My younger sister and I don’t see eye to eye on politics, but we agree on this: we’re both ready to stop working so darn hard all the time! By working hard, I mean the non-ending projects that distract from the things we want and love to do. For me, my never ending projects center around the farm; picking fruit, making jam, canning and freezing fruit, freezing vegetables, making pickles, tending my flowers and landscaping, caring for my roses, planning meals, cooking supper, cleaning up the cooking mess—I could go on and on—all on top of the typical household chores. I’d rather be writing, painting, playing the ukulele, playing with my granddaughters, having coffee with a friend, taking a walk in the woods or fishing. Especially fishing. I’ll write about that another time.
I inherited the genetics of a long line of overachievers. My ancestors came from England to this continent in 1638, quickly establishing themselves as community leaders. They were farmers, surveyors, statesmen, business owners, and eventually Revolutionary War soldiers. My maternal grandmother, born in 1900, lived and died in Beavercreek township, Dayton, Ohio. She was the first woman to receive her pilot’s license in Ohio, recognized as one of Ohio’s most influential women, and singularly influenced Ohio governor Mike DeWine to enter politics. You couldn’t beat the woman at cards, especially bridge or hearts. Just lay the cards down and concede. My mother also had ants in her pants. We jokingly called her the energizer bunny and even in her nineties she looked for ways to be productive.
I guess projects are part of who I am although I’m working hard (no oxymoronic pun intended) on cutting back. It isn’t easy to let go of six decades of ingrained patterns, but I do enjoy life more when I prioritize what needs to be done and what I want to do. I’m reminded, “It is vain for you to rise up early, to lie down late, to eat the bread of sorrows” (Proverbs 127). I’m not entirely sure of the idiomatic context, but I think it speaks to those of us who tend to burn the candle at both ends. What possible good can come from constantly working only to find we’ve sadly missed the joy of living and eaten a plate full of sorrows? Even so, I will be making dilly beans today. And cleaning house. Sigh.
There are times and seasons of life. I am lucky to have lived long enough to experience different seasons. Our winter residence in Florida has given Ron and I a place to lay aside the constant work that has thus far defined our lives and experience new adventures. We’ve made friends from different backgrounds and various interests. We regularly take our boat out on the ocean to catch dinner. Often, we’re lucky enough to be able to share our catch with our neighbors in the condo complex where we seasonally reside. We are living the dream in that environment. I increasingly find it harder to leave Florida and look forward more to being there. Enjoying life, I've found, is addictive.