Brevity of Time, Immediacy of Pleasure

Some days, it feels like life is overwhelming. There's always something to do, somewhere to go, someone to see. On those days I have to ask myself, "Why are we doing this?" Why indeed.

In recent months, my husband and I have talked about throwing in the corporate towel, moving to a remote island, and raising chickens and livestock.

We always come up with reasons why we can't do this, primarily having to do with our kids' education and general standard of living. We would probably have to homeschool (or at least home-supplement), their extracurriculars would be severely truncated, and we wouldn't have the access to Target, Starbucks, and IKEA that I so desperately love.

We also wouldn't have to deal with traffic, the God-awful commute that my husband has to make twice daily, increasingly high taxes (unless we stay in the mid-Atlantic region or move to Hawaii), neighborhood density, and the Corporate Game. We could work to live, not live to work. It's an intoxicating thought.

The truth is that we're probably not going to pull a complete 180 and go live on a capitalist commune in north Texas. My husband probably isn't going to give his job the Big Finger and leave burn marks in the parking lot as he pulls out, tires squealing. We're probably going to stay in the area at least until the kids are finished with high school, hopefully in a slightly larger house in the same or a similar neighborhood.

Just because we're not giving our lives the overhaul that I wish we could doesn't mean that we can't enjoy the little, simple, immediate pleasures in life. We don't have to have the fastest car or the biggest house; we can be happy with a good piece of cheese or a delicious bottle of wine.

I recently read Debra Ollivier's What French Women Know About Love, Sex, and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind. One of the lines that stood out to me was Michèle Fitoussi's summary of the French woman:

"French women have a keen sense of the brevity of time and the immediacy of pleasure." (Tweet it!)

I want that. I want to enjoy what I like and not worry about the stuff that I don't. I don't want to waste my time, money, and energy on stuff that ultimately does not matter to me.

So, I am. In moderation and graduation, of course, but I'm taking time to enjoy the little things that I so truly enjoy and not giving a damn about everything else. I'm not going to worry about keeping my house in magazine-spread order, meticulously planning every aspect of my day, even keeping a schedule for my writing and blogging. This will take time, as I have an enormous place in my heart for lists, but I've gone without them for the past two days and haven't forgotten anything important. I have read books, decluttered my closet, and found places for those pictures that I haven't hung yet, however, and I'm happier with that progress than I am about getting the dishes done or cleaning my room.

If you had the option to work to live, not live to work, what would you do?

This post was originally published on lynndaue.wordpress.com. It was lightly edited on January 19, 2016.