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.