I’m back at work today after being on vacation since August 28. This was the first time I’ve had a totally unstructured week in God-knows-how long. I was sinfully boring—I left the house only a handful of times and didn’t do anything that most people would classify as “exciting” or “fun.” I caught up with a friend I haven’t talked to in way too long, read several books, worked out most days, wrote a little, and DH and I hung out, watching the third season of Survivor and starting up a scheme of tracking the calories we’re eating on a spreadsheet.
The last time I spent money was 8/31—just realized this and am rather proud. Lately DH doesn’t seem to be wanting to eat out quite as much. Usually he’ll suggest eating out about twice a week, and we’ll end up eating out 6 or 7 times per month. But in the last month I think we’ve only eaten out 3 times. This is probably not because DH doesn’t want to eat out, but rather because he’s getting sick of the places we close to us. Also our homemade pizza is getting better, so there’s less incentive to get delivery. Any reason is fine with me. I don’t like eating out as much as he does and it’s one of our more significant expenses.
I picked up a few groceries on Monday night, but paid for them on a gift card we bought back in April. In an upcoming post I’ll talk about our grocery strategy, which is not as cheap as it could be as we buy a lot of luxuries, but I think we generally get the best possible price for each item we buy.
Two big projects I worked on this week were trying to get a literary agent and preparing to volunteer at a nearby Sudbury school. I sent out ten or so letters to agents and got a bite back from one of them—my first request for a full manuscript! I spent a big chunk of yesterday looking at my novel and tweaking sentences here and there. This agent apparently requests a lot of manuscripts, but I’m very pleased that there’s enough strength in my manuscript for someone to ask for it.
A Sudbury school is basically a democratic school, meaning the students choose what to do with their time and each individual has a vote in school decisions. Most people find this concept odd or frightening, and I don’t know enough about it to really defend it in detail, but the principles behind it are similar to the principles behind unschooling, which I have more experience with. I’ve seen unschooling work very well for many individuals, meaning that they become functional adults who are generally happy, able to find work that they enjoy, and able to attend college if they want to.
I visited a Sudbury school last spring and am really hoping to be able to volunteer there. I think schools like Sudbury schools might be a better model for society in general than unschooling is, as there are various practical considerations that make unschooling difficult for many families.
I considered this vacation a mini-mini-retirement. I loved being free to structure my own days, deciding when to get up, what to do, and when to do it. I did some things that might be considered "work" (particularly the query letters), but I enjoyed them because they were things I wanted to do and I could decide how to approach them.
When I started thinking about coming back to work, I dreaded having to go back to doing things that I don't consider very important or useful. I just don't care very much about a lot of the things I do. I look forward to the day when all my days can be filled with thing I do care about.
At some point I'd like to do a "sabbatical" or mini-retirement of a few months and see how I deal with freedom over a longer period of time. My suspicion is that I would like it so much I would end up not going back to work. DH sometimes says he thinks I would get too lonely or depressed being home every day. I did get lonely one day last week, but quickly remedied it by having two good phone conversations. I don't think the limited and low-quality social interaction I get at work is really that valuable to me.