Normal…….

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My son shared this on Facebook today. My son hates his job, he has been working for the same company for 18 years having worked his way up from a junior position, working now as an area manager for a boss he can’t stand. He doesn’t read my blog, (neither does his boss) so hopefully doesn’t find out I have been talking about him behind his back… I shall keep him identity-less! He stays there because in our small area this job provides security and decent wages which he needs now because he has family. This post is not to discuss him so much as dissatisfaction in our lives. I am not knocking the above, some thrive in big cities with well paying jobs and holidays to relax into. Not knocking it at all. This is not my life and I am happy for that, my way is not other’s way and their’s is not mine, we are all different.

But seeing this set me off on a tangent (as is my way!) How many of us fall into the lives we have, no conscious decisions made, we just live them. We do our 9 – 5, struggle to pay our bills, do whatever to make ends meet, many lucky to even get a holiday!!! My life is far from this picture above but today I was walking around with a mumbling going on deep down, feeling crabby and distracted. When I read this I laughed it off, made a joke, yep that’s life. Later on when thinking about it and thinking about the dissatisfaction with life some must feel, I recognised my own.

Roger and I have been discussing a few things recently, much of it centres around nooses we have around our neck – mortgages, insurances etc. We are very lucky to have our own home but fact is the bank owns half of it. It’s unstable times, if the economy gets worse (a possibility) there is no guarantee we could even keep it. Both of us have to work and there is never any money left after mortgage, rates, big insurances, utilities, the costs of running vehicles to get to work etc etc. There are no holidays bar a quick weekend away. We would quite like a new normal even though we are far from normal. We have spent 7 years here, we do what we do because we need to, we love our home and garden but there are problems here. Our neighbourhood has gone from a quiet country one where everyone got on fine to one where we are growing a high front hedge to keep away from. We walk through the gate and sigh. Glad to get home from work, because let’s admit it, work is not always fun! but no longer enjoying our situation of where we live. We are virtually surrounded by transient vineyard workers, loud parties and arguments, lousy attitudes, gang members wearing patches etc are the norm here now. I don’t want to sound judgmental here, that’s not really my thing, live and let live. But….we are living in a different environment from that which we moved into – we have escaped town to have it follow us! I went down the shop the other day, drove, and pulled up at a give way. An error in judgment in driving by someone else had her glaring at me and yelling “You stupid f….bitch” at me through car windows. Roger was out mowing the front berm when a car full of young guys pulled up beside him and a pile of rubbish thrown out the window by his feet before they drove off laughing…apparently that was really funny!

What we have been thinking is to move, there are other towns over the west coast of the island which are really cheap, we COULD be mortgage free. We could live in a more settled area. We could leave our home and garden. We could invite my son and fiance to join us, how nice that would be – or leave them behind because they have different ideals. We could live in a wee structure and get more land. Could… maybe…..!!!

So, this is where my mind is at this morning. Dissatisfaction, with everything we thought we were doing right not feeling so right. It’s led me to think of others, human nature, why we are so stuck in our ways doing nothing to change them, why we live lives we aren’t really happy with. Why we complain so much and don’t just feel grateful for what we DO have πŸ™‚ Why people don’t just live lives they love in order to conform, then how hard it is to get unstuck because we have families to support, expectations,bills etc. Then the fact there are homeless people who would be grateful for anything, the fact transient workers have to live somewhere and are probably all very nice people even if some seem a little aggressive at times lol. Giving away eggs and veges over the fence doesn’t seem to work anymore in helping neighbourly connections.

Happiness and what it takes to make ourselves happy, in our own individual and sometimes different ways, seems to be hard to find. I don’t think wanting happiness is a selfish thing, shouldn’t it be the norm? There’s only so much TIME in life with which to find happiness….if only we could bottle time.

An oldy, Jim Croce – Time in a Bottle

Anyways, my rambling for today is true rambling! Now I have to go and get the carpet shampoo unit from the shop and clean my carpets, probably the real reason for my grumpy mood today! Sometimes I think it would be nice to not be broke, you could pay to have your carpets cleaned. Maybe we just need better jobs, more money…. holidays……..! πŸ™‚

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28 thoughts on “Normal…….

