Saturday, 8 May 2010



It is often said that if you have lost your way in life and don’t know what to do about it, look at what you loved to do as a child, and start there. As a child I loved to make things, especially food and textiles, to garden and ride my bike. It has not changed.

My part time business is textile based, and for most of my adult life I have had an argument going on inside my head about whether I should earn a more meagre living as a textile artist or a better off one doing something a lot heavier. Whenever I become too focused on the money instead of the love of the craft, it seems to let me know in some way and back I come to what I love.

If you follow your heart, your brain will tell you to be practical and remind you that there are bills to pay.

But continue to push yourself and to do things that challenge your integrity and your well-being could be at risk. It is quite simply bad for our health. And what if you didn’t make it to retirement, because the job you pushed yourself to keep doing had made you sick?

Simplicity offers a way out:

Eliminate the surplus spending that does not add to your quality of life. Save up a nest egg instead and then you can take a year off, take a risk, or use the money to do what you really want.

A job that is not in line with your integrity tends to lead to higher spending anyway, in the form of expensive holidays, treats to compensate for having to work and through having to pay for things that there is no time left do, such as cutting the grass and housework.

Now ask yourself these questions:

• What would make you really sad if you never got to do it?

• If you just went and did it, what is the worst thing that could happen?

• If that worst thing did happen, could you live with, or deal with the consequences?

My Dad was 80 in February this year. These are his questions, and my sister mentioned them when she gave a talk at his birthday party. I reckon they may have something to do with why he is still fit, active and happy at the age of 80.

Few of the things that keep us fit, active and happy actually cost a lot of money. STRESS may even cause more harm to our bodies than many of the more concrete health concerns we read about such as food additives etc.

Does it really make sense to work full time in a stressful job that you don’t love in order to pay for supermarket organic veg that has travelled half way round the world?

It may be better to work part time, have a simpler lifestyle, relax a lot more and eat local non organic veg...

Even better, grow some veg and don’t worry about the rest.

I just got hold of a ‘free’ green guide to my area. It is actually advertising for local ‘green’ businesses, which pay to be in there, and get priority for an article if they advertise. There is nothing wrong with that of course and I used to advertise in it myself.

However I am struck by how many different ways there are to spend money in order to deal with a malaise which is largely lifestyle based, or to do with stress and general discontent with our lot. Almost the whole magazine if filled with articles and advertisements about complementary health clinics, stress and relaxation treatments.

You need to work more in order to pay for all those treatments or therapies, but maybe working less and spending less could lead to the problem going away of its own accord?

Even if you do something you love, you still need time just to hang out and do nothing much.

Colin Bevan in his recent book ‘No Impact Man’ quotes Kurt Vonnegut: ‘The purpose of life is to futz around’. Yeah…

1 comment:

  1., 08 July, 2010

    I agree with you Janet. I recently had to give up a job with long working hours and very stressful. Now my dermatitis is going and I don't feel the need for treating myself, like buying take-away food on the way home. Maybe I will now have the time to write my own blog! Cheers. Lee