Thanks to political bickering and down sizing to save pennies of the billions the USA is in debt, I have been officially unemployed for six months. Can’t say I haven’t enjoyed this time off from working for the man. Here are some things to do or think about if you find yourself in a similar situation.
1. Downsize. Sell all unnecessary items. Moving into a small space or better yet a van will help facilitate determining what you really need to live and even be happy. Hint, it’s not a bunch of shit put away in a closet or shed for who knows how long. The extra cash will help you along without a job too.
2. Go travel. This is such a good way to forget about a sudden lack of routine that a job once provided. More than likely, you have some place you have always wanted to go. If you’re like me that list is a bit longer than one location. Traveling on the cheap is much easier than you think especially if you camp and couch surf. You also get to meet all kinds of awesome people and most are excited about your current opportunity for freedom and adventure and will encourage you along. Think it is too expensive? Walk or ride a bike to your destination (see number 5). This slower form of travel provides all kinds of unexpected situations and encounters.
3. Stay open to anything. You never know what opportunities and fun will find you when you’re not even trying.
4. Take up new hobbies. Trying something new is humbling and exciting. I’ve been writing and swimming a lot more since taking on the new freedom. Writing exercises patience and is a departure from my old job ways of engineering. Every time I go swimming I laugh at myself as the old folks in the public pool show me up but are so nice and give advice and encouragement (just by being old and still getting for some exercise). I hope to still be doing it when I’m old.
5. Stay in shape. One has a lot more opportunities available if physical fitness is not an issue. Want to go for a walk? Climb a mountain? Ride across the country? Go do it and your body can follow. Exercise also keeps the body and mind healthy, cutting health costs and preventing boredom and fdepression.
6. Eat well. Again eating healthy cuts health costs and makes one feel better. A mostly vegetable based diet is better for you, less expensive and easier to keep than meet if refrigeration is no longer a luxury. Check out reduced for quick sale items, soup kitchens and dumpsters. Lots of good stuff gets thrown away. Volunteer at a farm or soup kitchen to get free food. Buy bulk and dried food to cut costs and retain more nutritional value. Always keep some dried rice and beans as a back up.
7. Don’t want to work? Then, don’t spend money! If you decide you really enjoy not working, roll with it (see number 3). The expectation of having a steady job or even a career in this country is daunting. Sure it makes some things easier but it’s not necessary. There are plenty of ways to make enough to live on and still have time to enjoy all your passions. Check out craigslist postings, seasonal jobs, farms, music festivals, volunteer to get into events for free, use your new or old hobbies to make a little change. Also, don’t spend money. Despite what the news says about the economy needing stimulating, throwing what little you have at it won’t make a difference. If you don’t need something, don’t go shopping. Stay in one place for at least two weeks to cut down on gas. When you do have to buy, buy smart. Buy good food and items that will last and have multiple uses. A lot of times, one can make do with what is already available.
8. Stay in touch with old and new friends and family. We could all probably do a better job at this. Use free time to write a post card, keep a blog, give a call or make a visit to that special someone.
9. Be okay with yourself, where you’re at and what you’re doing. I know some have more responsibilities than others but there is a lot that is out of one’s control. Don’t sweat it because there might not be much you can do about it. If you want to make a change or go somewhere, do it. You have nothing to lose and all the time to do it. If you prefer to just stay put in one place, that’s okay. Don’t force anything, including work.
10. Take time to just be. Lay in a field all day, stare out a window, sit in a hot spring, take an aimless walk somewhere. These can be some of the most rewarding moments.