Why is it that we work most of days looking forward to the day we can have time off. I remember that one of my first thoughts after hearing I was pregnant was, “How much time can I get off work?” Perhaps not the noblest thing to admit, but it is the truth. I had been working as a journalist and been burning the candle at both ends. Time out was something I craved – Or so I thought.
Every parent knows that a baby is a full time job and then some, so it’s no mystery how my maternity time off went. Having spoken to others who have either just had leave, given up working for some other reason, the story seems frighteningly universal. Time away from the working mill never seems to live up to our expectations, and for some reason, we MISS working. Crazy, huh?
It would seem we are social animals, pack animals even. We dislike drudgery, conforming, being bossed around, and being managed to the millisecond – So why do we miss it stops? Most people find the euphoria of freedom lasts around a month at most. Pretty soon after that we seem to actively start replacing our obligations – Some join clubs, get a plot, find someone to care for, visit the pet store. Others do charity work. We will go to great lengths to find a grindstone.
It makes sense to love your grindstone. After all, out of all the shackles in the world you picked yours, if not initially, then by not swapping it for another one as soon as you developed the skills or opportunity to do so.
What is a grindstone? By definition it is a thick disc of stone or other abrasive material mounted so as to revolve, used for grinding, sharpening, or polishing metal objects. So it’s a hard, repetitive,cyclic thing that polishes / a harsh, distasteful thing we do over and over again to earn us money, or enhance our world in some way.
Over time, I have had many grindstones, and I sure you have too. I have learnt that as soon as I shake one off, I pull another one in. It has been said that a human being can learn to love almost anything, and I don’t know anyone who claims to get pleasure out of feeling irritable. If we cannot learn to love our grindstones, then at least it would be sensible to try to like them, or at the very least to stop hating or dreading them. Managing ourselves is never easy, and I do not have the answers, but in my quest to spend less of my life feeling annoyed I have found that introducing some simple habits is slowly improving things. Nothing big, anyone who knows me will tell you that I am lazy, dis-organised, and like an easy life. I had to wait until my grindstone annoyed me so much that making some effort to change things was simply easier than just carrying on with things the way they were.
1. Get rid of any nasties that you can (I threw out my toaster and iron so lost the crumbs and gained some creases)
2. Delegate and see if anyone else wants some of your drudge. We all seek grindstones, so ask around.
3. Remind yourself that you chose your grindstone, so OWN it. There are no victims here!
4. If you want, swap your current grindstone for a different one. Ie: You need to earn but you do have options
Once you have sifted through the things you want to change, list the things you will work towards changing. I have things I can change, but not right away. Jotting these down gets them out of your head, and doubles as goal setting. It gets a bit easier from there on. I find that reminding myself that I designed my life and can change it helped for me. As kids we learnt manners and how to control our behaviour and therefore how to control ourselves. I use this now to change my worst thoughts and to keep my reactions in check. Changing thoughts takes a bit of practice but can be done. When I notice hating thoughts I try to catch them and change them. I do not want to work a repetitive job that steals half of my day, but I find that telling myself it’s easy and that spending time chatting with work mates and networking on my breaks has value, I do feel the tension in my shoulders ease.
It’s not just the Devil that’s in the detail- The soul food lives there too. If I focus on the small things that I enjoy within my drudgery it helps me get through the tedium with some sense of enjoyment. Slowly, the big bug stuff seems to shrink into perspective and I find more things to smile about.
While working on better ways to pay the bills by making money on-line, make money on-line properly I am also working out ways to have more enjoyable days now.
If you are in the same place as me, and dealing with your grindstone today too, I would be interested to hear what works for you. Drop me a line or ten and let me know?