  1. aww /wendy you have every right to be happy. If you want to move, you should not feel badly + you have every right to make the steps towards what you want in life. If I had someone cuss at me + throw garbage at my feet+ I did not like some of my neighbors..I would be unhappy too.You don’t have to stay if you don’t want to. I know I always write about community etc, but if my community started breaking down, which it could any day for all of us..I would move in a heart beat to a place I felt happy. I would not feel badly about making changes.
    If you can….do it! You can create a new place with a garden + find a place that makes you feel the way you need to feel.

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    • Thanks Robbie πŸ™‚ We will continue to discuss it, we had sort of settled on staying put but I dunno, the urge is still there for me. I honestly can’t be bothered with staying in a place that feels so different, the neighbourhood we were so in sync with feels distinctly out of sync now. Anyway – we will talk more about it but I can see us leaving some time in the future, I can’t see it improving any. Thanks Robbie πŸ™‚

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  2. and I don’t feel you are being ungrateful because from your other posts in the past you do so much for others by sharing….I feel sometimes we can try and try and then just the energy just goes out of us…the quote above is not how I want to live my life, but it is for so many:-)

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  3. Julianna @My Watering Can says:

    When I was a single mom (my kids are grown now), I saved every penny I could and paid off every debt and then cleaned out all my possessions. I also got my health in order and had all my dental work done. I owned my car outright. I rented my big house, and ran my business out of it. I’m a massage therapist, and I chose this profession when I was in my 40s because I just could not see driving to a meaningless job (I was previously in high tech, a tech writer). I worked out of my house, had no commute, and only went out when I needed something or to socialize. Because I had pared down my possessions, I was able to put them all in a small storage, then went to Europe to marry my (now) husband in Denmark and was able to live in Austria for a year. If I hadn’t been debt-free and pared down things, I wouldn’t have been able to afford it. I had money in savings to buy incidentals and go sightseeing. My point is, I think we’re living in a time when we have to evaluate what has meaning or not. Without living a meaningful life, it’s all kind of empty. We now have this huge community garden plot, and I have the ability to grow our own food without paying for the land or taxes. We only rent our home, but I have my office in it too, and no extra rent for my business space. My husband is a research scientist – it’s more than a job to him. It’s pretty much who he is. He loves it. So I guess I can say, I’m really happy these days. We continue to live debt free and own our own car. True, we own no home, but fact is, the bank or a landlord owns it anyway, so it’s not a deal to me at this point. One day we’ll buy one again. But one that is a green home, and a small footprint so we don’t have to make money in ways that are unfulfilling to afford it!

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  4. This is a post I can relate to Wendy – I went through all this after my fall down the stairs it was part of my re-evaluation of my life and what I really wanted.

    I think for us as women, when our ‘nests’ don’t feel right, don’t provide the harmony we crave, then nothing is right. It’s hard to keep your spirits up when you feel under attack.

    I decided to sell my house [the bank owned most of it] and moved from Wellington to Dunedin. For a year I didn’t work, I just painted and lived on my house money. When it was all gone I had to go back to work – but that was a good thing for me.

    I now rent a small flat, which is, in the vernacular ‘quite tired’ πŸ™‚ But I live cheaply and very simply. I earn very little and am earning less every day, but I am very happy and content. I own my own time, I am a free agent and I find that because I am happy the world is happy with me. I like that.

    My car conked out in January of last year and I let it go. So I don’t even own a car anymore – that can be a tad trying at times but my daughter lends me hers whenever I need one so I am very fortunate with that.

    The point of writing all this is to assure you it can be done – whatever you really decide you want can become yours if you go into it ready and willing to make the best of whatever comes to you – I’ve personally found that what then comes has never been what I thought I wanted, and mostly turns out to be so much better. It’s like Fran’s post – letting go of control.

    I think living with unhappiness and dissatisfaction is draining and damaging to our health and our energy – I know that is why I fell down the stairs!

