Why is it that we define ourselves by our work or lack of?

Why is this I ponder?  I am an able bodied woman in her forties who can’t work due to my condition schizoaffective disorder.  People look at me and don’t understand why I don’t work but I find most people are polite and don’t get into it and I am thankful for that.  But there is always that awkward silence when being introduced, when the question comes up, what do you do?  Right now I am able to answer that I am a stay at home mom who helps her elderly parents.  I don’t mention my vast education that is unused at this point in my life, nor my former work as a therapist intern which I worked at for 4 years after earning my Master’s degree in psychology.

That seems so long ago but it was only last year.  I have learned much in the time I have been off.  I have learned to be more present for my family and friends and that I love to entertain.  Getting the house and lately the gardens in order gives me a sense of purpose and excitement for the upcoming event.  Gardening has become my new passion and the class I am taking currently helps me to do it right.  I have some days when I spend the whole day looking after the yard and my gardens and at the end of the day I am tired but satisfied to play with the earth.  Spring right now is beautiful with all the flowers and greenery surrounding us where we live in California despite the drought.

My dogs also are my constant companions at other times of the day.  They lay next to my feet and are much happier now that I don’t work.  House cleaning hasn’t been as much as a painful chore and I like the days when I get to cross off my google keep list another chore done!

I go to my AA meetings too and get inspiration to keep going without using drugs and alcohol to deal with stress although I don’t have much these days except now and then.  I read and watch my shows throughout the day and even joined a book club which is stimulating for the mind.  Right now I am reading Stephen Hawking: the unfettered mind.  In all his disabilities he kept going and really left his imprint on this world.  I am really enjoying reading about his life although the science is over my head for the most part.

So back to my original question.  Why do we feel defined by working or not?  I don’t anymore but others may not feel the same way.  The only reason now why I would try to work again is because we really need the money but at what cost would that take place if I end up in the hospital again with another hefty bill?  I am going to try to write a book like Stephen Hawking did and solve all my financial woes although right now I am actually doing ok with the finances but that is because I am still receiving disability.  I am going to write a book about fulfillment outside of working I think.  Something to do anyway with some of the free time I have left!

Some of the brief benefits are easy to notice as I have shared on here.

Have a great day everyone, I am going to start my book and see where it takes me!  If anyone has any ideas on how to get published will you let me know?  I self published through Create Space and didn’t sell very many copies.  I would like to reach more readers not just through Amazon.

Pax

Victoria

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2 comments on “Why is it that we define ourselves by our work or lack of?

  1. Hi Victoria. Ashley Smith is a schizophrenic in Atlanta who published an anthology of her blog posts. I don’t know who the publisher was, but here is a link to where you can find out http://overcomingschizophrenia.blogspot.com/. Other than that, on publishing, just go to a self help section at a bookstore and find out the publishers of the books that catch your eye. Approach them. As for your “what do you do?” problematic with social situations, it took me many years, but I get around it by saying I’m retired. I wrote it on my facebook, my twitter, everywhere, Christmas cards. You can always come out of retirement if you feel like it.

  2. Thanks Ann for the link for Ashley Smith. i just ordered her book and am excited to read it. I will check out the bookstore next time that I am at the mall:) I do feel retired so it is not misleading. Thanks again for writing in! Pax

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