Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Slowing Down

I didn't go anywhere yesterday.

I'm not going anywhere today, either.

I'm not bored.  I'm not feeling house-bound or stir-crazy.  I am happily home.  I'll cook meals, read, knit, hang out with my boys.  When it gets a little warmer we'll put on our coats and go outside, right into our own backyard.  If we feel like it we'll walk around the block with Girl-Dog, which isn't going anywhere ~ walking is simply process.

I am happy to have slowed my life down.  Oh, I quit the fast lane more than a decade ago, but I've still been living a moderately fast-paced life.  It is only recently that I made a mindful decision to limit how often we go somewhere.

I suppose the seeds were planted last year, when we read several Little House on the Prairie books and I saw them with new eyes.  Ma didn't run to town everyday, picking up groceries or replacing a deflated basketball. Mary and Laura didn't have multiple play dates weekly.  Eating at restaurants on a regular basis simply didn't exist on the frontier.  The family spent most of their time at home with each other.

For me, one key to happiness is being content with what I have and where I am.  I recognize that the happiness comes from within and that there is nothing out there that is going to give it to me.  We make our happiness ~ we can't buy it.

And so I stay home, where my happiness lies.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Well Worn Path

Recently I sat in a circle with my mama friends and we discussed the concept of being in a "rut". The basic premise was that stay at home parents are doing the same tasks over and over again, and they are never completed, which creates frustration and takes away from a sense of accomplishment.

I have to admit to having felt that way in the past.  At some point though, I started connecting to all of the people who have gone before me.  I would make soup and imagine my own great-grandmother stirring a pot on her own stove, adding a sprinkle or salt or a few pinches of thyme.  I would harvest lettuce from my raised beds and hear my grandmother telling me how her aunt always planted onions along the side of the garage in Los Angeles.  I would fold diapers and remember my mom telling me how she had folded simple flat diapers when I was a baby.

Soon I was connecting to more than just my familial ancestors; I started seeing my tasks as the tasks of humankind.  Some things are basic ~ nursing babies, holding toddlers, making meals, washing clothing, sweeping floors.  Some of the things I do are things that people did in the past, but don't have to do now ~ sewing, weaving, knitting, hanging laundry.

I came to think of myself as walking a well-worn path, following in the steps of the people who lived before me.  It isn't a rut; I am free to take detours, to sightsee, to stop for a moment and contemplate my life.  It is part of being human and experiencing humanity.