I recently started a really high-stress job, and I say this having spent years waiting tables - not exactly a low-key profession. In any case, I've always had problems compartmentalizing the stress of work. I'd often take it home with me, fully recognizing this was not the sane or healthy thing to do, but letting it happen all the same.
Yes, letting it happen, because it is a choice.
Dan and I have had quite a busy agenda since moving to Chicago; weekend trips, time with our families and reuniting with friends - not exactly the lifestyle we've had in the past few years, which was more leisurely and a lot less focused, at least for me. Time together and at home has became a premium, and maybe there is more of a sense of urgency at this point in our lives, but we started doing all the things we'd been talking and reading about for so long - gardening and building things, cooking at home more because Dan no longer does it professionally - and so we created a reason for living that was larger, and much more meaningful, than our jobs. And in the space of time that we carved out to attend to our home and grow our hobbies, I finally started feeling that working was a means of being able to have and sustain the kind of life that I wanted, and not the end goal in itself.
I've long lamented what I believe is the misguided focus of state-run education, the emphasis on traditional markers of success like status and money, but only recently have I realized that I was still a victim of these mental trappings. I definitely had felt that external success or accumulation of things could bring internal peace, even though I wouldn't admit it. And so maybe that's why it was easy for things that happened throughout my day to follow me home and affect my personal life, when I believed the work was the important thing.
But here I want to be careful, because I don't want to confuse "work" and "jobs." It is very hard work to garden and cook and build things, but perhaps more enjoyment may be derived from this type of work, from creating something from nothing, a very instinctual kind of soul-fulfillment. Jobs I take to mean anything you do for money, in order that you might eat and drink and have a place to live.
In any case! An update on our garden:
We are still patiently waiting for a time when there are no freezing night temps, and until then our garden remains on our window ledge, where I rather like it, and will be sad to see it go. We're talking about our next round of planting, though - tomatoes? Something will have to take its place. The lavender will stay indoors - its coming along pretty nicely now. I'm looking forward to making a lavender oil if we get enough blooms. I have a friend who soothed a really painful burn on her wrist with lavender oil - a helpful thing to have around kitchens.
Can ya see 'em?! They're just barely there, but each day a new bud pops up, which is neat.
Our little zen corner of the world.