Transition Time

The Holmes and Rahe stress scale is a list of 43 stressful life events that can contribute to illness.  Some years I have gathered a pretty impressive score on this scale…Making big changes to one’s life can either be rather liberating, or downright terrifying.  Strangely, although I think I am a pretty stressy, nervy, risk-averse kinda girl, I usually welcome change.  It feels refreshing, and full of possibility.

When we moved here to Scotland, everything was up for grabs.  The one known factor in the mix was Akira’s job…so nice, and so rare, to have something permanent and fixed that we could do all the rest of our reconfiguring around.  But then, since I have effectively been in some kinda limbo since we left York in 2008…there was a lot of rapid reshuffling to do on my part.

Though I promised to muse here on those things…they seemed a little close to my inner tranquility.  And so unresolved. I think I just wanted to the Universe to reach down and solve all the ‘issues’…and in a little way, that is what I think might be happening.  Though it is taking me kicking and writhing a little too…

I had considered all kinds of things…self-employment (still attractive, but taking more resources/gumption than may be currently available)…re-training (again, an attractive option, but maybe needing more time than I currently have available)…returning to teaching (a less-attractive option that would have involved jumping through a lot of hoops, and taken up rather more time and energy than I was willing to devote)…and of course I was really hoping for part-time work (perfect scenario – except that around here, there was NOTHING on offer that would cover the cost of childcare)…staying home for another year with Kazuo until his daycare is partially state-funded (perhaps another great option, but rather delaying the other hoped-for benefits of re-entering the paid workforce).

Then, rather suddenly (though not without a little effort on my part)…a kinda perfect opportunity presented itself…and I will be off to daily paid full-time work at the University this coming Monday.  Kazuo will begin full-time nursery school – a prospect that probably fills us both with equal dread.  Except that I KNOW he knows we love him…I KNOW that the nursery will take good care of him…I KNOW that in the long term many of the things we hope for as a family will be facilitated by this transition…and although I will miss Kazuo and Mama days desperately…and I will miss the wonderful things that come from being the person who sees him day in day out…we will weather the storms of this transition too…and there is good to come through all of this – and I am SO grateful for the joys of two wonderful years of being always with our delightful boy.

‘Not Working’ is due for a change as I will be working EVERYWHERE…I hope to roll out the new look this weekend…and let’s see how the universe and I manage THIS transition…

All Change

So a week ago, I wanted to write and tell you about the crazy night we’d had.  In fact I had so many other things going on too…bubbling up and running over…and wanted to let them all blog out of me.

Then it got a little hard to get to the PC.

And then I got a little shy…am feeling terribly nervous at the moment about social networking and blogging, and blabbing too much about my world and plastering it all over the web…not that many people read my meanderings, but it is still out there right?  So I took a wee break.  Sorta.

Still musing about all that.

But had to tell you some stuff anyway…can’t help myself.

1.  Last Wednesday night was MAD.  First – we moved to STL just after it was declared the Murder Capital of the USA (think that honour yoyos between several faded-glory urban areas) and so prepared ourselves for regular exposure to shoot-em-out gangsta culture.  Mercifully, it has been pretty quiet.  In fact, apart from emerging from Blueberry Hill on Halloween in 2008 to discover a local cop had just been shot in his car outside the Starbucks opposite, it has been totally tame.  For that we are grateful.  So last week, when we were clambering into bed at 10.30pm, it was a bit of a shock to hear shots ring out in rapid fire just a few doors down from us.  We are none the wiser as to cause and effect, but it did give us a bit of a reality check.  THEN – at 3.30am there was the most incredible thunderstorm.  At this time of year they are loud, long and full of non-stop lightening.  Of course the baby woke up – but he wasn’t scared, just awake, for two hours!!  So we lay around listening to nature’s tempest.  Here is the neighbourhood the next day – you’d think nothing had happened.  But it was a NIGHT!

2. The baby has finally changed from a two naps a day guy to a one nap a day guy – a little early I think, he is only 16mths.  But like all these things, it has been on his cue.  I just read the signals and gently alter what we do a little to suit his changing needs.  He is sleeping much better all round (he’s been pretty good really anyway), so getting him into bed for naps and bed is currently a dream (I know, just a phase, but I am enjoying it for what it is worth.)  But I realise now that I MISS that extra sleep.  I have to bustle around and get two meals (lunch and dinner) in one, often short, sleep.  So online time and crafty mama time is really suffering.  But I do love the time to get out and about in the afternoon (yes, our little weirdling is sleeping in the late morning, not the afternoon like most kids…apparently it is what happens with some children…who’d have thought?) and we are enjoying the sunny playground afternoons.  Here is sleepyhead just after his one nap of the day:

3. We have a destination!  This past month or two has been quite a rollercoaster ride.  However, I can now report that Akira has accepted a position at a university in Scotland and we will be relocating there in the Autumn.  It means I will spend this last summer here hanging out with Kazuo, rather than trying to take up paid employment, which will be nice for all concerned I think.  Our new location will be a permanent move for us, so we can look at starting to put down some roots.  I am really looking forward to being by the coast again.  We are all very happy about this move.  But we have made so many good friends in STL, so it will be a sad parting…we have a summer to enjoy more picnics and loveliness like this – come join us:

Not everything that isn’t working is broken…

For the first time in my life, I have just spent 6 months not working. A curious experience… and one that is not coming to an end in the forseeable future. It has recently gotten me thinking about all the people/things in the world that don’t ‘work’ and what that might mean…

When things don’t work, they are usually a source of frustration – and are often discarded, or put in a pile to be mended or altered. But what about people? And what are the reasons why they sometimes don’t work?

I’m not broken. I’m just in limbo… we are living in the USA for a while since my husband is working here, and I am waiting for a Work Permit to allow me to work… but I am filling in the time incubating a baby, which will probably mitigate most of my attempts to find paid employment once the permit arrives. I’m not alone, the city I live in, for example, is populated with a silent minority of aliens like me who are accompanying scholarly partners and are thus temporarily unable to contribute to society in the conventional manner.

And there are many women (and a small – but happily growing – minority of men) who elect to leave work to raise their families – and their contribution to society is huge, if economically unquantified.

There are some who do not work because work seems to have excluded them… the unemployed, who may have been employed once, but our tough economic times has shut them out of the workforce, or who may never have acquired the skills to enter the workforce in the first place.

There are people who are not working because health limits their capacity for employment, and people who do not work because they are able to subsist on meagre savings and find other ways to contribute to the world around them. And of course there are those who are so wealthy that they do not need to work…

But working defines us in many ways… and not being able to identify myself with a fixed role in society has sometimes made me feel like something important about my place in the world might get broken if this not working thing goes on for too long… So over the next wee while I am going to spend some time here considering what I AM contributing to society and looking at those other hidden people who do not work, but are not really broken either.