Monday, August 23, 2010

Granite, formica or ... plastic tv trays?

Wow, it's been a while. Well for me that is. I've been busier than balanced in general but it's ok, I think. I've been scheduling, scheduling, scheduling social time and enjoyed every visit I've snatched up in the past couple of weeks. My how I love connecting with people, especially the ones who I know want to be connected with.

I've been trying not to allow myself to write for the sake of writing because it tends to allow me to be more negative than I'd like to be known for. However as of late I've had a couple of (ok so I'm avoiding the Oprahism 'A HA' so bear with me as I think of an appropriate term ...) 'I get it' moments. Some were more 'Why don't you get it?' moments (sorry but it's true.)

The other day I was invited to go to a bridal shower of one of my colleagues at work. Generally I hate showers of any kind (you know what I mean) and I avoid them like the plague. However in this case my co worker herself invited me to this little shin dig and insisted that I come. Initially I was told (by her) that it was a night on the town with bars and fun and such, something I don't really fit in well with but I thought this would be a great opportunity to try as this would be an older bunch and I figured a good group to ease into this party situation with. When I read the original invitation I laughed at the wording and how NOT young this group was (not that there's anything wrong with that).

It wasn't until I checked my e-mail and learned that the planned 'outing' was a ploy to trick this chick into thinking it was just an outing when indeed it was a good old fashioned bridal shower. yay.

I had already committed to going so off I went to suburbia to party hard with the ladies surrounded by toilet paper and trays of party food.

I arrived miraculously with little confusion which was surprising considering the fact that there were at least 3 turn-abouts (is that what they are called?) and well I think I've mentioned how terrible I am with regular directions let alone ones that require astute attention with every turn.

The shower was at another co-worker's place which I quickly noticed was in a newer development. I didn't give this a whole lot of thought until the door opened up to a wondrously beautiful home. Dark wood cupboards in the kitchen covered with granite counter top, a large beautiful island that worked perfectly for the buffet of snacks. The fireplace and large open concept welcomed many, without fears of claustrophobia honing in.

Now remember how I don't think it's wrong for people to enjoy these sorts of things? Well I don't, in fact I celebrate it and love it, especially when I get to visit and enjoy and be a part of a comfortable gathering. I love when people can open up and share what they have with others, no matter what it is that they have.

I need to take you back about a week and a half to a conversation I shared with this co worker while we were coming and going one afternoon. She knelt over my open car window and said 'I think it's time for me to give up working weekends. I've worked weekends and evenings for 40 years. I want to enjoy my time!'.

No doubt. I've been working evenings and weekends for a year (in this field) and I think it's for the birds (what the heck does that mean anyways?).

In that moment as she shared her fatigue of her unwelcome schedule I slouched further and further down into my car hoping and praying she didn't know what me schedule was. Feeling like perhaps she was testing me to fess up with the fact that my unearned schedule was pretty good. I was waiting for thunder and lightning to strike and her eyes to go red and start glowing at me. Seeing down to the deepest part of my soul.

Fortunately for me the moment passed and I didn't get found out. Phew!

Let's get back to the shower.

As I quietly walked into this incredible home and appreciated each little extra feature it held I immediately remembered our conversation a few days earlier.

By no means is my intention to judge her and hand down a sentence of 'serves you right lady!', though clearly I had my measuring tape out very much ready to do these things. I couldn't help but wonder if she knew the secret and was ignoring it, or if she hadn't found it yet.

So often I have heard people at work go on and on about being 'over hours' or 'always working' or whatever. I generally assume they have to do it because of financial reasons (we don't exactly make millions in our field). And by financial reasons I mean for food and their survival, not for granite counter tops.

As the ladies at the shower visited at one point the conversation steered head on into various thoughts about this beautiful home. Many were commenting on it's loveliness but our host wasn't so sure. Apparently they'd built before (maybe even a couple of times) and they just couldn't seem to get it right. She listed off the many things she didn't like about this home and someone retorted jokingly 'When are you moving?' Everyone laughed but inside I couldn't help but feel very relieved at my discovery.

Life is people. Life is enjoyment. Life is relaxing. Life is love. Life is ... what we make it out to be.

I know, I know, you (along with my psyche) are saying 'Yeah and life is hard, life hurts, life sucks, life is sad, stressful, heart breaking, a pain in the ass, and a boat load of other negative descriptions. Have you lost your friggin' mind Eva?!'

Well, probably. But I have to point out how much we bring a lot of these things on ourselves. Think about your car payment ... does it stress you out? Either it does or it doesn't. It may because you know it was a bit out of your price range, or it may not because you were smart enough to know what you could afford in the first place (and you may even be laughing if you're a genius without one!). How about rent or your mortgage? That trip you went on last year or the clothes you bought last weekend.

Is it really life that stresses us out or is it how we approach it. I know I'm speaking more right now about material things but I think the notion can easily be transferred into emotional things. I wouldn't trade for one minute my house back (although I talk about it a lot) for the lessons and skills Wally and I have learned over the past 2 years of living in a city in an apartment starting over.

I wouldn't add an extra hundred dollars to my paycheque in exchange for the time I've enjoyed with friends over the past couple of weeks. None of it's worth it.

Try it, try looking at how you organize your time, your talents and your affections. You'll be absolutely amazed at how many little things you can change and how much more joy you can experience. I'm learning slowly, yet quickly that life is so much more valuable than money and stuff.

I realize that it's easy for me to say as I have a partner to share life's financial burdens with but I have no doubt in my mind that we can all free up a few things in the name of our peace of mind.

We owe it to the time we've been given to use it wisely. So .... do it and enjoy!

Disclaimer: As I said earlier I don't think it's wrong to have nice things. I do think it's sad when our focus on these things causes us to overlook the limits of the time we've been given. I would not have mentioned this story if I hadn't first heard the musings of a discontented heart.