How do you spend your days off? Do you like to read, take a nature walk, go to the beach, browse bookshops, binge TV shows, play at the park, see a movie, sail, go out to lunch, meet up with friends? If you do any of these things, you’re doing it right. So what’s wrong with me?
I currently have two part-time jobs equaling 36 hours a week, plus I take on freelance work when it’s available. I cook dinner six out of seven nights of the week, five if no one will be home but me. So why did I spend today, my day off:
- purging five bags of sheets, bedspreads, and pillowcases from my linen closet
- driving those donations to the Goodwill
- grocery shopping at not one but two different stores
- unloading the car of seven full bags
- putting all the groceries away
- making bread dough and stretching it on the hour, as needed
- sweeping the entire first floor
- mopping the entire first floor
- sitting at my desk (eating lunch there as well) to do two-plus hours of paid work
- vacuuming the upstairs bedrooms
- shampooing the carpets in two of those bedrooms
- cleaning the shampooer, which gets disgusting after use
- and then sitting back down at my desk until I have to leave for church in a couple hours before heading back home afterward to make dinner, put it away, and clean up
I mean, who does this stuff? Who spends all week working, only to spend all weekend cleaning and running errands and doing chores?
According to Deepak Chopra, I am doing everything so wrong. I am not building “time affluence” (well, Deepak, all this work isn’t building me monetary affluence either, but I think I understand your point). Chopra thinks people should be structuring their days to have plenty of free time. In turn, we will be happy.
So apparently, that’s my problem: I don’t know how to enjoy life.
Here’s some background: I grew up in a tiny Cape Cod in upstate New York, seven people—eight when my grandmother stayed with us—in 1,200 square feet of space. My dad worked five, sometimes six, days a week in a blue-collar job. My mom worked as well, mostly part-time, while handling much of the household chores and making most of the meals. We rarely ever ate a meal out.
My dad helped out, too: He cooked on occasion and grocery-shopped, and he was very handy. So handy, in fact, that we never had a laborer in our house and never brought a car to a mechanic. No, things weren’t Chip-and-Joanna magnificent, but they ran again if they broke. (Actually, just the right amount of duct tape can fix anything.)
As a young child, I didn’t see the value in do-it-yourself. I envied families who hired people to come in and do work on their houses, believing they had more than we did, that they were special. So, I was very happy to come home one day from school and see a work crew in our front yard. What? I was so proud that my dad had actually hired out a job.
Finally, we were able to pay someone else to do the heavy lifting. Finally, I’d be like everyone else.
Turns out, the crew was from the city, putting in a sewer line.
I am very much my father’s daughter. Instead of hiring out a job, if I can do it, I will do it. Installing flooring? Check (even though my joints would ache for weeks afterward). Painting the cupboards? Check (even though it took me five weeks between my regular jobs to finish it). Drywalling to cover a gaping hole in the dining room wall after a plumbing leak? Check (even though I had to wallpaper over my handiwork).
But I’m nearing my 60th birthday, have a health condition that messes with my joints and nerves, and I wonder how much more of this I can take. Maybe it’s time to take it easier. But the work just never ends. As Roseanne Roseannadanna would say, “It’s always something.”
For instance, one of our bathrooms is in desperate need of a new sink and vanity. I painted the bathroom a few years ago, replaced the flooring a couple years before that. But the banjo-shaped sink and counter made of God only knows is crackled and disgusting. Dirt and gunk get in every crack. The plumbing backs up too. We’ve needed to replace it for a decade-plus. I haven’t done much about it because it’s a job I just cannot do.
What I can do, however, is measure the sink and countertop, drive down to the Home Depot or Lowe’s to buy a new one, and maybe even hire an installer to put it in. It’ll cost $400 to install each piece, if my memory serves me right, but that may be the best $400 (or $800) I spend in my life.
It may decrease my monetary affluence, but it surely will bring me much-needed free time. Right, Deepak?
Source: You’re Spending Your Free Time Wrong: Here’s What to Do to Be Happier and More Successful, https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/06/how-successful-people-spend-leisure-time-james-wallman.html .