A Sustainable Life

December 2, 2010 § 1 Comment

I played hooky last Friday from the farm. Thanks to the firmly-implanted work ethic, I was riddled with guilt leading up to the day off. Tim and I haven’t taken a day off since the summer. Somehow each week goes by and my “list to do” just gets longer instead of shorter. So the day you planned on going to the beach somehow becomes the day to catch up on weed whipping or dealing with that leaky spot in the roof. But this time when a friend asked if the family and I wanted to go out on his boat and snorkel, I thought – simultaneously – “I have so much to prepare for my weekend farmers’ markets” and “What a perspective to see the island from a boat!” Fortunately, the later thought won out and thanks to Charlie, we spent a glorious day on and in the water. We watched the amazing antics of a large pod of Spinner dolphins leap out of the water. At one point, a pod swam around and under us as we snorkeled. The day was capped by the opportunity to float above a Spotted Eagle ray. (The photos are compliments of the web. I need all my faculties to snorkel so no underwater camera for me.)

As I was floating, I thought, “My current life – as beautiful as it is at times – is not sustainable.” I work toward making my farm sustainable but I don’t work toward making farming sustainable for me, personally. Working three farmers markets a week, preparing product and managing an online business, weeding or hauling rocks until nightfall and one’s back tells you to stop, waking up on top of the covers in clothing that looks suspiciously like what I wore the day before – is not sustainable. Throw in two kids, one husband, a menagerie of animals, well . . . you get the point. Several conversations with folks this past week showed a common theme. Too much to do and not enough time to do it. As I was listening, I realized that we all need a different paradigm: We need to create a more sustainable life. We need to say, “Enough. I’ve worked hard enough today and now I’m going to enjoy a book – head out to the garden – play a game with the kids – or just play hooky from work.” The world will not collapse and you will feel better. The recharge made me approach the following day’s tasks with a greater sense of optimism. It’ll get done.

Charlie gave the family more than a day off last Friday. He reminded us that in order to achieve a sustainable life, we need to embrace the idea that play is as important as work.  It really is that simple.  So . . . before the year is out – take an unexpected mental and physical day off.  Think of it as preventative medicine.  We could all use a little less stress in our lives.  This current path of work until you drop – not worth it.  Play – a healing connection between mind, body, and life.

A hui hou,




§ One Response to A Sustainable Life

  • Maura says:

    Wonderfully said, Karen. Funny, I did just this today. Maybe not snorkeling with dolphins, but I did treat myself to pancakes from ihop and a couple hours of writing. It was wonderful.

    Lots of love to you all. Hopefully we’ll be seeing you sooner, rather than later!


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