Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Time, transitions and tasks
I just realized I addressed a very similar topic in a previous post called "The Simple Life." Forgive the repetition. Obviously this is something on my mind a lot these days!
The other night I started reading a journal I kept during the junior and senior year that our sons were in high school. It's been a very enlightening walk down memory lane, and coincides perfectly with the upcoming anniversary of my husband and I moving to this area and our sons going to college.
Children leaving home is one of those events that you know is going to change your life, much the same as giving birth does. And just like giving birth, what follows is a period of readjustment -- of schedules, lifestyles, and interests -- and one's general happiness depends on how well we transition.
It took a few years for me to make the transition, but I think it's safe to say now that I have successfully transitioned now and am no longer mourning the loss of my role as a hands-on Mom to a family, and no longer wondering what comes next. What comes next has been happening for some time now. In fact, I've noticed that my social calendar is more booked with work, dinner parties and events than it has been in probably 20 years.
But within that change, or any change we go through in life, for homesteaders the question can become one of integration. For much as I learned how to integrate my homesteading activities with the kids' schedules when they were in school, I have now had to learn how to integrate them as a working, mostly-empty-nester.
For me, it means I've had to learn to say "no" again. Frequently. Last Wednesday, for example, Big Ag and I were invited to a dinner party. the same day, a family friend wanted to come up for a visit. A group I'm active in scheduled a board meeting that night. And a couple we like to socialize with came into town and wanted me to go wine tasting with them during the afternoon.
I said no to all of those lovely happenings except the dinner party, because there is only one of me and only so much time in a day. And more than just having things that I also needed to do here, there were things I wanted to do here...things that I consider part of the good work and the good life we live. And I wanted to be here doing those things more than I wanted to be doing any of the other things (although make no mistake, all of the aforementioned social activities would have been fun.)
So, for me, the biggest lesson I've learned is that if I want to keep growing my own food and doing all the other homesteading activities I enjoy doing, I have to give it priority scheduling, which means turning down other things. Unless I want to be making soap at midnight, or canning at dawn...slogging through chores during times I'm sure to not enjoy doing them.
We choose our friends. We choose our work. And we also get to choose how we spend our time. But in choosing the homesteading lifestyle, sometimes we have to choose our own homemade soap over a day of wine tasting, or a morning spent watering and weeding over coffee in town with a friend.
These may not be easy decisions, but if you value what comes out of your kitchen or your garden, they are necessary. And they carry with them a peace, a mindfulness, and a tangible reward that is extremely satisfying.
Because saying "no" to one part of your life can often mean saying "yes" to another.