Monday, 13 August 2007

What does an expat wife do with her time?

I'm kind of getting sick of being asked this question and I thought I would get my thoughts out there once and for all.

It's funny you don't see retired people constantly being asked, "What do you do with ALL your free time?" but I guess it's totally incomprehensible that someone under the age of 60 (who is not a full-time student or full-time mother) does not work full time. I guess people look down on you. A LOT. Look at Paris Hilton for example!

There seems to be four types of people in this world:

1. Those who are workaholics and feel that if you aren't working 40, 50, 60 hours a week there is nothing to do and it becomes 'boring'. They 'live to work'. They can't understand why anyone who want to retire, they want to work forever!
2. Those who 'work to live' but not 'live to work'. This seems to be the most popular type. These people wished they didn't have to work but don't mind their job too much and the income that it brings.
3. Those who don't work but wished they were working. This is usually students who wished they had more cash, or homemakers who used to have great careers but are now at home looking after their young children and prefer their old life. Retirees, also who wish for their job to give them 'something to do'.
4. Then there is the non-working type who don't mind not working.

I obviously fit into category 4 and my husband into category 2. My father, category 1. Retirees can either fit into 3 or 4.

I guess for workaholics (1) you are deemed a lazy arse if you don't work. Simple. For non workaholics who work (2) they are - dare I say it - jealous of anyone who doesn't have to work.

My husband and I agree that as long as you have something meaningful to do with your time then not working is fine (obviously assuming that you can get by on one income). So, the million dollar question is: What do I do with all my free time?

First of all, I am not someone who likes to fill their week with endless activities one after the other. It in fact exhausts me and I am perfectly happy to do just 'nothing'. I do not get bored easily.

The things I have managed to do since being here are:

1. Perfecting my cooking ability. I have gone to being totally incompetent to maybe quite alright.
2. Learning and continue to get better in Mandarin.
3. Taking up learning Spanish.
4. Working on my website which will hopefully get me an income in the near future.
5. Meeting up with friends.
6. Eating out with my husband and just 'growing together' to use a corny phrase.
7. Going to the gym and staying fit
8. Going to the Chinese herbal doctor (TCM) on a regular basis so she can fix all the things 'wrong' with my body.

I can honestly say that I feel a lot happier and healthier than when I was back home.
I haven't been sick in ages, my skin looks better, my hair and nails are strong and grow like crazy.

How can anyone say that my life is unfulfilling? Bah to them, I love my life! :)

1 comment:

Michele said...

I fall under # 2 and totally wish to be # 4. Ahhhh.. I'll live vicariously through you for awhile. I'm in Shanghai too and an American expat (without the financial package of some expats!).. perhaps we can meet for coffee or shopping sometime...