Saturday, July 25, 2009

A time for every purpose

I have had a wonderful three month break from work, and today is the last day.

I achieved most of what I wanted to do:

*DH and I went to Melbourne together and had a wonderful holiday
* I went to sewing classes and have made 3 quilts. The latest one is pictured here -my "Christmas quilt" which I enjoyed making very much.
* the driveway project is finished-the pictures are here on this blog
* I have had lots of physiotherapy on my shoulder and it is improved -this would have been very hard to do when I was at work full time
* I have read lots of books
*I have had leisurely lunches with friends

The garden has had some work too. We set up a new raised garden bed, and have planted it with green manure which is just now coming up.

We have planted two pomegranates in the front yard.
The broccoli have begun to be harvested, the mushrooms are on the second crop and the cauliflowers are getting bigger.

All in all I have had a wonderful time! One of the most wonderful things about such a long break has been the sense of being completely relaxed and at ease. It is a sense of 'coming back to myself" -who I am when I am not "busy busy busy".

I can see how wonderful it would be to have more of this kind of life, but at the moment I am still a working girl. I am not unhappy to be going back to work. In these difficult economic times it would be churlish to complain about having a job. I know that there will be stressful times ahead, but I have had the season of rest and now is the season for work again.

One of the challenges for me in going back to work will be to keep the balance between work and life which we all aspire to keep, but struggle to actually do. One of the disciplines I have been practicing for over a year now -before my long service leave began in fact- is the practice of having one day 'off' per week.

It means being disciplined to get some work around the house done on Saturdays so we can relax on Sunday. It means being determined to save Sunday from all the challenges which come up to fill it up with stuff that does not refresh or renew us. Often it simply requires patience -yes, we could spend all Sunday doing this or that around the house or whatever, but we will choose instead to read, to nap, to drink coffee or wine, to listen to music.

It often requires a simple word which is, however, so hard to say. "NO!" We need to use this word to keep ourselves focused on the main goals of our lives so that we do not clog everything up with too many commitments and too much to do.

I am keen to keep up my quilting even when back at work and one of the ways I intend to do this is to take more classes to keep my skills growing.

I am planning at least one day of working at home each fortnight, because the office is very busy and hard to get good quality work done there.

There is one other 'tool' I have to help with this: I have a small group of friends who meet every Sunday evening to support each other in our lives. We keep each other honest about the promises we have made to ourselves, and in particular to the challenge of just taking care of ourselves by trying to have some time in every week when we are not 'over achieving".

I am sure that they will be keeping me to the promises that I have made myself about the 'time for everything" as the working life starts again.

The record of my life here on this blog is also a tool for accountability -so if you see me sliding away from the goal of 'simplicity" -you have my permission to nag me back into line!

I would be pleased to hear of any suggestions you have of things which work in creating a balanced life.

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