Summer is spinning by, out of control; hot, gorgeous days, with warm breezes rustling through the forest whispering “the beach…the beach…go to the beach…”
I’ve been pondering lately. A lot. You could even say too much. And then, one of the questions I’ve been dwelling on came up randomly in conversation, twice. What, in life, is a waste of time? Why do many of us feel guilty for spending time doing things that we enjoy, that invigorate us or that ease our minds, if those things are not thought of as “productive”? Now, I’m not saying that binge-watching of B-rated TV shows on Netflix is great for anyone, mentally or physically…but what about when that feeling of guilt extends to reading, making art, or simply relaxing, meditating, or taking a while to reflect on things? When it extends to taking a walk or going to the beach? It’s so easy to get caught up in all that’s going on in the world, and to spend hours getting vacuumed into arguments over everyone else’s problems, or to feel that every waking moment must be spent furthering your goals and ambitions, or fixing the world. What is “enough”? And when you’ve reached “enough”, what then? When all your basic needs are met, when you’re trundling along…maybe with an 8-hour workday, maybe more, maybe less…can you let yourself go, can you sit back and enjoy it all, can you not feel guilty for spending the afternoon entrenched in a great book or sitting in the garden watching the ducks? Does that point ever come, or must it be consciously learned, in this culture of “more”?
I gave myself a mental time-out last weekend. It was great. Two days of no computer, no facebook, no emails, no camera, and pretty much nothing “useful” to do, away from my work, from my life; sailing to St Thomas and back aboard s/v Aimée. Physically present–needed on board as crew–but mentally freewheeling, it was at first hard; hard to let go, hard to justify this time away. Then the seasickness kicked in, and let’s just say I became much less concerned about the piles of paperwork I’d left behind, or the chickens and ducks going about their merry day. But coming back…the trees seemed greener, the shade cooler, the birds and frogs chirpier than before. And it seemed ok to sit down in the heat of the day, to spend a few minutes in the shade, luring a slow-moving tortoise with specially-picked hibiscus flower…
Back in reality, there’s a hurricane of paperwork. Having been dreading, for months, going to the DLCA (department of licensing and consumer affairs) I finally got all my papers together and went in. To my great astonishment, all three people I’ve had contact with at DLCA so far have been delightful, helpful, and oh-so-encouraging about the licensing process and my “new” business ventures! Sadly, my electrician has, as of now, still not shown up to hard-wire the kitchen to the power source, so I’m having to delay the Health and Fire inspections until that is complete. Getting things done in the land of “this week” (meaning probably not this week) can be so, so challenging. On the flip side, the DMV (department of motor vehicles) has upped its game (perhaps due to the mandatory purchase of centennial plates?) and the inspector now “inspects” 5+ vehicles at a time… Perhaps he got the same memo as the Agriculture inspector, who can apparently inspect a property without ever seeing it. Hey, I’m not complaining.
Now, the afternoon heat is beginning to recede, a batch of mango catsup cools in jars on the counter, and it is so peaceful, here in the forest. There is work to be done, for sure, but there’s no sense of urgency. It’s summertime, in St Croix.
Love the article! Thanks, and good luck with the electrician. Best, Radha
Thanks, Radha! Hope your summer is going well!