A balanced lifestyle – this seemed like the ideal – a utopia that so many seem to be seeking. Being at a stage of life where my children are independent, I have a level of financial stability and the chance to both work and have a country lifestyle. Sounds idyllic. And I probably could have pulled it off. But what if you fall in love with one of the lifestyles? What if being in the country means also wanting to be part of the community and participating in activities? What if you want to add to the animal collection – chooks, cat, another dog? What if it becomes a wrench every time you have to head back to the city for work (which you still enjoy, but not as much as the other option)?
I have found myself in this position. What seemed like the perfect lifestyle balance actually ended up as having to make some hard choices – I just want to be at the Convent most of the time and not “balance” – which was becoming making sacrifices rather than getting the best of both worlds. I know I’m extremely fortunate to be in this position. However I have the choice between a balance of work and lifestyle or an idyllic lifestyle – I’m opting for the latter.
My workplace has been great – they were there when I found the Convent and have participated in my excitement all the way through. I’m planning on continuing to play a role for them, albeit more remote, helping with some of the work that I really love but Convent-style.
This lifestyle stuff can be challenging – it’s when you start thinking of trade-offs v choices – are you giving things up or just getting more? There’s no right answer. Balance is not an analytical equation and means making some very personal decisions. I hope I’m making the right ones – I obviously think I am.
A close colleague once explained to me that life comes in cycles – especially for women. The first 25 years is becoming a person – growing up, no longer being a child and becoming an independent individual. The second 25 years is often being something to others – a wife, a mother, an employee. I think I’ve done this plus a lot more. I’ve had over 30 years in corporate life and nearly quarter of a century in a marriage and as a mother (which I will always continue to be). Post 50, the next 25 years becomes yours. The children are no longer dependent, you hopefully have more flexibility financially and you can make some major decisions for the remainder of your life. I guess I feel I have paid my dues and am now making my decisions. I also know that this will require some major changes and readjustments.
By the end of the year I hope to be permanently residing in the Convent at Kandos. I’m not quite sure what all of this will mean. I know I will have a lovely home, I will love and nurture my garden, including being as self-sufficient as possible. I know I will get more involved in the community and contribute to a town that has made me so welcome. I know I will get more creatures, and I know I will continue to do some ‘work’ work but no longer crank up 60 – 80 hours of pressure. I will also continue to be a Mum.
It’s exciting but also a bit scary. One of the more adult decisions and for the first time, it’s one I’m making just for me …