What day is it?

My husband bought me this coaster for Christmas. I love Winnie-the-Pooh, so it was quite a safe bet from someone who has made some questionable gift choices in the past. But it made me think for quite a different reason.

When I had a job, you know, one of those things where you get a regular salary and they still pay you even if you don't show up (sometimes, at least), I would definitely have related to this. A lot of my part-time colleagues didn't work on Mondays, and this coaster probably explains why. After all you get a three day weekend from not working Fridays too, but they didn't do that.


But now I work for myself, and Mondays are not 'working days'. In fact none of my days are. When I leave the house I don't say 'I'm going to work' but 'I'm going to clinic.' Because 'work' is something you don't enjoy, and I love what I do.


Now I'm aware that a lot of people love what they do, and wouldn't do anything else. But the prevalence of cartoons like this one shows that as far as society is concerned, you spend 40+ hours a week 'working' at something you hate, and the rest of the time either recovering from working, or girding your loins ready to start working again. If you happen to enjoy your job, then twattish co-workers or obnoxious managers will be flung into the mix to make sure your 'working' life is at best miserable. You do this for 50 years, and then you're allowed to retire and if you're lucky, enjoy life. In order to fool us into doing this, we're conditioned that we haven't any other options. From an early age we're programmed towards getting good grades so we can go to a good university and get a 'good job' so we can buy a house and a car, get into a relationship and have 2.4 children or however many the average is these days. Until we've done these things we aren't 'successful'. But success comes in many forms and a surprisingly large number of us, having followed that formula, find we aren't happy and don't therefore feel all that successful.


My point is that you don't have to hate Mondays, or your job, or anything else in your life for that matter. If you do, then change something.


So often, people say 'I wish I could change but I can't. I have no choice'. I used to say this. However now I've learned that you ALWAYS have a choice (and indeed have held forth on this subject here). True, sometimes that means some consequences that you don't want, but if you look at things creatively enough there are always options. I reinvented my career in my (very) late 40s, giving up a secure, well paid job with excellent prospects in favour of self-employment. It hasn't been easy. I've had my panicking days. I have a fraction of the money I had before. But I'm so, so much happier. As a result, I don't miss the money nearly as much as I thought I would. I don't feel the need to buy shoes by the ton in order to cheer myself up because I'm cheered up already. And when my business has developed to the point it's planned to (and is on track for) then I'll have the money to do the things I want to do as well as the ones I need to do anyway.


My friend, who I qualified with as a Bowen therapist, is just going through this journey now. She's resigned from her well paid, secure job to go self employed and to be frank, she's shitting herself. It's a scary thing to do. A year ago she was telling me there was no way she could do it. OK, her life has changed so that it's now possible in ways it wasn't before - but that didn't happen by magic. She didn't sit on her sofa wishing her life was different and being miserable about the fact it wasn't. She did things that could have prompted change, and they did. They might not have, but if she hadn't done them she'd still be stuck doing a job she didn't like and wishing things were different.


So instead of the 'new year, new you' campaigns all over Facebook, instead of signing up to a gym or Veganuary in the hope of making yourself thinner and therefore happier, I respectfully suggest that you sit down and think about what you really would like your life to be. Then think about how that might happen. Instead of saying 'but I can't because of...' think about how you could overcome that barrier. What changes could you make, or prompt, or make potentially possible, that would lead to 'and now I can'?


It's ok to decide you don't want to make some of those changes after all. Sometimes when we start really thinking about how to get what we think we want and what getting or having it might mean, we realise we don't want it as much as we thought we did. But that's good too, because now you're not being sad because you haven't got it.


Change is scary. It might upset people. You might get told you can't or you shouldn't. Someone who really knows what they want and isn't afraid to go and get can be upsetting for less brave people. But this is your life, and you only get one go at it. Change is frightening, but regret is a bugger. And do you really want to be thinking 'fuck, it's Monday' every week for the next 30 years?


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Caeredwen is a counsellor, coach and physical therapist based in Coleford in the Forest of Dean. If you would like to contact her in confidence you can reach her at hands@magichandsbowen.co.uk or via her website at www.magichandscalmminds.com.



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