Never on Sunday

February 12, 2012

I wrote about my new schedule in a previous post, and while this may not be helpful in a very practical way for anyone reading, I thought I’d give everyone whose schedule is unideal for them, a little dose of hope and insight.

When I began working as a music therapist in the summer of 2006, I began with one hour of work.  It was on Sunday.  I gradually filled in my schedule over time with various regular part-time work, and per-diem contract hours – three of which also managed to snake their way into my Sunday schedule.  There were some weeks at the beginning where I would work for 13 days in a row before having a day off, and I took so many Sundays off for family gatherings, weekend trips, holidays and weddings, that I could almost see actual dollar bills flying out the window.  It was not working for me.  I have some friends who work on weekends, and that seems to work for some of them, but I have learned, as part of a mission to be more balanced, that having one day off a week is not healthy for me, and because of the amount of events that are scheduled on weekends, is is not good for my wallet either.  For those of you who are self-employed with a comfortable hourly rate, picture the paycheck from 4 hours of work.  Multiply that by 12 or 13 (or more) and subtract that from your yearly income.  OUCH!!  And that’s just from Sundays.

Anyway, after five and a half years of Sundays, last weekend marked the first in an endless series of Sundays where I will no. longer. have. to. work. I woke up late, ate a leisurely breakfast, took a five mile run, took my dog for a thirty minute walk, painted a picture, paid some bills, blogged, and then my boyfriend and I had a friend over to watch the Superbowl.  It was everything I thought it would be.  Almost.

The thing that I didn’t expect, was that I wouldn’t know how to utilize all my newfound free time!  After my run, walk and subsequent shower, I had no idea what to do with myself for the three hours until the big game (which I really couldn’t care less about) and it made me tense.  I asked my bf what I should do, and his suggestion was for me to paint (I used to do this all the time).  I haven’t painted in so long that I forgot it was a option!  Painting, making homemade cards, writing, composing, coloring and drawing were things that I only had one day to do, and usually that day would be taken up with hours of hiking in the woods with the dog, trips to the grocery store, cleaning the apartment and making meals.  I enjoyed those days, don’t get me wrong, but I definitely forgot about all the OTHER stuff I used to enjoy, that I really haven’t had any time for over the past five and a half years.

I realize that this is a wonderful adjustment to have to make, but it’s still an adjustment, no matter how ecstatic I am to be experiencing it.  I expect that adjustments are a constant part of our lives, and that the better we deal with them, the happier we’ll probably be.

In one of my facilities, I work with well elders.  Some of them have a zest for life and have come to accept their disabilities or hardships as inevitable while still carrying on an optimistic and realistic existence.  Others remain in the past, however, pining for their younger days, and having quite a hard time with the realities of aging.  This may be a repetition from a previous blog post, and I’ve been told that I should “wait ’til you’re MY age,” to go jumping into an attitude of invincibility toward the frustrations of aging,  but I like to think that my positive outlook and my awareness of what will eventually happen to me will prepare me for the less pleasant adjustments I’ll need to make later in life.

Now back to the good adjustments, and my second Sunday off…

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