These last two weeks, as the remains of the winter ice and snow has melted, we have been busily taking care of our usual spring chores. The first delivery of our 2016-17 firewood (the green wood needs at least two years drying time in order to burn efficiently according to my well-studied husband) came as soon as the driveway was clear of snow. We stacked it a few days later when the back yard had dried sufficiently to handle the weight of the fresh cut logs. Raking the front lawns of the sand and rocks deposited by the snow plow and blower was next on the list of outdoor tasks, followed by thatching and fertilizing. Then Don moved on to preparing and planting the new kitchen garden in the raised beds that he installed last fall near our side door. Meanwhile, inside we did all the high dusting, window washing, and applied a fresh coat of paint on the stairs. A few more odd jobs and we will call it good.
Most of these chores have to be accomplished annually, however this year there is a sense of urgency to complete them early because we have company coming from California this week, two of whom have never been to our home, let alone the state of Maine. Like most people we want to make a good impression and to make their stay as pleasant as possible. We are certainly looking forward to their visit. And that got me to thinking about the value of having something enjoyable planned. In this example it gives us the necessary motivation to accomplish things that we otherwise might have put off or even ignored. But I think there are additional benefits to be gained when we have something to look forward to.
We all have responsibilities in life that may be out of our control for the most part. If we have a job, often we are required to work a specific schedule. Being part of a family may mean taking care of your children’s needs and at the same time having to care for elderly parents. Your home always something demands your attention. School can be equally challenging. It can all be a bit overwhelming. But there is always a part of your life that is yours alone. The key is to find things that you enjoy and to schedule a time that you can participate in them. Whether it be something like inviting friends over, going to the gym to work out, planning a vacation or a short getaway, or simply finding a quiet corner with a book you have always wanted to read, it helps to carve out a specific time for that purpose. In that way it becomes a tangible reward for the work that is demanded of you. It has a way of lightening the load and helps you to find purpose in your life guided by your personal interests rather than strictly by the dictates of others. Always give yourself something positive to look forward to and you will never look back.