    Best wishes for your discussions, I know you will find a way forward – talking and sharing is a really good starting point – thank you for sharing with us today πŸ™‚

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    • πŸ™‚ I guess I shared because this is the reality of life, it’s complex – not all peace and pickled onions!

      We made certain decisions to put ourselves here, exactly where we are because these were the things that were important to us. That still applies. Roger changed from building and went back to farming because he loves it, and because farming supplies food etc…it’s a good honest, practical job working with nature. I enjoy my job but can only work minimum hours and ideally I wouldn’t work at all because that was our plan – there is too much work here to both be working. This is what we wanted. No bullshit in our lives, we have no debt other than the mortgage. When I was working fulltime we wanted to grow our food to get our mortgage paid off early – that’s a biggy for us. Being unable to work much is a huge frustration financially but that’s life…these things happen. Growing our food is a way through that. Being content with a mortgage is part and parcel but I do fear the future economic times – this may be justified or not, dunno!

      Moving to the West coast would mean starting all over again, from bare land probably if we don’t want a mortgage. We aren’t young anymore. So there are pros and cons really. I know Roger would rather stay here, he has roots here, whereas I can live anywhere.

      We have decided to just wait and see and think on it each ourselves for a couple of months, the answer will come πŸ™‚
      Thanks Pauline.

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      • You are so right, it’s never all just peace and pickled onions – πŸ™‚ Love that saying and may just adopt it myself!

        That sounds like a really wise decision – and it gives you time to get underway with a few dietary experiments and maybe even a chapter of that ebook you were discussing over on Fran’s site. [Which by the way I meant to butt in on but my internet connection was so slow I couldn’t get my reply in] It is such a cool idea – half the info is already on your blog! All those great recipes and photos and good ideas. I’d buy it and I only have a pocket handkerchief!!

        I have always found when I leave a space the answer comes loud and clear! Big hugs xoxo

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      • Lol, use away lol

        Yes, answers come when they come. Wisdom comes from the recesses of the brain where it’s not being clouded by emotion, judgment….

        I am glad that Fran suggested that, I have lots of ideas for that. We have plenty of options for other things, in fact many options. I feel much better today, it’s good to share with others and get kind advice or thoughts back.

        Thanks Pauline, hugs back xxxx

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  5. That does not sound like a nice place to live any more. What a shame. It’s terrible when neighbourhoods change and for the worse.
    As for moving and being mortgage free, have you seen tiny homes, cob building, strawbale building and all sorts of other exciting and natural building concepts?
    Looking ho happiness I guess you have 2 ways (that I can think of off top of my head) to look at it. If you do decide to move then you can either groan and think, oh gods, time to start all over again or hurrah, a new opportunity to use what you’ve learned and put it into practice again with improvements. πŸ™‚
    Best of luck whatever you decide and I will most definitely be staying tuned, whether it’s the hedge reached 6′ today or Oh God, we have a shack and a huge paddock, now what?. πŸ˜‰

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    • Yes, we love looking at tiny homes or more natural homes πŸ™‚

      It’s not such a nice neighbourhood anymore. Roger would rather stay here and doesn’t feel the neighbourhood thing quite as much as me….that’s part of the problem. He will mouth off to anyone if need be lol, when the guys threw rubbish at his feet he yelled out they were w….s and gave them the fingers. I actually would rather he didn’t because who knows what some people will do to prove there bravado in front of mates, you know?! I just would rather not have to deal with it. Nirvana and all that stuff πŸ™‚

      I think it will be the 6 foot high option myself. If we were 30 or even 40 then starting over would be no issue, but we’re not. We will see what happens, the mortgage may just have to stay the mortgage!

