I had a four day weekend this weekend. Before you get too jealous I should explain that it was a result of furlough days, so I didn't get paid. But nevertheless it was nice to just relax and it felt like a surprise on Friday night when I realized, "wait, today wasn't Saturday, tomorrow is Saturday" and on Sunday night when I realized, "I don't have to wake up at 6am tomorrow after all!"
On Saturday I spent a large portion of my day at my all time favorite coffee shop in Long Beach, Viento y Agua. A lovely friend sat down next to me and we had little snippets of conversation throughout our time there. At one point we were discussing our attempts to simplify our lives, and she said something more profound than I think she realized for where I am and where so many of us are in life...
"prune and grow"
Tim and I had a pot at our old studio filled with mint. Mint is an extremely invasive plant. Technically, by nature of being "invasive", it is a weed. We never found enough recipes to use it all up before it grew to the point of choking itself out. About once a month it would begin to shrivel and wilt and brown. The leaves became smaller, bland tasting, and on their way to death. We discovered that all we had to do was cut it back to only a few small leaves that would catch the sunlight and feed the whole network of roots and vines. We would bury all the other vines and roots except these few leaves and give it lots of water every few days. Then, without fail, in a few weeks we would have a pot full of lush, bright green, flavorful, fragrant mint with huge, healthy leaves.
As of October of 2010, for the first time in at least 8 or 9 years, I have 1 job. Just one. I wake up at the same time of day 5 days a week. These days I have one schedule to manage, one paycheck expect, one roommate to coordinate lives with, and the list goes on. I can remember the days of 8 hours driving all over so cal working for the agency, and then changing clothes as I drove over the Vincent Thomas Bridge from PV to put in 6-8 hours at the restaurant and coming home without an ounce of energy to let my roommates or friends know I cared about them...and then waking up to do it again. All the while jumping on any chance to babysit and pick up some extra cash to make ends meet. It all created a world in which I was subhuman. I am so grateful for the good gifts God has given us in the last year. For blessing us with the chance to live a more simple life.
While I was sitting next to Aly Saturday at the coffee shop I was crocheting a scarf. She starting talking about the rarity these days of hobbies, at least for enjoyment's sake alone. Even our hobbies can become chores, projects that hover, or another avenue of making some extra money. I have no idea who this scarf will be given to. I had no need for it. I have no deadline. I just like to crochet. It's relaxing and fun. I have to fight the urge even to want to fill my life with more hobbies. :)
Prune and grow.
I think when we allow our lives to just fill and fill with extra obligations and tasks and projects we begin to die. And every area of our lives is affected and begins to suffer. Nothing is full and rich, but everything becomes dry and lifeless and tired and stifled. But if we can refocus on the 2 0r 3 things we want to pursue, we'll flourish and grow and become better people for the world.
back to my scarf...