Busy Doing Nothing?

Although it’s Monday morning and the start of a busy working week, I’m not going anywhere. I’ve been made redundant.

The birth rate on the Island has been steadily declining so there are fewer pupils enrolling in our schools. As a result the College, where I worked part~time, has had to make swingeing cutbacks and my post got the chop. It no longer exists, that’s it, there’s no going back!

I don’t particularly rate my chances of finding another suitable part-time job at my age, in the current economic climate ~ particularly as I’m still recovering from a work~related injury. I would never have voluntarily resigned from this one ~ I had hoped to continue for a few more years. One of our colleagues didn’t retire until her 80th birthday and, though I might not have lasted that long, you never know!

And now we never will. That decision has been made for me and although I won’t receive a state pension for a while, I’m now retired. But I’m not bitter. Seriously. This is the best thing that could have happened, right now.

In her later years, when I asked my mother what she’d been up to, she’d often start singing:
‘I’m busy doing nothing,
Working the whole day through,
Trying to find lots of things not to do.
I’m busy going nowhere, isn’t it such a crime?
I’d like to be unhapp~y but I never do have the time!’
(I thought it was just a nonsense rhyme until I googled it. It’s featured in the 1949 film, ‘A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court’, with Bing Crosby, her favourite actor.)

Back then I didn’t appreciate the irony behind her super~cheerful renditions. I even wondered if she was embellishing the truth, to prevent me from worrying about her being on her own and lonely. But I’m beginning to realise that she was too busy to be miserable ~ doing whatever she pleased, when she felt like it: solving the crossword in the Telegraph, pottering about her home and garden, visiting and entertaining friends and having whimsical conversations with Billy the budgie. (He once shouted that it was raining and she hurried outside to bring her washing in from the line, only to realise he was fibbing. But when she scolded him he hung his head, told her that he loved her and pleaded for a ‘great big kiss’, so all was forgiven!)

That she was happy with this stage of life ~ the happiest I can ever remember her being ~ has been quite a stunning revelation. And it’s inspiring!

So am I going to be ‘busy doing nothing’? I don’t think so. I’ve had 13 weeks to get my head around the luxury of never having to clock on again. And there are plenty of worthy pastimes I could sign up for. Volunteer work, clubs, classes, re~writing that ratings~busting novel, which obsessed me until 17,000 words zapped into the void, when my computer crashed. As you can see, I’m not short of ideas ~ I could occupy myself so thoroughly, that I’d wonder how I ever had time go to work!

I’ve spent a lifetime in support roles ~ personally and professionally ~ so I won’t be signing up for noble causes, at this stage ~ maybe later, who knows?

I have to start supporting my own needs and wishes: re~igniting my dreams and passions, which have taken a bit of a battering lately. It seems selfish when you’re in the habit of putting others first but if I don’t do it now, I know I’ll always regret it.

So, here’s to a contented retirement! For the moment I’m just going with the flow ~ I wonder where that might lead me?

I’ll let you know.

Nurturing Thursday 36

Explaining why she started ‘Nurturing Thursday’, Becca Givens writes:
‘Our culture tells us we need to be special and above average to feel good about ourselves. Yet, it is not possible for all of us to be above average at the same time.’

If we could then ‘Above Average’ would be the average ~ and I can’t even work out where the logical progression of that ideology is leading. The thought is ~ literally ~ depressing. But I don’t mean to spread despondency ~ after all this is ‘Nurturing Thursday’, designed to inject weekly shots of positivity into the blogosphere.

As every doting grandparent will tell you ~ each child is different and special. For instance, I am blessed with twin super~heroes and a princess:

(Yeah, I know the boys are toting weapons ~ but that’s a different debate. And I encourage them to aim at crochet cushion targets, rather than at each other’s heads. I’m not entirely successful ~ it’s a ‘man~thing’, so I’m told and I can’t argue with that. Trust me, I’ve tried.)

So how do we root this innocent wonder, where the cardboard tube from an empty toilet roll is transformed into a cuff which shoots imaginary webs at invisible ‘baddies’? Or a beeee~oootiful bracelet, encrusted with crayoned~on jewels.

Is it possible to inspire our young to attain their full potential as adults, without imposing artificially constructed standards, moving goal~posts, meaningless comparisons, which ~ we know from our own experience ~ won’t make them feel good about themselves……or others? Quite the opposite, in fact.

Clearly the current system is flawed ~ but maybe we can turn it around. In the words of William Martin :

‘Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.’

‘If you teach them to achieve
they will never be content.
If you teach them contentment
they will naturally achieve everything.’

(William Martin, The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents)


The ‘Nurturing Thursday’ movement is hosted by Becca Givens, author of the inspiring blog ‘On Dragonfly Wings with Buttercup Tea.’ To read more about it, or to find out how you can join in, (the more, the merrier!) please press this link.

Other ‘Nurturing’ contributors are:

Crowing Crone Joss

Inside the Mind of Isadora

Laurie’s Notes

Pocket Perspectives

Nurturing Thursday 24

I know it’s a cliche ~ and writers are supposed to avoid those like the plague (:)) ~ but ‘little things’ really can make a huge difference.

Having been confined to close quarters since I suffered a whiplash injury a couple of months ago, I awoke yesterday morning jaded by my all~too familiar surroundings, longing for pastures new and clearly on the road to recovery. The Artist had no Age UK assignments ~ he keeps Wednesdays free ~ so, after a leisurely start to his day off, we loaded foster~dog Indie into the car and set off.

We live on the relatively small (but beautifully formed) Isle of Wight, off the southern coast of Britain. After driving along a practically deserted road for about twenty minutes, we arrived at the ferry port of Yarmouth. But we weren’t intending to escape to the mainland, it’s way too stressful over there! However, as each part of the island is different, this short expedition to the West Wight provided the break from routine that I was craving. (as I’m not supposed to say, ‘a change is as good as a rest’!)

It was a mellow Autumn day, lending the small, historic town a holiday atmosphere: sunlit tables outside busy cafes; late season tourists ambling along ancient streets, unique shops selling crytals, Morrocan lamps and artwork, the background hum of boat engines on the water.

We took our Cornish pasties from the deli where they were cooked, down to the narrow beach beside the pier, engaging in dog~related conversation with passing strangers between bites. Ignoring her admirers, Indie sat patiently at our feet, hoping to be rewarded with a tasty treat. She was, of course!

On the homeward journey I felt content. This unexpected trip, though short, had energised me and I feel happier today than I have for quite a while.

I’m going to nurture that. 🙂

Nurturing Thursday is hosted by Becca Givens, author of the inspiring blog ‘On Dragonfly Wings with Buttercup Tea.’ To read more about it, or to find out how you can join in, press this link.

Other ‘Nurturing’ contributors are:

Crowing Crone Joss

Inside the Mind of Isadora

Laurie’s Notes

Pocket Perspectives

And…..finally….to read my earlier ‘Nurturing Thursday’ posts (all 14 of them!) please visit Wightrabbit’s Blog