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  6. I am having a woo-woo moment (as Christi would say) at the moment. I had “Time in a bottle” stuck in my head (an earworm as my sister Pinky would call it) all morning. Christi and The B.O. are moving. They have felt the dissatisfaction of their lot and were brave enough to pick up sticks and head to someplace that felt more “home. We no longer live in a world where you are born in one place and you die there. We move around a lot. We are a transient population, always on the move. If happiness is eluding you where you are and you see no way to find it aside from moving, it might be time to have a pow-wow and talk seriously about it. So many of us feel trapped on a treadmill that is aimed at making ends meet (just) and then falling off the other end as pensioners with no idea how to live any more. Maybe it’s time to put feelers out and do a bit of exploring “elsewhere”. You don’t have to make commitments to “look” do you? You can just scope out the possibilities of change/moving without actually committing to anything. It might even turn out that you end up happier staying where you are but at least you will be aware of your options and the picture will be much clearer. Sometimes that is all it takes. A good look at the wider picture. Hugs from Tassie :). By the way please don’t fall into the trap of thinking that more of anything is going to make things better/happier…it simply isn’t the case and is just so much bullshit that people that want to sell you the “ideal life” want you to believe. You guys are doing some amazing stuff where you are. I am buoyed and enthused by every post that you make. I know that living with a mortgage would suck and if you can find a life someplace quiet in a smaller town (or even out in the country a little) I say go for it! “Faint heart never won fair maiden” πŸ˜‰

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    • No, we are definately not in the trap of thinking more is everything.

      I think in our heart of hearts we would rather stay here. Finding ways to pay off the mortgage earlier is more us, the neighbours…well maybe I will just have to live with it. But we have agreed we will think on it quietly to ourselves and see what we come up with, give ourselves a few months. No grand leaps anywhere. I don’t think age is on our side to start afresh with bare land and we have put alot into making this place what we wanted it to be. Roger would hate to leave here, we can be excited by the idea but in reality I know he loves this place so much and would hate to walk away.

      You gave me one hell of a WooWoo moment though yourself, right at the end there πŸ™‚ Roger’s old Dad always used to say “Be sweet fair maid and let those who can be clever”. He died 2 years before we got married and at our wedding a friend of mine made a message book for people to write in. My mother wrote that same sentence though that was definately not something she would ever say in life, when I asked her why she wrote that she said she had no idea, just heard it once when she was a child. So your comment threw me, a woo-woo moment indeed πŸ™‚

      I hope Chrissy finds happiness where she is headed and good on them for doing what feels right πŸ™‚

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      • One of the very very BEST things about social media is that you can bounce your ideas, your feelings, your “moments” just about anything off an anonymous but sympathetic like-minded crowd of “others” and get real responses and great ideas. It feeds you and enriches you and you don’t have to feel like you are the only one doing something even if, in your little neck of the woods you are! The world is a MUCH smaller place (forgive me for yelling so much in my comments…its all that bacterial fizzing…has to be released somehow and the other options are somewhat ruder πŸ˜‰ ) now thanks to us being able to communicate, learn and commune with people all over the world. Just think, you are in NZ. You are an hour ahead of us in time. I would have had to send you a letter to keep in touch with you (not that I would have ever met you prior to social media and blogging…) that would have taken at least a week to get to you but you can type something to me thousands of miles away and in a few seconds it is here! Amazing eh?

        I guess what I was trying to say in my roughshod way was “whatever makes you happy” is where you should be. I understand that frustrations bubble up and that people get in the way. If I could move all of our neighbours about a kilometre away from us it would be amazing! We have a plethora of problems living where we do but I guess we get to learn how to deal with those problems and in the process we grow as people and we get that incredible inner satisfaction that comes from learning how to do things and gaining more skills. Roger must be the king of “skills” now. He could probably run his own courses in “skills”…sort of Permaculture supreme! Has he ever done one of those Permaculture courses? I could see him selling that amazing knowledge that he just seems to have and you being right there to complement him with your preserving and crafting etc. and you could both make a good living selling what you know and do…first write that e-book…if you write the e-book…then they will come! πŸ™‚

        I hope that Christi finds happiness where she is going as well πŸ™‚ I guess at the end of the day, happiness is about the loftiest and yet simplest thing that we can aim for πŸ™‚

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      • Yes, I know what you are saying…social media is great and honestly, I love the ladies I have met here. You are a great bunch and I love that we can support each other at the not so great times. Thank you πŸ™‚

        No, Roger hasn’t done Permaculture, he just experiments…..and sometimes they don’t pay off. I just weed and roll my eyes, cos I know better sometimes but don’t at all lol. Yep, a wooden spoon award sounds appropriate πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

        A good living selling our ideas sounds right down my alley. Yes happiness is absolutely the loftiest but simplest thing we should aim for, I couldn’t have put it any better.

