Variety, the cliche goes, is the spice of life.
The toughest thing about the work that I do is that much of my time is spent sitting at a chair, behind my desk, watching the screen on my computer.
I’m sure there are lots of people – and lots of jobs – that could qualify for such a description.
But that makes it all the more important to find the variety of life on the days we have off.
After a week sitting at my desk, I was ready for a little change of scenery.
And, boy, did I get it.
I traded in the desk and computer for a weekend of cutting grass on my father’s farm in eastern North Carolina. Cutting the grass there means traversing about five acres, much of it on a riding mower, then taking a weedeater to all the places the mower can’t reach.
It’s a big job. I spent all day Saturday and all day Sunday cutting the grass. I left Sunday night with some of the weedeating left for later.
The sun beat down all weekend and I came home with a bright pink glow on my arms and the back of my neck. And, I came home absolutely exhausted from the physical labor. At my dad’s suggestion, I took frequent water breaks, especially when I was doing the dirty, grimy work of weedeating the ditch along the highway and out at the cemetery, where the headstones make weedeating a challenge.
There’s not a lot of mental labor involved in cutting the grass at my dad’s house. So, the tiredness I felt was different than what I feel at the end of a weekday at the office.
It was a good tired, too, if you know what I mean. In the newspaper business, we see the fruits of our labor twice a week and even more frequently online.
Cutting the grass also offers a pretty quick reward. When I got off the riding lawnmower for the last time Sunday afternoon, I told my father he no longer had a yard. I told him he didn’t even have a lawn. He had a golf course. That was how pleased I was with the finished product.
But secretly, I was more pleased to have had the opportunity to spend many hours working outside, doing something very different than what I experience each day at the office.
Although I’m not convinced I want to do that kind of work every weekend, it was nice to add some variety to my life.
Other opportunities will come along, I’m sure, to differentiate between my time spent at work and my leisure time. I hope I’ll be smart enough to recognize them for what they are and add to the variety in my life.
If I’m smart – if we are all smart – we look hard for those opportunities to shake up our routine and we experience them with the same gusto we put into our working lives. And we’re all the richer for it.