Leave Room for Joy

Always leave enough room in your life to do something that makes you happy, satisfied, or even joyous. —Paul Hawken

by Rachael Dupree

Always leave enough room in your life to do something that makes you happy, satisfied, or even joyous. —Paul Hawken (HobbyFarms.com)
Photo courtesy caruba/Flickr

Someone asked me a rather broad question this week that got me thinking: What would you do if you had enough time?

For me, that question is both easy and difficult to answer. It’s easy because I have a bazillion things on my bucket list that could easily fill my time should I have the opportunity to relinquish my present responsibilities: Visit friends who have spread out across the U.S. and the world; read the stack of books piling up on my shelf; digitally capture all my grandma’s family stories and archive for our family tree. It’s also difficult to answer because, well, I have a bazillion things on my bucket list!

The question got me thinking, though, because how often do we forget to allow ourselves time for the things we love? This is especially true in the spring and summer, when farming season kicks into high gear. If you’re hobby farming, there’s a good chance you are working a full-time job in addition to caring for your animal charges, getting seeds started and planted in the ground, and preserving your farm’s abundance—whether its milk, meat, or fruits and vegetables—to feed your family. Sure, you decided to raise your family in this lifestyle because you love it and understand the benefits of being close to the land—both the nutrition it brings your body and the invigoration it brings your soul. But let’s be honest; farming hard work!

As a self-proclaimed “do-er,” I have a hard time allowing myself to slow down—I even feel guilty about it. Do you feel that way, too?

How can I justify a morning hike when the garden beds need amended, the gate and fence need repaired, and I have a batch of homemade infused oil ready to be strained and turned to balm? How can I spend an afternoon reading a book for pleasure when there are greens to be harvested and stored for use later in the week and the kitchen floor hasn’t been cleaned since … well, I can’t remember the last time a mop touched it!

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It’s all too easy to fill up our time with our to-dos, but after giving it some thought, I’ve realized the importance of prioritizing me time.

Do you remember the way you felt after you allowed yourself the much-needed time to take a hike, read a book or do that thing that makes you so happy? You felt refreshed, didn’t you? It rejuvenated you so that when it was time to get back to work, you’re mind was clear and your body was rested and ready to go.

I’m so glad I ran across this quote from Paul Hawken, especially this time of year when my to-do items are accumulating to the point of never-ending. Work—good, hard work that benefits you and others—is important. But so is time for rest, happiness and satisfaction. Fortunately, for hard workers, things will get done when they get done. But you also deserve to make time for joy in your life, and so do I!

As you go about your chores and work for this week, take a moment and ask yourself: What would you do if you had enough time? Then figure out where you have some wiggle room so you can make it happen. Life is full and rich, and I want you to approach it with no regrets. Never forget: You deserve joy!

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