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  7. Wendy, I can relate to what you are going through . . .
    I managed to stay out of the life in that picture and while it was often hard and we missed out (or did we) on some things, I think I’d do most of it again. I realized early on that if I wanted to live a life I loved, I’d have to sacrifice something. So I ‘sacrificed’ (if you want to call it that; it wasn’t a big deal and I enjoyed what I had instead) the movie-portrayed suburban ideal life. For one thing, I never thought the world would still be around even ten years later. Remember the Cuban missile crisis? Well, you’re young enough that you likely don’t πŸ˜‰ I went to school on the schoolbus every day for over a week, wondering to myself if I would be alive to come home that day. Knowing that somewhere men were planning and willing to nuke us all to make some point or other . . . Then when I was expecting my oldest son, his dad and I decided to go to Mexico for a while. We had $50 and our backpacks. (I know, right?) We got to Seattle and stayed with a bunch of other hippies for a few months. Walking around downtown, I was struck by the signs on every block, saying there was a bomb shelter inside and how many people it would hold. Then I really felt that the end of the world was close. I just wanted to be home if I were going to die like that, not trying to walk home from Mexico. So we went back after the New Year. From then on, we had no interest in buying into the ‘approved’ lifestyle. We had no money, either, but I was used to that, and to making do, mending, etc., thanks to growing up with parents raised in the Dirty Thirties and then going through the War. I could detail the life we led, but it would be a long, long book. I know one thing: when I die, I won’t be lying in my bed wishing I’d lived a more interesting life, or done things the ‘right’ way. I’ve doubted my choices on many occasions, especially when criticized by others, but in the end, I’ve opted to ‘jump’ . . . and the net has always appeared, often at the very last moment.

    I guess what I’m saying in my long and roundabout fashion is that I believe in following your heart and your inner guidance. It’s not always easy, but living a life that you don’t love is worse.

    When I was still in high school, I worked in an old folk’s home one summer. I met a woman there who was then in her 90s. She had the most interesting curios in a display cabinet and she loved to tell me the stories about the ivory elephants and the other things. I wish I could remember it all now. She was from England and at 19, she went alone on a sailing ship, around the Cape of Good Hope, to India. There she was a nanny for a family she had never met. I have thought of her so often through the years. I knew even at that young age that I’d rather be like her than the other older people I met who were full of regrets for having always done the safe thing. There were other factors, too, of course, but those are some of the main ones.

    I don’t know if reading this will help in your discussions, but I felt impelled to share it all anyway.

    Do what you love, I say, and the joy, if not the money, will follow . . .

    Big hugs to you both from up North. I shall be excited to follow your metamorphosis. Maybe this place is a cocoon, now I think of it, and your butterfly life is on its way . . . ~ Linne

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    • I have never aspired to live that life either Linne and the closer I ever got to it the more uncomfortable I got with my life. My first husband was rather more conservative and Normal but I could never settle into it. Roger is far more easy, more inclined to my way of thinking and that’s a good thing πŸ™‚

      We love this place, that’s the bottom line. We are happy doing what we do. Having the mortgage is an uneasy thing though, it keeps you stuck in a trap of needing to earn so much. The neighbours….mmm!!

      Roger doesn’t want to leave but will think about it. I would quite like to but don’t have the energy for starting over from scratch, it would depend on the place. We have agreed just to sit on it for now and consider things independently of each other to see what we both decide. Watch this space I guess πŸ™‚

      We both have kids here too, so that’s a biggy for us. We are in the cheapest area so just moving somewhere else here wouldn’t work. See what happens!

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  8. I pulled myself out of the rat race years ago. The stress and long hours were not worth the paycheck. Yes… I had a nice car, money for vacations, and could afford to buy new clothes every year… but it came at a price. I didn’t see much of my friends and family. While sitting at my desk, I would rather be home. Now…I enjoy a much simpler and stress-free life. We make do with what we have and are far more self-reliant than ever.

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