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One moment

Since I took the leap from my full time employment I have been on a roller coaster ride of emotions. Some days I am almost crippled with fear and panic, can I do this? What if I can’t feed my family, or pay my mortgage, or I have no other choice but to return to full time employment? Some days I over think the smallest challenge (usually financial in nature) and find my stomach twisted with anxiety.

Other days, most days, I wake up and jump out of bed with a spring in my step. This non-full-time-working life is the real deal. This is living. At the end of my 23 years of full time working days I could not understand how for so long I only ever thought full time work was the only option. I didn’t think it was fair to not contribute 50/50 in our home, I didn’t feel it was my husband’s duty to be the sole provider. I am an adult after all, and I have mostly provided for myself since I left high school.

With this new lifestyle comes a very big change of mindset. It’s taken about ten months to understand that with these changes, comes disruption. It’s a welcome disruption, but a disruption nonetheless. I have completely changed how I think and feel, my days feel new and I feel alive again. I have woken up at 7am for as long as I can remember, got myself dressed for work, got my child to school and drove into the office to work my eight (and the rest) hour day. To wake up on a weekday and have a totally different day mapped out still feels so new even though it’s almost been a year. And I love that, I love that the old rat race is no longer the basis of my existence and who I am.

I am a photographer. I am a food blogger and writer. I am a social media editor. My days consist of all things creative, slowly eaten breakfast and morning and afternoon tea sometimes with my dog at my feet. I see the postman pull up, I see my neighbours coming and going throughout the day. I see little old ladies getting together for coffee in the mornings at the local cafe. I shop for groceries on a Tuesday morning, something that is still so novel to me. And all of this is seen through new eyes, my heart beating that little bit faster, my soul hanging onto every sight and sound and enjoying every minute detail. It’s all still so new to me, it feels like these simple things are the world’s best kept secret and I was so caught up in the rat race that I didn’t know they existed. Now I do.

Five days a week in the office are but a distant memory. I can’t imagine, I don’t want to imagine, ever having to go back to the rat race. I sucked as a participant, my heart was not in it. I am not competitive by nature so often felt left out of the road rage on the freeway in peak hour traffic. I’m that “other” driver from that “Enjoy the Ride” advertisement, who is cruising along grinning like the cat that got the cream. Nothing good can come from living that hectic lifestyle long term. Nothing. My nerves and my outlook at the end of my 23 year employment term is testament to that. Humans were not built to work long hours in fluorescent lighting staring at a monitor, to come home and stare at the idiot box. That’s not living.

“When we slow down we discover that life has a natural pace, and it’s good. We slot into a groove that’s always been there. Life becomes richer, more pleasurable and more fulfilling. We may do fewer things but what we do, we do well. We breathe. When was the last time you actually took time to breathe? Not just the shallow ticking over of your respiratory system, to really breathe. Taking a long slow breath in to its comfortable conclusion, and letting it all out. And doing it again, and again, and again, until you’re flooded with calm. Imagine life lived in this zone.” 

I am living it. And I can tell you it is not achievable while participating in the rat race. 

So while I may still have my days of twisted stomach anxiety, I’ll keep telling myself it’s just one moment. It’s my false self trying to frighten me into believing I need to be in the rat race to fit into society, to have those bigger possessions and look the part. I don’t want to look the part. I want to look like me. 

 

 

 

{image from here}

 

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  • Thuy Yau - Hi Peggy,
    I LOVED this post! Thank you so much for sharing your experience in such an honest way. This reminded me of the theme behind Tim Ferris’ book, ‘The 4 Hour Work Week’. The typical life is to work those 9-5 hour days and eventually retire, but who says we have to do it that way? Forget what society thinks, forget convention, forget tradition- it is your life, do what makes you happy. I’m so glad that you have found the happiness that you want. Thanks for your honesty and for your insights :)ReplyCancel

  • Deb @ home life simplified - I love hearing how you are doing Peggy. Enjoy the time and your accomplishments one day at a time. You are doing amazing!!!ReplyCancel

  • Reannon - So lovely to read this Peggy.ReplyCancel

  • Peggy Saas - Thank you Thuy. You’re right, who says we have to do it that way?! I think sometimes it’s in our nature to follow the masses, do what we feel is ‘expected’ by society. I never quite felt like I fitted into the rat race, although it may suit a lot of others it definitely didn’t suit me. I guess the key is to find what works for us individually, and then do more of it!ReplyCancel

  • Peggy Saas - Thank you Deb, I too love reading your blog and following you on your journey. I am definitely loving my new path, it feels more like me. :)ReplyCancel

  • Peggy Saas - Thank you Reannon. Lovely as always to see you here. xoReplyCancel

  • Veronica @ Mixed Gems - I’ve enjoyed especially following your photographic journey, but occasionally popping in on your written one too. I’m in that rat race. I’m not sure I should or can get off. As with many things, it’s easier said than done. I never considered photography as a path in the past but it’s one thing I wonder about increasingly. Maybe baby steps might lead to making a big step in the near future. Thank you for continuing to share your journey and offer hope, encouragement and inspiration to those of us wondering if there’s more than the rat race.ReplyCancel

  • Peggy Saas - Thank you Veronica. I too love following your photographic journey, you take a beautiful photo. I absolutely think if photography sets your soul on fire that you can look into making it your life’s work. I used to watch others that had followed their creative dreams and envy their courage. I guess there came a time where I just knew I couldn’t do the rat race thing anymore, so I had to leap.

    May I suggest you follow a blog written by a photographer named Alex Beadon? She is fantastic at encouraging others to pursue their passion and make their creative dreams their life’s work. I think you might find some encouragement from her to, at the very least, take those baby steps you mentioned. There is nothing wrong with turning that hobby into a little more, even if you keep one foot in the rat race for now.

    I suspect there is something bigger and better out there for you, if you want it. Keep me posted.ReplyCancel

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