it was planned to be a one year off, go back to work, work a good few more years to build up a nice pension. Unbeknown to me, the provincial government and my employer conspired to radically throw this careful planning out the window. As the year was nearing its natural end, my boss Denis Powers called me, at the cottage, to advise me that my position as Senior HR Consultant was axed along with that of all the Associate Deans and Associate Directors at the College. An entire payroll line , just like that, cut from the map.
Oh well. What is the saying? if life throws you lemons, learn to make lemonade!
So fall 2011 gave me a chance to journey with my dear friend Bernadette, after her transplant. I spent several weeks in Vancouver with her, going for long walks daily, cooking, cleaning, accompanying her to appointments, watching TV shows and movies. Just being there with her.
This period gave me pause. What was I going to do with the rest of my life? for starter I played tennis with an unequal passion, until I developed severe tennis elbow! I practiced yoga, changing my half-hearted commitment to teacher training to a full on commitment. As the first year of not working after the year off, i.e. after two years of not really working, I couldn’t envisage going back to an office, dealing with union leaders (let’s just say that one of the last staff union leader had been a pretty miserable and awful woman to deal with), so I let go of my HR Certification. That was it. I cannot say I have regrets although my income is no where near where it was!
So what has happened during these past three years? I have become a yoga studio owner: I teach yoga 5 – 6 days each week, I train constantly, which means going to classes with senior teachers who make me discover new spaces within.
I garden intensely, growing most of the veggies we eat all year round. I invite WWOOFERS to stay and garden with me at Blue Cottage Gardens on Salt Spring, where I have a mini organic farm. This is hard work: weeds know how to invade any area and will take over in no time. But the joy of eating your own grown food, smelling the sweet odour of carrots freshly harvested (do you know that carrots have a smell?), of eating my own sourcrout in winter, making yogourt with blueberries I grew and picked and froze….
I no longer go to meetings where my only consolation for wasting my time listening to stupidities and putting up with posturing on both sides of the table was knowing I was being paid to witness this. I get to eat these delicious food instead.
And then, there were the travels: Guyana, Suriname, China several times, Tibet, France, Italy, Quebec.
The year off became the Rest of my Life. So long.