Thursday, April 17, 2008

Striving Not To Be Busy

Rod Dreher over at Crunchy Con writes about how stress is taking its toll on his family. He talks about how even though their economic situation is sound and their lives relatively uncomplicated, his 33 year old wife has developed shingles. Shingles usually strikes older people, although in younger people, a prime culprit can be stress.

In particular, here's a portion that I found interesting. He speaks of a friend's friend's friend's friend (or something like that) who had won an incentive trip to the Caribbean, with other hard working people in her division:

The friend came back startled and even shaken by her encounter with workers in their 20s and 30s. All they could talk about was work. All they wanted to do was work. Their whole lives were built around the office, and career achievement, and working more hours to achieve more success at the office. And my friend's friend, who was in her late 40s, thought these young people were crazy.
(The emphasis is mine)

To me, that is a most unfortunate state of affairs. Perhaps if these people did not have families, this might be acceptable, somewhere in the universe. But if these people have families, their priorities are messed up. I am largely preaching to the choir here, I believe.

I despise being busy. It stresses me out, and I don't like stress (who does?). I make a concerted effort not to be busy. Others might be in a different season of life than us, but I love that we are in a situation where Harmony can be a housewife. It's less stress for both of us. On a typical afternoon/evening after work, I get home, we eat dinner, then we usually go outside together and talk about the garden, talk about her day (not much interesting stuff in my days, usually), talk about the dog, talk about life, etc. We'll end up back inside, where we don't do much. Sometimes we'll take a walk, go to the park, or take Luna to the dog park, but for the most part, we stay home. And we like it that way.

I have noticed the trend in commercials to appeal to busy people. More and more, I hear commercials on the radio saying "If you're as busy as I am, you don't have time to X and Y, that's why Z is quick and easy!"

I always found it a bit backward that while the most important earthly relationship is between husband and wife, typically the husband, wife, or both see their co-workers for longer periods of time each day. Don't you think that's backward too? Something's a bit inside-out about that, and unfortunately, my job is not one where I can telecommute. So this un-busy life we try to lead is one that, in a way, tries to compensate for the inside-outness. I imagine this feeling will only be strengthened when we have children.

I don't participate in any extracurricular activities at work. I'm not saying that it's wrong to be involved, but for myself and my family, it's not what we want right now. There are more important things and people in life than the leadership association or the quilting club. I don't really hang out with "the guys" or "the buddies" much, because 1) I have not really kept up with college friends, and 2) it's just more time away from my wife, unless she can come too. In the very early days of this blog, I wrote a post about lacking worldly ambition.

Of course, we make exceptions for church. We try to be at most church events, and we have somewhat made it a rule that if someone invites us out to lunch, we'll go. But I have been in a church which seemed to imply that idle time was SATAN's time. We had activities almost every day of the week. Many of these were officially voluntary, but if your attendance was inconsistent, someone would eventually question your commitment to God. The high level of stuff-to-do was fine for a single college student, but times have changed. I would have none of that now.

Does all this make us seem homebody-ish? Good, it should. I don't see what's wrong with being a homebody, if you define it as "a person who prefers pleasures and activities that center around the home." That's what we are striving for.

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  • MJShabbir

    Good content!!! If you have some time. Please do visit http://www.chemmaster.blogspot.com

  • Ginny

    Why you... you... HOMEBODY you!

    Yes, I suppose you were preaching to the choir, but sometimes it is nice to hear it from someone who can articulate it.

    I was talking to my brother, who is on the fast track and doesn't want to be there. I told him that when I go to town and there are more than a couple of cars at a light, I start to get nervous. That is too much traffic for me. He laughed and said that that is a nice place to be. I didn't think about it before: what a nice, quiet life I lead. My beloved, on the other hand, works 1 1/2 hours away, in Columbus, as a computer programmer. Coming home is paradise for him. Quiet, peace, reality, love, farm, garden, etc.

    Maybe someday we can decide to be poor, happy, dirt farmers...


  • JunkMale


    You probably would never want to move to the Atlanta area, if more than a couple of cars are too much for you. You might choke and die or something. At our interstate exit intersection when I'm coming home from work, there are regularly about 10-15 cars waiting at the light in one lane. There are two lanes at our exit.

