Reapportioning Our Lives

From the AP wire:

Unemployed use time for health, hobbies and family

FOND DU LAC, Wis. – Jay Capelle would give anything to get back his factory job of 32 years. At the same time, he’s grateful to have extra time on his hands these days to care for his ailing wife, stay in shape and work on a long-planned baseball documentary.

The unemployed are stressed out about unpaid bills, dashed retirement plans and the loss of workplace camaraderie. But many say life minus work also has its bittersweet upsides, including more time with family and friends, learning new skills, focusing on their health and pursuing hobbies.

All of these people said they would give up their newfound free time in a heartbeat if they could land jobs. And most spend hours each day trying. But as unemployment spells drag on longer than anticipated, they have allowed themselves to enjoy activities not directly related to the job hunt without feeling guilty.

Others are spending time in the classroom.

Andre Lovato, 55, of Waukesha, Wis., who was laid off from his job at a signmaking company in 2006, earned a degree in printing and publishing from a technical college in December. Lovato, who has applied for 35 jobs since then without any luck, devotes his free time to woodcarving, sketching and computer illustrations.

Here’s a gem from the Slingshot Collective:

You might think that with all the technology and abundant material possessions capitalism has created at the expense of the earth’s environment that people in developed countries would be the happiest people in the history of the world. But capitalism – with its constant competition and insatiable appetite for more – corrodes the human spirit and human cultures just as surely as it destroys the natural environment. We have undergone the greatest speed-up in the history of the world. Time to spend with our families, time to be in nature, time to learn about the world for its own sake, time to make music, time to master a craft, time to just sit and be still – capitalism rations it all.

I’ve been officially underemployed (sort of – I have a wee bit of freelance work for pocket money) for a couple of months now, and honestly, I’m loving it. I’m finally making headway on my novel. I’m gardening, knitting, learning to bake bread. My apartment is actually clean most of the time. I’m reading, reading, reading, reading, reading. I don’t have a whole lot of money, but that just means I don’t buy a whole lot of stuff.

Of course, if I had a major illness, a child to feed, or even just a more expensive apartment, I wouldn’t be singing the same tune.

To everyone out there who’s looking for work – I hope you find happiness and security very soon.

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One Response

  1. We need some balance–job sharing (with health benefits), smaller homes, more theatre, less massive production–so that there is that time and enjoyment of life while providing basics.

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