My blog life was pretty quiet for more than a month but my daily life was considerably and purposely abounding far away from my writing activity. So here I am coming back to tell you the highlight of this past month.
I was still in the South Island in February easing up from the multi-day Milford hike that I just did with my friends when I received a text message from a colleague that the board secretary and the legal adviser of the company I was working for announced in a meeting a proposal for the facility’s closure set on 22 March 2019. It absolutely terrified and shocked the more than 60 employees especially the handful who had been there for so long – for over 15 to 25 years – they’d planned to stay until their retirement. The first few days were filled with grief, anger, sadness, tears and anxiety for many! Nobody saw this coming.
I was equally surprised and heart-sore both for the demise of my workplace (although I was not completely convinced that the company’s finances were running out as the case for closure) and the job loss that all staff members had to thread to even with a promise of full redundancy. More than these, I grieved for the residents of this Aged Care Facility which had been their home for ages, a few for more than a decade and one for more than twenty years. Their families did not take it lightly.
However, the disquiet and mental jolt in me were short-lived to be honest. I have shared my views to few colleagues to think of it as a favorable circumstance to see opportunities outside the company, to move on or to change career as desired, to have a breather from the stresses and challenges of the job and to contemplate carefully the next course of action. It’s not easy neither it’s impossible. I fully understand the urgency of some to get another job right away. Sadly, a few were not financially prepared to even miss a day without a job. This knocked them off their feet! Thankfully though, this was somewhat fleeting for some who were able to jump to other ships before ours had completely sunk.
A loss of job is a big blow to almost everyone especially if there is a mortgage to pay, a family to support, loans to take care of and a certain lifestyle to maintain. It can absolutely change one’s financial landscape. However, if there is one thing I have personally felt rather fascinating in the midst of this brief surprise and uncertainty, I have regained calmness instantaneously. I was also able to distance myself immediately from the latitude of worriment. Suffice it to say, I fairly and largely attribute this to my (and my husband’s) minimalist lifestyle, thus simple living.
While we are not the car-free, house-free, live anywhere type of minimalists (honestly, we don’t aim for that), we lead ourselves the simplest lifestyle that we can realistically effectuate. Yes, we do have a mortgage to pay but gratefully, this has not set off a sense of urgency to look or accept whatever job that can connect two ends of a broken bridge, at least not yet. Instead, I am taking this moment to consider my options, to think about things where I can do better and I can be of more of value and to brood over a career shift or a change within my professional field. It’s still a little fuzzy at this time but I plan to take my stride as breezy as possible.
Sure, we have some rainy day funds and my husband has a job that he loves whose paycheck can back us up at this stage. I have a very part-time job which I enjoy big time that helps to fill in a Lilliputian fraction of a numeric gap from our usual situation but it is still something to fall back at this stage. Perhaps, the sudden change of circumstances may require us to cut back more on certain expenses and that’s okay. We have rehearsed it so regularly that it is actually a friend than a foe.
In these days and age when most people are trapped in a hamster cage thinking that the more they run the race the more they get ahead of the others and raise the status quo; working harder to accumulate more material things to satisfy the ever-increasing wants that have seem to have become life’s requirement, we are inclined to afford a lot of things except for the time to actually sit down and stress less. The latter have become a very expensive commodity. Hence, in many cases, a job loss becomes catastrophic.
While simple living, to the extent of minimalism, alone is not the only reason to factor in for one’s preparedness for a sudden unemployment, it surely and absolutely reduces its devastating impact. My recent loss of job can be a bad news but it has given me the opportunity to loosen up and ease the tension of the daily grind of the job. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for how my job had shaped me to be a leader, to be skillful and to carry such confidence that I can take on any challenges in my chosen career. I have loved it most days and hated it some days that sometimes I silently clamored for a big break. And this must be the break I was looking for.
I cannot emphasize more that having a minimalist lifestyle is not depriving oneself of the good things in life. It is actually choosing the best things through acquiring only what are essentials and enjoying the things that give value to our lives. It is avoiding distractions and unnecessary expenditures so we can focus more on what are important to us. Conscious consumerism is only a part and parcel of it but it has significant impression on how we can live our lives more meaningfully. It is a choice.
I will definitely have to look for employment or any other means of producing income to continue implementing our financial goals (at least to pay off the mortgage as soon as we can). In the meantime, I will enjoy this wonderful hiatus, the calmness, and the excitement to do other things that I enjoy. These are luxuries I can afford at this juncture…. with simple living.