Sunday, April 27, 2014

The First Weekend of my Unemployment

Learning to live on less, not just by choice, is definitely a mind game.  Even if you are good at keeping negativity down, these are times that really seem to test your resolve.  And it's only been 2 days.

The first thing I'm learning is keep yourself busy.  This weekend, I started cleaning random junk drawers in the kitchen, made fresh butter from some cream in the fridge, and ran the dog down playing fetch.  Since there is a chance of snow tonight, the garden is covered and the hatches are battened down.  It hasn't really hit me yet that tomorrow I won't be in my normal routine of waking up early, getting the kids ready for school, and then going to work.  But I've scheduled a few things to get done in the morning, so that helps.

If you're in a similar boat, get yourself a schedule.  Find SOMETHING to do, even if it isn't all that important.  If you find something constructive, then you'll at least have an outlet for your creative side and be producing something towards your goals, even if it's not financially.  Anything you start setting up today is one less thing to worry about in the future, and one advantage you'll have surviving economic hardship.

Make sure you also have an emotional outlet.  My kids and wife have been great dealing with me this weekend, which proves their patience and long-suffering is truly a gift from God.  I know that there is a job out there for me, either with a company or one I create myself, but in the meantime, there needs to be a way to deal with the stress and anxiety without venting to others.  This blog helps, as does getting out with the dog.  I've ridden my bicycle more in the last week than I have in the last year, and I'm trying to find solace in the small moments of peace and quiet.

Finally, volunteer.  For a lot of people, the loss of a job, even if it's nothing personal, is still a big hit to your sense of self-worth and value to society.  Pick a cause, or a classroom, or a church, or something, and just give them some of your newly found free time.  By giving of ourselves, we remind ourselves that our value is in our character and our drive, not in our pay scale or a title.  Learn to love yourself, just a little bit, for the person you have become over the years, and share the best of yourself with those who may not have even those smallest of blessings.  At church this morning, I got sat down in front of the mixer console and the media computers.  They were very shorthanded today, and needed someone in the hot seat.  Thankfully, they didn't have to train me, I set up many of those systems and revamped a few over the last couple of years, but it gave me a purpose, even for an hour, and that was incredibly therapeutic.  Get out and help some organization or person in some small way.  God blesses us when we least expect it if we are doing His will, so maybe by helping others, you're also helping yourself.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Well folks, this is what it is all about.

We spend all of our time working towards an event that may never happen, or a disaster that may just as easily pass us by.  However, one of the things we should be preparing for is the inevitable.  After 9 years of employment with the same company, I've finally joined the ranks of the downsized.  For a lot of people, this would be catastrophic.  Thankfully, my wife and I have made an active effort to reduce our debt (all that's left is the mortgage) and try our best to live on less.  It will not be easy, but until I'm back to work, we're living on 40% of our previous income.  We're grateful that it happened in the spring, and our garden is in.  We're also thankful for the time that we spent learning new skills and becoming less reliant on the normal ebb and flow of money.  This is our test, and we're not sure how long it will last, but we're finally forced to live the way we always tried to.  I'm going to track our journey, and post what lessons we learn together to try and help others who find themselves in this situation.