Tuesday, 17 May 2016

'Enough' has given me the treasure of more life

I had a dream last night, one in which I patiently and coherently explained (well I said it was a dream, I'm not that coherent in words unless I'm writing them down!) to my direct superior just why I want to live life rather than work more, even if I didn't have mummy-duties that dictated my working hours.

As if on cue, once I'd woken up from my dream and was, actually, at work, an argument came up in which I was the only one saying (and mind you the only one who actually is a parent!) that however old my son gets, as long as he lives with me I will not leave him alone in the mornings at home just so that I can work on more days or add more hours to my working week. In the same way, I said, I would not expect my son to return home to be by himself after school just so that I can add more to my work hours. Six or sixteen, my son deserves my company and my attention more than my bank account does.

However, I must also point out another thing. Whilst I will never put any money-making job hours before my family and friends because I do believe they deserve my presence and love, this is not solely about them either. This is, probably surprisingly to many reading this blog, also to do with giving myself the presence and love I deserve.

Yes, you did read that right! Because seriously, even if I had no one to attend to and no commitments to keep, I would still not work more hours in a week purely because I'd rather attend to myself thank you very much. Time does equal money, but not, for me, the same way it does for what has become unfortunately the majority of people in the first world. Time means money precisely because it costs me money (namely the money I could be making but don't) to find the time to breathe, to play, to live. 

Tell me, how alive do you feel slaving away at an office desk for at least eight hours a day? How do you feel needing to tell your son there's no time for him in the weekend simply because a full-time job results in your battling urgently-needed laundry and messes on those sacred days you've look forward to all week long?

Now don't get me wrong. I am not accusing mothers who work long hours to make ends meet for not getting enough time with their child. Neither am I saying that a woman should not have a career or should be the one taking care of the school run. All I am saying is, I was pretty disturbed to find that I am only 'allowed' to work less because I have a child to see to. As if life is all about work and that I (or anyone else) might necessarily bother with more hours 'lost' out of their lifetime spent on a job to make money that is more than enough. I think that is the key phrase here. If more people were advocates of enough, or at least understood it is all we need after all, maybe there would be less stress in the world (and less unemployed people for everyone working less hours and therefore 'sharing' their hours!)

Now most will be under the assumption that by enough I mean simply get by, which is not the case. The true definition of enough is to be content and to buy/care for stuff only if it is helpful to you, truly makes your life simpler, more beautiful or is indispensable. I personally find I couldn't live without a dishwasher so that is part of my definition of enough in my first world life. I also would never get rid of our tv set, regardless of how many other Minimalists swear by the change in their life post-tv-set. I will also keep collecting DVDs like there was no tomorrow.

However no impulse-buy clothes make it into my wardrobe any longer, I cap my book collection to the space I have on the current shelving which makes me rethink buying a book unless I really want to read it, simply because of the challenge of having to sell or give one away! I've stopped buying expensive (and useless) face creams and lotions that promise I will look younger or not age, that my skin will look more beautiful or that I truly couldn't get by without it. Instead I only buy the things I know I will use - choosing face masks over daily cleansers and washing my face with that very important and refreshing ingredient called water rather than buying sticky facial washes that I know I will hate the feel of on my face.

As a result of embracing enough rather than gluttonously always striving to get more, regardless of whether we actually even want something, I have found that I can actually work less and in the process have more time in my life to live more.

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