Thursday, October 1, 2015

What will you do with all your free time?

This year, the kids are both at school full time, and I'm figuring out the new routine.

Everyday after I drop them off, I come upstairs to the office, and take care of my "administrative duties": fill out school forms, research products (my miele hermes vacuum bag coughed up debris again, killing the motor, I want to know why this keeps happening), shop online for the perfect Halloween costumes (race car driver and minion), print out recipes (focus on anti-inflammatory foods), book appointments with contractors and doctors, look at hundreds of bathrooms on pinterest, and update our calendar with book fairs, art shows, class schedules, and pizza lunches.

For the rest of the day, I might read, workout, walk somewhere, buy groceries, comb my hair, open all of the windows and close them again, sniff things to find out where that smell is coming from and blast the stink with vinegar or baking soda, collect half empty cups (mostly mine) and do dishes, change garbage bags, fold laundry, windex fingerprints, water plants, mow the ratty clover, put away toys, wash floors, cook, meet a friend or thrift for books.

I would like to do more than play secretary, keep house and feed my family. I want to use some of my energy beyond our circle of four people. Things will hold together, even if I spend time at class, lectures, volunteering or free events.

I've booked a continuing education class at University of Toronto and enrolled in a follow up drawing class (which starts today!). I've considered applying for a degree program, and decided that the time, stress, and scheduling conflicts are not worth a second diploma. If I already knew what second career to pursue, I would use school as a stepping stone. Self study for now - I think I can guide my learning better than an institution!

I'm looking for opportunities to volunteer in Toronto. I've searched the listings on but haven't connected with anything. I don't have a sense for how the volunteer market works (common positions, where people are most needed) or where I fit in. Selfishly, my goal is to enjoy the time I spend helping out. I'm interested in environmental causes - perhaps cleaning up or planting. Two organizations that caught my eye are and I would volunteer to rake leaves (shovel sidewalks) for seniors, if such a cause existed. I put my name forward to help at my children's school.

So that's what I'm doing, what I want to be doing, and what I am doing about it.  From the moment I told my former employer I was stepping out of the workforce, I've expected this day, but never made a plan. Now a month in, I'm still grasping for the right answer. I want to establish a routine now that lasts until the children take their independence, then I can dive deeper into whatever not-for-profit cause, hobby, or learning path.       

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