Spring Awakenings

7 04 2011

Longwood Gardens, Spring 2010

When most people think about spring doings, cleaning and yard work jump to mind. I would like to propose that awakening be on our agenda.

What projects, plans and dreams have you postponed, either since New Year’s or indefinitely? Did winter bog you down under blankets and gray skies? Throw off your misgivings! Today is never too late, but if not now, when?

My own Spring projects include: writing regularly; continued career movement; and reading an educational book on my lunch break.

While I may not be in a job of my preference, I decided that my lunch hour is at least 30 minutes in which to stimulate my brain with continuing education. Besides – and you may not be much different in this respect – I have many “educational” books I mean to read but which, in the evenings, end up playing a sad second fiddle to magazines and fun fiction. First up: Off the Grid, by Nick Rosen. Review will follow!

I’m sure I will throw more cleaning in there, too. After all, there is a reason Spring cleaning remains prevalent – we feel the ancient urge to mimic nature’s blooming with new growth in our own lives. Allow your cleaning to inspire you.

What are your Spring awakenings?


Going “Moneyless”

21 09 2010

Spending a year without spending a dollar

As I am newly unemployed, the idea of purposeful unemployment intrigues me.

In 2008, businessman Mark Boyle went on a one-year hiatus from making money and lived in a trailer on an organic farm, trading labor for rent and foraging for all of his food. Now, the “Moneyless Man” has published a book about his experiences, which he describes as overwhelmingly positive. The book offers tips for reducing your expenses, as well as your carbon footprint.

I wonder if Boyle was motivated more by his economics training, a desire for sustainability, or an escape from the rat race? Many ethical issues arise here, from foraging for food in supermarket dumpsters to the fact that Boyle was still technically earning a living, only in exchange for accommodation instead of cash. I am definitely interested to know more about what he sought to demonstrate or learn through his experiment, and I love his idea for a  “freeconomy community,” in which members teach each other skills at free events.

Are you interested in Boyle’s story, or do you think he went too far to prove a point?

Working from Home

27 08 2010

Telecommuting is a bizarre experience, especially if you dislike your job. You wake up, get ready, and carry your coffee up the stairs, or down the stairs, or to the space under the stairs where you now work. Suddenly the stress you used to send off into the atmosphere in the vague direction of the office is inside your house, your haven. How did this happen? Well, you asked for it, is how. You begin to have complicated feelings toward your normally relaxing pad, and they don’t have a clear cut-off point at the end of the day. Bizarre emotions spring forth when you glimpse your “home office,” even in off hours.

It was supposed to be liberating, this ability to work in your pajamas. Few people really have the guts to do that, however. You have the sinking suspicion that your boss will find out. Besides, he’s already breathing down your neck more than ever because he doesn’t have the empty yet comforting proof of your productivity that is your body in a chair next door.

So you get dressed and kiss your spouse goodbye, and he or she goes off and you heave a sigh and walk to your “office,” feeling the whole time that you are guilty of some unnamed thing for having the audacity to work at home. During the day. By yourself. Go figure.

The final, awkward component of telecommuting is motivation. Left to your own devices, you can be incredibly productive. There is no one to pop their head endlessly around the carpeted walls of your cubicle. If your phone rings, you can choose to be unavailable – no one will know. This all assumes, of course, that you mean to be productive. If you dislike your job, you are faced with the very real dilemma of sitting alone with loathsome work to do and no one to make you do it. And this is the birthplace of integrity in the modern world, my friends. I have been there.

In fact, I am there right now. So, back to work.

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