The White Spaces


Google calender white spaceI had to go all the way to July to find more than one day in a row where nothing is planned. No to do’s. No appointments. No practices or games. Nothing school related. No work of note.

Of course, July is still empty only because it’s just far enough in the future, and clear of the school year, to be empty.

White space.

Those days on the calendar that you don’t owe anyone, and no one and nothing has yet laid claim to, are the white spaces in our lives. Down time.

I was talking yesterday with my daughter’s school vice principal and his wife. Ran into them at the trade show in town.

Trade show is a big deal. I generally only go to catch up with my government representatives. The MP. The MLA. But it’s a chance to run into all sorts of people. The ones you only see at the Canada Day Parade and picnic or the Farmer’s Market.

I bring up my conversation with VP because it wandered into “going back to work” territory. Something I have been thinking about now that the wee daughter is not wee anymore.

And the thing that runs through my mind is – where would I fit work in?

There is very little white space in my life. Not enough to slip in a full-time job at any rate.

The opportunity I was speaking to the VP about was a part-time position in the school library. Which he’s already filled. But he was curious if I was going back to teaching now that not so wee kid is nearly in high school.

That is the time that SAHM’s think about, or do, head back out into the workplace after all.

I have thought about it.

There is a two-year degree/accreditation  program at the University of Alberta for people who already hold degrees and would like to work with indigenous schools and students that looks interesting. Education is still a passion for me whether I like the box public education is still uncomfortably crammed into or not.

And I am writing again. Seriously tempted to try my hand out more substantive blogging. Politics. Social commentary.

Shouldn’t forget politics beyond the commentary either. Working in politics tempts me mightily. Behind the scenes, of course, but I would be good at it, I think.

But where to find the serious time for such things?

White space is still hard to come by, and I don’t mean the few hours every day between this obligation and that errand or chore.

Of course, the fact that I can even entertain thoughts like white space and how to acquire more of it so I can pursue a career choice for passion rather than necessities sake speaks to an enormous amount of privilege. Not a place I ever dreamed I would be at this point in my life. Or ever really. Yet here I am.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that time management is a truly personal thing. The less you have to self-direct, the more dissatisfied you are likely to be generally. However, having too much open-ended time rarely leads to anything productive.

I can’t say I have any concrete plans at the moment. I am still living from one open day in the calendar to the next and letting that be enough direction for right now. That itself is a lesson. In patience and letting go. I’m grateful for that.

But it is time to plan for the future, or near time anyway. Do something with the white spaces.

Opportunity


In Sondheim’s Into the Woods a line comes up again and again,

opportunity is not a lengthy visitor.

In my opinion, it’s not a frequent visitor either though it does often seem to follow the old saying – when it rains, it pours.

On Tuesday I was offered a presenter’s spot at the upcoming Strathcona Writer’s Workshop in April, and on Wednesday, my yoga teacher asked if I felt ready to teach as she’d been offered a couple of after school jobs at local elementaries that she didn’t have time for herself.

Solid opportunities that I am taking, but it feels a bit odd coming from my background of conventional nine to five work. Free-lancing is such an artsy thing though in truth, I have become a rather artsy person in many ways. Manner, dress and mild distaste for the scrambling that goes on in the pursuit of lifestyle.*

It’s a fortunate space I occupy at the moment to be able to do what I want to do. Not a place I would have envisioned a decade ago. The Des Moines school district, where I taught, is very likely to savagely cut its teaching staff in the next 8 weeks. Even with twenty-three years of seniority, I might not have been safe from that and my mother and BFF tell me that the lay of the land is grim. I wonder at the twists and turns that spirited me away from all that and why.

My writer friend, Abby, once commented that it appeared I was meant to be here in Canada. Some higher purpose? Giving talks on blogging and teaching kids yoga? A dubious purpose, but it could be that humans have the idea of destiny and purpose confused with World of Warcraft questing.

Getting back out into some hippy mom version of the world of employment feels okay though.

*And I mean the choice of lifestyle that many of those around me engage in. I know from experience that for a lot of people work isn’t, and has never been, a matter of anything other than survival.