose" and "Simplify" and "Becoming Unbusy" and all those concepts spoke to something deep inside my soul. They gave me a description of the type of life I wanted to live and in a way, they gave me permission to stop rushing and to slow down to a pace that felt right for me. 

Choosing to live slower, to not always be juggling a million things, to not be driven by keeping up with the Joneses, to not feel that having a job gives validation - all those old concepts could be kicked to the kerb and I could embrace the peace and serenity of a life that was free to meander along at its own pace. Sometimes it might mean being busy, other times it might mean reading a book with a cat in my lap and a cup of coffee in my hand. There's no hard and fast rules, no timetable, no rigid routine - just a sense of being settled and off the treadmill of life.

ALLOWING OTHERS TO BE UNBUSY

My husband mentioned recently that he was struggling with his workload that has been gradually building up to a the point where he didn't know what leisure time looks like anymore. He asked what I thought about him cutting back next year and not working so many hours. After all that I've learned this year it was a no-brainer to say "Go for it!" and to allow him to start on a journey to slow down a little bit too. He won't quit completely and sit around patting the cat, but reducing and re-shaping his worklife sounds like a great idea to me.

We need to step off the hamster wheel before it's too late. I don't want to watch the person I love working himself into the ground, we've spent nearly 40 years being frugal and living within our means, so I have no problem with him stepping back before he ends up burnt out and even more exhausted. Nobody should be on a hamster wheel if they don't need to be - unbusyness beckons and I'm happy for him to answer its siren call too.

(This little video clip came to mind as soon at I wrote "hamster wheel" and I had to share it.)


WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Are you finding that Midlife brings with it a desire to get off the hamster wheel before you're thrown off? Are you still in the rat race and loving it, or are you stepping back and enjoying being unbusy like me?

RELATED POSTS


Becoming un-busy in Midlife means leaving the stress behind, slowing the pace, refusing to compete, and living life with freedom and joy. #midlife #unbusy
Becoming un-busy in Midlife means leaving the stress behind, slowing the pace, refusing to compete, and living life with freedom and joy. #midlife #unbusy

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16 comments

  1. Hi, Leanne - I agree that it is challenging to chnage our world views...but that doesn't mean that they can't be changed. What I appreciate most about retirement is that I get to choose the pace. Some days the pace is fast, other days it is purposely slow. I love the balance of both. Most of all, I love getting to choose! It looks like you have choosen well for what works best for you. I greatly admire that.

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    1. Hi Donna - I love that choice too, I love that I'm no longer busy for the sake of being busy, or busy because I have to jump through someone else's hoops. Now any busyiness is my decision and the rest of the time I live at a very pleasant pace.

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  2. For the next few years, I intend to keep working full time. I am starting to envision a life where I have more flexibility and the ability to decide for myself how busy or unbusy I want to be. I’m not sure what that will look like yet. I’ve enjoyed following your story and others in this wonderful community. #mlstl

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    1. Hi Christie - I don't think I was ever cut out to be a full-time worker. Even when I was only working part-time, I was counting down the days until I was off work and doing my own thing on my own time. I think if you enjoy what you do, then busyness is less of a burden - now I feel like I've found my sweet spot :)

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  3. It's so good to read your posts Leanne and see the changes you have made and how well it's working out. Good on you for supporting your husband's quest to reduce some workload too, being supportive is so important. I love days when I'm un-busy and try for a few each week, with no plans and no pressure to do anything or be anywhere. I'm enjoying this time between visits to our daughter in England, not to mention I'm enjoying the warm weather while I can. Another insightful and intertesting post Leanne. #lifethisweek

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    1. Hi Deb - it's all about balance isn't it? We all have busy times but I love that the busyness is on my terms these days - I choose when to have a full day and when to be home enjoying the peace - marching to the beat of my own drum!

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  4. How did I ever find time to work? I ask myself that frequently. To be honest I work on my website constantly - but that's for love not because someone is holding a gun to my head, and work that I want to do. I also love the freedom of being able to go off at a tangent on a whim!

    Saying all that but I also find that some days I need a structure just to keep myself motivated enough to get out of the PJ's - switching off can only go so far!
    Pamela
    www.style-yourself-confident.com

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    1. Hi Pamela - I relish every day that I'm not in my old dreadful job. I love that life is on my schedule and yes, some days I have lots to do, others it's blogging (for love) or reading or whatever - bliss!

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  5. I think I had my unbusy epiphany a few years early - two cancer diagnoses saw to that. I think too many people feel that they need to stay on the hamster wheel because they have to, not because they want to. I've found that life off the hamster wheel is sweet and that I can live a rich life with less - less busy, less stress, less stuff and more time to say yes to the things and people that matter.

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    1. Hi Sammie - I'm sorry that you had to have cancer to learn about unbusyness - I just had to go through a sucky work experience to discover it! But I'm so glad we both did - living life at a pace that is pleasant and unstressful is the only way to go isn't it?

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  6. So good to read this and for your husband to have the courage to admit how things are for him now. He's been given a very good example in how things have changed for you. Recently my husband has begun to enjoy pottering here in the make shift workshop more than doing some of the heavier work he was doing helping his brother. I think we all get to take stock at various times. Some come rapidly as did mine with cancer but it can all be managed. Lovely post, Leanne.
    Thank you for linking up for Life This Week. Next wee's optional prompt is: 43/51 Your Favourite Book As a Child 28/10/19 BUT I am not following it. I am introducing my Daily Gratitude Instagram Challenge running for the 30 days of November, ending on the last day which is my 70th B'day !! Do add your blog link whichever prompt you choose...even no prompt! Denyse.

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    1. Hi Denyse - yes, I love that I can finally step back and say it's okay for both of us to work less and to be in a place where we can afford to do that. We may not be wealthy, but we're doing fine - and mental health/physical wellbeing is so much more important than having the latest gadget or extra money in our superannuation.

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  7. Thank you for sharing your perspective on busyness and its toll on us as the years pass. I'm still in that parent of a young child phase of life. The busyness comes with the territory and also the responsibilities. I hope to have your perspective as I move out of this phase. To better focus on what's really important. At the moment, the best I can do is to practice mindfulness as I run or do yoga. It's a start.

    SSG xxx

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    1. Hi SSG - I think unbusyness comes when we've put in the hard work and diligence beforehand. When you have a child and a mortgage and you're establishing yourself, you have to do the work (and that means a busy life). It's finding the sweet spot when you realize you're on top of things and that you can step back - that's when unbusyness kicks in - your time will come my friend!

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  8. As you know, I can very much relate. I left the corporate life and soon after decided it was a life I did not wish to return to - same reasons as you - office politics, long days, the commute etc. I still needed to feel some purpose and self satisfaction and so forth in my days though so have made myself a little too busy in the process. I think I am who I am and hopefully I'll muddle my way through this and eventually find my place and what feels good and right for me. It's an interesting process isn't it?! I do believe very much though that becoming unbusy is very healthy for us. In fact one of my Gems of Zen is 'Becoming Unbusy' - written by a friend and former work colelague - Monica who now owns and runs her own yoga studio. :-) xo #TeamLovinLife

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    1. Hi Min - I think Sue could relate to your comment because she says she's felt the same way with retirement - too many things to try, lots of figuring out what to use the time for etc. I think I've taken a bigger step back and the burnout from the horrible job has made me appreciate the space and time I have now - and I have absolutely no desire to fill it with a million other things. I actually feel quite Zen about it all! x

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