Over the last month, Jason and I have been have some serious discussions about that elusive work/life health/paying the bills balance. After the scare of going on sick leave in April/May and months of making a concerted effort to take my health into our hands, I’m actually in a better place with my arthritis than I have been in years. Twelve years, if fact. My rheumatologist has declared me in temporary remission. My naturalpath is tickled with my progress. My husband and family doc are cautiously optimistic. But they are also all worried that if I go back to full time teaching in the fall, I’ll be back on sick leave before too long.
Me, I’m happy with the progress I’ve made… I’m only one medication, for heavens sake! Yippee! But also know that I have a ways to go. I need to manage stress better, and heck, simplify my life. I also need to exercise regularly and spend more time with my hubby. Over the summer, I was very worried about not only going on sick leave again, but rather, losing this precious ground of remission… And not getting it back.
Enter the “third metric” coined by the folks at HuffPost. The idea is a redefinition of what matters in life.Not money or power, the traditional measurements of success. But quality of life.
The current, male-dominated model of success — which equates success with burnout, sleep deprivation, and driving ourselves into the ground — isn’t working for women, and it’s not working for men, either. …”The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money & Power,” (focuses on) redefining success to include well-being, wisdom, our ability to wonder and our ability to make a difference in the world …how we can chart a course to a new, more humane, more sustainable definition of success — for women and for men.
I think Jason and I really adopted this quality-of-life approach when we decided to move to the Okanagan instead of fast-paced Calgary, for lifestyle and value reasons. But major decisions like moving to halftime work and obstacles like disease really make you reexamine what is most important, and what you can do without.
The apparently obvious choice of moving to half-time work isn’t so easy, because the reality is that my husband works as a loccum vet, a contract saver-of-animals, of sorts. He has waxing and waining income, typical of the professional self-employed. On top of that, we’re opening our own clinic in April, and then he might not have much of an income at all. I’ve been the regular breadwinner for the last couple years. AND, if our adoption pans out, my current salary determines how much support we would get during parental leave, as well. So I wanted to go halftime, and stay in remission, but our finances “as is” wouldn’t allow it.
This is the second part of the third measure. I’m a business prof, and I know what you measure is what gets prioritized, budgeted for, and done. So we decided to revise our budget around health. We asked ourselves… What kind of work could I do that has less stress, a flexible schedule, and no travel? What things are we wasting money on? IF I had more time, where could we save disposable income? Which fixed costs aren’t as fixed as we think?
After much contemplation and budget finessing, we decided I should move to half-time teaching, quarter-time expand our family business, Africa Sleeps, and quarter-time “save money,” ie: bake bread, make cleaning products from scratch, etc.
It’s going to be a big shift… Starting already! And I hope I can make it work. (Everybody buy our new Africa Sleeps products when they come out!! Lol) I guess you’ll all find out when I ever return to full time work in January, or stay half time!
PS: Would anybody be interested in how we are cutting costs? Is that blog-worthy?