This is a happy post. It might sound like boringly self-satisfied, but I write it because today I’m happy and that’s not that usual. In other moments I do fall under the influence of common wisdom preferences (“how things should be”) and feel such a failure for being unemployed, and too depressive and discouraged to look for a job, and I lose sight of the positive sides of my situation.
So, I’m nearly unemployed. T works and I stay at home and look after the kids. We don’t have a lot of money but it’s enough for a living. My parents (rich kids of the generous welfare state of the 80s and 90s) are paying back the loan for our apartment – which is their present to us all. I take this present as a reward for the fact that we keep living together in peace – it’s a big present, but we deserve it.
I don’t have my own room, but in order to have a big home I should go and work and earn money. These days, and in the town where I live, the available jobs are mostly unsatisfying, nearly enslaving, or require long and uncomfortable working hours. And my skills are not demanded by any employer – so I should give up on doing something I’m good at. Therefore, I prefer to live in a small place, adopt low living standards, and enjoy my free time and my time with my kids.
I know that this way I’m throwing away my high education and leaving unexploited my potential, and sometimes this makes me feel bad, but sometimes I’m pretty happy with my choice. I actually think it’s a choice made possible by my high education, because I have an idea of the opportunity cost of spending too much of my lifetime at work – particularly if my job is far from being my ideal job – and I’m aware that I can choose to not compulsively follow the common wisdom choices.
Free time is such a luxury – it’s what people with good jobs and lots of money are prepared to pay a lot for – and I should stop complaining and enjoy it.