Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Little Joys of Time

This weekend, we're watching our neighbors' dogs and chickens. The parents farmed out the kids, and headed to the beach for 4 days of quality couple time. In order to do this without using up precious vacation time, the wife worked 4 12-hour shifts, 4 days in a row -- yikes! And she'll do 4 more of them when she returns. All for 4 beautiful days of escaping at the beach - my neighbor is a hard worker at an Urgent Care, and her work is important, but stressful. She deserves the break!

They have a lovely home: 2 fireplaces, huge yard and in-ground pool, hot tub, arbor swing. Adam and I sat in their swing this morning, perusing their yard. Sandy sniffed the verge in peace, as their 4 dogs were locked in kennels inside. And it seemed odd to me, as I relaxed there in the swing with my under-employed husband and my unemployed self -- odd that in order to unwind and be together, they left all this and go to the beach. They work so hard on their yard; it seems every spare minute in the warm months is devoted to mulching, mowing, trimming, blowing, cleaning, weeding. Now, they do enjoy their yard a LOT, and so do their friends.  They entertain and allow friends to come even when they're not home. And even though I adore the beach ... if I had this yard, would I want to leave?

Another friend wrote a blog post today which I enjoyed. She noted that she was raking grass in a nearby park, and putting the clippings in her garden. "I am raking grass because I don’t have a job and I am too poor to buy mulch," she notes. Who has it better? My raking friend, or my very-busy, very-stressed neighbors? Not everyone loves the same schedule;  I personally prefer a slower life, even if it means I get to sit in the back yard instead of on the sand. I think. Closing my eyes against the warming sun, while the waves thud against the shore, sure is relaxing!

Being under-employed gives one more time. There is time to do long-procrastinated projects. Time to visit and sit in a swing. Time to rake grass in a park, and to garden. And time to think. As my raking friend notes, when one must take time to do the mundane, lovely little joys spring up in the middle of the mundane.

I'm not encouraging people to quit their jobs and become lazy. But I am saying that if you find yourself with more time and less money, it's not the end of the world. In fact, it might just be a beginning of something beautiful.


  1. It was surely a gift for you to be able to enjoy their yard, and the joy of leisure. I much prefer hanging around in my back yard to the chore of engaging someone else to take care of it when I am gone!

  2. I enjoyed your blog - I just recently acquired a book on Living Simply with your Children and it's so funny - (not funny ha ha) but funny in the sense it took me back to when Dad and Jenny, Cindy and I loved on Clinton Blvd. (70's were something else-huh?) When I first started reading it - I realized you really have all you need in your own back yard to enjoy each other. I would love to put my cell phone down ( we don't have a house phone) but just in case something happens when the children are at their dad's they need to contact me .. I fear putting it down or turning off the ringer. I love the idea and am going to work on this 'simple life' more this summer and coming year. Families these days are running hither and yon so much they miss out on the 'life' right in front of them.

  3. Tam -- I do think it is a shift in lifestyle that is individual to each family/person. For some it involves a pretty whole-hog return to the land. For some, it is just a slowing down in commitments, less travel, less technology, more face-time with people. More time to contemplate. For me, is often involves time being creative in music, writing or crafts. Write a little about your journey in this, and put it on your blog!


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