June 10th will officially start my new life. Twelve days after I turn 45 I am going to leave full time faculty position to go part time.
It feels momentous, scary and perfect. I found a lot of resources online that helped lead me to my decision and I’m posting my reasons in hopes that I can return the favor:
o Apparently, I am a sandwich: I have a 4 year old son and an 88 year old mother. My older sister is considered a baby boomer—I’m not sure what I would be called. What I do know is that keeping a faculty position does not easily allow time for both childcare and looking after your deaf, blind mother a state away. Some folks can do it and I take my hat off to them. Where I am concerned, you may keep your hat on.
• No One Left to Care
o 2 years ago my father died. His death was the culmination of over a decade of poor health. No matter how ill he was, and he was often drastically ill, our phonecalls all started with the same question, from him to me, “How’s your job?” I thought this would change after I had his first and only grandchild but, no, the job was The Most Important Thing. He was a depression baby and there are other reasons for his concern. Now that I don’t have to worry about worrying him, leaving my job is much, much easier.
• Money in the Bank
o Speaking of Depression Babies, I’m related to quite a few of them. Over the years, their well ingrained habits of saving and investing have resulted in some lovely gifts to me, my husband and our son. I bring this up in the spirit of full disclosure: we have money in the bank. Less than a year’s worth of either of our salaries but well more than we spend in a month. Would I be quitting my job without the assurance that money affords? No.
• Serious Illness
o Before Christmas I caught a cold that never went away. By February I had pneumonia which, after a 2 week course of antibiotics, morphed into a sinus infection. I’m still coughing and often have to stop walking just to catch my breath. It’s awful and embarrassing and I need real time to focus on my health. Sitting at a computer for roughly 6 hours a day is not helping
• Everyone Else has Gardens
o Good friends of mine have made real changes in their lives—growing much of their own food, taking charge of their health, leaving big jobs—watching them struggle and thrive has been a massive inspiration.
• I Am Old, Father William
o No one is getting any younger, including my kid.
• Mid Life Crisis
o I haven’t liked my job for a long time but I have to wonder: in looking to downshift to part time, am I trying to recreate my poor but carefree days of working 4 jobs I loved, none of which had benefits and none of which allowed me to save any money? Do I long to be in my mid 20s again? The jury’s out on that one.
• Keith Richards
o My husband received the Keith Richards autobiography for Christmas this year. I read the parts that were about his early childhood and he said two things that really resonated. First, he explained that after WWII, the idea was that you got a job and you kept that job and you did’nt let go of that job. That sounded familiar—it sounded like my family, most of whom were WWII vets of one stripe or other. Second, he wrote of being an only child and how, when you are outside playing with your friends, you’re a kid. When you come back home, you are a strange sort of quasi-adult. I’m not an only child but my son is. Keith Richards made me realize I need to be more aware of the context of my son’s home—he also made me realize my desire to work so hard to keep my job was not my desire at all—it belonged to an earlier time. Again: context. Time to update my own and time to control (as best I can) that of my own family.
The next month is going to consist of me working to use up as many of my work benefits as I can. I’m also going to do a lot of picking up and rearranging and preparing my office and collections for the next person in line.
I know this is going to be hard and I know, financially, it will be very tough. That being said, it had been so long since I had woken up and not felt immediately defeated—I’m enjoying the excitement so much. I’m so very ready for his new life!