    So it's always nice for us to get to visit quieter places like Harmony's grandmothers' areas. Although my parents' area of Florida is growing by leaps and bounds, the atmosphere is still much more laid back and quiet than anything around the metro Atlanta area.

  • Ginny

    We moved here from Florida (Orland/Daytona area) and I was used to it, then. Also, when we lived in Spain, we lived right in the middle of town. People used to walk by our bedroom window all hours of the day and night. We literally lived one on top of another. At one time, I was used to the hustle and bustle, busy-busy, noisy, no privacy stuff. I worked and drove many miles on the interstate. But, after just a few years out in the country, three miles outside a medium-sized town, I am used to the quiet life. Sometimes, I go into Columbus and get on the freeway and it takes me a couple of days to recover. It sounds funny, but I like it that way. I know, however, that if it were ever the Lord's will for me to live in a city, again, He would give me the strength and grace to pull it off with joy and peace.

  • Ginny

    P.S. We have family in Woodstock. And, in all our travels over the years, we have been through Atlanta many times (one time at 2:30 in the morning during a hurricane evacuation from Florida). That is something I avoid as much as possible. I will drive many miles out of my way to avoid cities and beltways, etc., if at all possible or my beloved allows it. ;-)

  • Birdie

    Yep. You are definitely preaching to your fellow homebodies in the "loving G-d and our families" choir here. ;) You said it all much better than I could have, though.

  • Ewokgirl

    I think it's nice that you prefer to go home and be with your family. That's how it should be.

    People always wonder why I don't work. (Okay, so I work a couple of days a week each spring tutoring at middle school for the TAKS test, but most of the year, I'm a SAHW.) There are a lot of reasons, including the fact that I was sick all the time when I was a full-time teacher. But what it really boils down to is that I'm terrible at multi-tasking. I can't even do something else while talking on the phone, so working outside the home and keeping up with the home just don't happen simultaneously with me.

    I don't believe in living life stressed out if I don't have to. And I don't have to. My being at home makes my husband's life less stressful, too. He likes not having to worry about running errands or what's for dinner.

    Our church used to be program driven. They were constantly begging for workers for this and that. Many people were overcommitted and stressed out because they just didn't feel as if they could say no to ministry. Personally, I find saying no to things to be very important. I think everyone should be involved in a ministry at church, but no one should be involved in everything. I think our church used to have certain programs just because they thought we were supposed to, nevermind the fact that it didn't really fit our church's needs or that people couldn't fit in yet another activity. Thankfully, many churches, mine included, seem to be finally stepping away from program-driven ministry, which just seems to add to the general busyness of our culture.

  • CappuccinoLife

    Does my heart good to read that. I often feel "lazy" because we aren't crazy busy like the people around us.

    Our church is program driven too, and now that I've got a foot in the door (teaching Sunday school every other month) I'm finding it hard not to get sucked in to everything else. The head of children's ministry is definately overwhelmed, but I can't take on that burden if it hurts my family. :(

    My husband is not one who's comfortable taking walks in the park and having much "family time". However, one of his major goals is to have his own business so that we as a family can work together, and at least eat meals together.

  • JunkMale


    Kudos to you for mainly being a SAHW. Everyday people usually seem to be able to understand staying home with kids, but not many people seem to understand why anyone without kids would be a housewife. I always make it a point that my wife say she's a "housewife," not that she "doesn't work."

    I don't think Harmony necessarily got sick when she was working, but her work environment (bank) was one such that she couldn't always snack when she needed to, which was bad. Her branch also had no chairs for the staff, probably because some bureaucrat in a plush cushy office made a mandate that it's better customer service if tellers are standing all the time. How lame.

    I definitely agree with you that having the wife mainly at home makes life easier for both of us.

    You seem to have married a polar opposite. Am I right? From your writings, it seems to me like Josiah has the blood and soul of an entrepreneur.

  • CappuccinoLife

    lol, yes, you've pegged him. :)

    The man will never, ever, ever retire.