Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What is Good Work?

It is a trip to come back to this blog. The past two years have been a whirlwind period of my life where a lot of things changed and a lot stayed the same. Recently I started a new blog as a place to mull over my latest life questions when I realized the new issues have a lot to do with the issues I used to discuss in this blog.

In essence, when I used to post to this blog I was going through my things and trying to figure out how to simplify life by cutting back on clutter and possessions. I wasn't alone in this. I didn't know it at the start of my journey, but simplifying life was a theme that tons of people shared.

I stopped posting when I ran out of things to "cut in half". I'd gone through my clothes, my books, my kitchen, my kids' toys - everything. I even got rid of my car for a month and hoofed in everywhere. I talked about cutting back on utilities and so on, and the food budget...what else was there to do?

Well, lots actually.

When I tapered off of posting here, I revved up a new home business. I started with editing, added audio book production and then sequed into publishing. My publishing business is now a going concern. We put out over 50 audiobooks last year and they appear everywhere from Amazon to Audible to Barnes&Noble, to libraries all around the continent...It's an exciting business and really gratifying work.

But something's been happening lately. A few things, really.

1. My body hurts. All the time. My eyes hurt, I get headaches, I walk around like an old woman - all stiff (and I'm not an old woman!), I've gained weight....quite frankly, I look like crap a lot of the time.

2. My children are now raised by wolves. Okay, not really, but I'm not sure who is raising them, because I'm not. Okay, okay, my husband has picked up a ton of slack and that's probably okay - he has a better relationship with them, appreciates what it takes to run a house, and has gotten to cook all the food he likes to eat for the past two years. I, however, feel like a peripheral object in the mirror - smaller than I should appear. The house doesn't feel like mine anymore. Sometimes the kids don't feel like mine.

3. I am beginning to wonder if there is life beyond the computer. The things I create have no physical presence in the world. On the one hand that's good - no trees have to die for my books to live; they are all digital. On the other hand, I feel like I'm selling books in a world that's inundated with books to people I'll never see....and sometimes I wish the fruits of my labors were more immediate. I have a side job teaching preschool three mornings a week, mostly to get me away from my computer for a few hours every other day before my eyeballs explode. I used to rank it lower than my intellectual publishing job. Now, however, I am valuing it more and more. It's real. I perform a service that has immediate implications for my customers. I'd like it if more of my work felt that way.

4. I am taking the good part of good work more seriously. As my husband says, we keep talking about things and not doing them. Isn't time to get to it? I've never been a climate change alarmist, or one to jump on a bandwagon. I figure we'll probably make it through the rest of my life without too much hassle - especially up here where we live. Still, I'm beginning to take it all more seriously and wondering if it's time to think about the longer term. My husband craves a small farm - has been craving it for years. I can get on board with it, if we can find the right place.

Oh, I'm running on and on. What I'm trying to say is that instead of being into slow food, I'm getting into Slow Living. I'm tired of running all the time, tired of being chained to a computer, tired of huge corporations making decisions that affect the quality of my life.

So now - Halving it All is going to be about work and life, finding the balance. Wanting a little less, working a little less, but doing more good work and wanting more good things.

Does that make sense?

1 comment:

Paula said...

You are very inspiring. The internet is the great equalizer, we can be anywhere and hang out with people we would never meet in real life. It's all exciting, but can be overwhelming trying to find the balance.