It’s been interesting getting back to doing my chores every day. I get a lot of exercise. Not complaining, I like the exercise. It is grounding, practical, soul-nourishing. I remember feeling restless living in town when Mirin was small. We walked a lot in the evenings, careful to avoid the sprayed lawns, the dog turds and the inconsiderate maniac cut-through drivers. A walk around several blocks felt like a long way. Out at the farm, with the distinct lack of property lines and lawn borders, it is hard to tell how far you’ve gone. A walk to the first line and back to the milking paddock doesn’t seem very far, but after not walking it for seven days my legs tell me it isn’t as short as I thought. When your hands are used to it, milking four animals a day doesn’t seem like much.
When I’m out working it doesn’t usually feel like exercise. It’s just doing what needs to be done. The air is fresh and sweet and there are beautiful, surprising bits of nature crawling across the path all the time.
It’s easy to work too hard out there. I know that I worked too hard the past six years. When Ethan was always being sent out of town for work and the children and I stayed behind with the milking, the gardening, moving the heavy chicken coops, the housework, the homeschooling. Sometimes I was so tired my heart would beat strangely and irregularly, cramping and hurting, and I would feel like I was dying. Bone-crushingly tired. So tired that it was effort to move my arms when I woke up in the morning, after a black, unconscious sleep. So tired that it was difficult to be patient when other people didn’t understand why I was late, why I didn’t call them back, why I HAD to sleep that long, why I didn’t mow my lawn more often at our house in town, why neither kid had a pair of matching shoes in the grocery store.
I know this is partly why I’ve had such a challenge with my health this year. Why I feel so old and tired all the time. Those past six years I worked so hard for everyone – for our customers, for the farm, for my family, for people with high expectations. I wanted to do it all right. I wanted to please everyone so they wouldn’t judge me, so they would be nice. I worked for everyone except myself, and it didn’t even work out the way I hoped it would. Here I am now, in my 30th year, exhausted, worn out, feeling like life is too much. And I think – wait a minute! If my priorities were turned around, what would my life look like?
It’s good to consider it. I know what hard work is already.