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Compartment 14B

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To everything (turn, turn, turn) there is a season.

2009-08-19 - 12:30 p.m.

I cannot believe I’ll be going back to work in only a few weeks. I’ll have been off for just over 15 months and that includes two summers in a row. I know, I know, you Americans who read this probably can’t believe that I could take all this time and not only have a job waiting for me but have been paid 93% of my salary for the first 12 months of it. ‘Cry me a river, beyotch’ you’re probably thinking, and I wouldn’t blame you. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel weird to be contemplating the return to the daily commute, the office clothes, the lunch sans kids (who will be ensconced at daycare 4 days a week and with my husband on the 5th), the talking and interacting with adults, and the using of my brain a bit more.

Hm. That doesn’t sound bad when I put it that way… But, but, BUT! It also means the end of lunch with my husband regularly, trips to Ikea whenever I feel like it, teaching at the gym during the mornings during the week, family outings to the museum on Mondays, and a snugly baby dozing in my lap all afternoon.

Three months ago when my maternity leave officially ended I thought about what it would have been like to return to work and I couldn’t imagine it. And when Biscuit got the flu and had all those doctors’ appointments I was so glad that I was there, home for him. But now? Well, September has always seemed like a good time for change; for buckling down into a new, more industrious routine. Summer is great in a lazy, hazy way, but there’s something to be said for feeling like you’re getting stuff accomplished too.

As we prepare to move next week we find we’re also thinking about some of the big stuff: do we want to continue to do what we do for a living? Should I look for a different position with my current employer? Should I change what I do or look for something similar? Should I maybe even look at temporary assignments elsewhere and we can move the family for a year and try out a new city? What would J like to do? He’s getting a bit tired of his current business and is starting to keep his eyes and heart open to other possibilities. Does he still want to own his own business? Work for someone else so he can have less responsibility? Stay home with the kids for a year if we go somewhere else?

I’ve learned a few things about myself in the past 15 months: I like the salary and security of working for my current workplace. I thought I maybe needed something more challenging or interesting or creative or more fulfilling, but I think I will look – eventually – for something that fits me better with the same employer. God knows there’s a large variety of jobs to try out where I can keep my seniority and benefits. And my photography business can fit into my life but there’s no way I can make enough at it to make up for losing my current job, so I will keep it as a sideline for now.

I mean really, I make a decent middle-class income, at a job I don’t really have to work that hard at and lets me focus on my “real” life when I’m not at work, I get 4 weeks paid vacation a year, I have dental benefits and a drug plan… I’d be a fool to leave that at this stage of my life. Plus I have the job at the gym to keep me in shape and provide some spending money and a membership for my husband, and I have the photography as a creative outlet that I make the odd bit of extra cash at. And all this is on top of the best part of my life: my kids and husband and the rest of my family. I am blessed and I am not only thankful that I’ve got it this good, I’m thankful that I recognize how good I have it.

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P.S. A big congratulations to Nancy, who may have deserted her blog but has welcomed a new baby boy into her life this week.

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