Work-Life Imbalance

Last Sunday, as we enjoyed a late-summer weekend at Loyd Park, we grew increasingly hesitant to just pack up and leave, especially considering we would be returning to the same site in four days. Why not stay through the week and commute back home for work each day? That turned out to be a bad idea. The routine of driving to Hampshire each morning, then racing to get ready for work, only to race home from work to get ready to return to Cloud 9 proved to be more stressful than we had imagined.

In addition to not having time in the mornings and evenings to tend to simple chores like doing the laundry or watering the plants, we also grew increasingly impatient with each other as the week wore on, culminating in an unfortunate argument on Saturday morning. Although it was technically about a password, it was actually about the same old inadequacies we’ve struggled with throughout our relationship. After shouting our way into a kind of submission, we finally found the psychological safety we needed to move forward.

Many times in this blog, we’ve quoted an essay by Salman Rushdie:

Human beings do not perceive things whole; we are not gods but wounded creatures, cracked lenses, capable only of fractured perceptions. Partial beings, in all senses of that phrase. Meaning is a shaky edifice we build out of scraps, dogmas, childhood injuries, newspaper articles, chance remarks, old films, small victories, people hated, people loved; perhaps it is because our sense of what is the case is constructed from such inadequate materials that we defend it so fiercely, even to the death.

Imaginary Homelands, Essays and Criticism 1981-1991

The meaning of our lives, both as individuals and as a couple, is made of scraps. Inadequate materials, to be sure. But sometimes we muster enough psychological safety to leave our shaky structure long enough to collect something more durable.

We spent the better part of an hour “deconstructing” a part of our edifice made up of childhood injuries, and we recognized – yet again – that clinging so fiercely to negative messages from the past is not only emotionally draining but also spiritually debilitating.

On Sunday morning, we were kinder, gentler, quieter. A big part of piecing together meaning involves patching things up.

We’ll undoubtedly have more senseless arguments. But this morning, as we sat surrounded by our doggies amid the sun-dappled forest and birdsong, we remembered why we invest so much of our precious time in Cloud 9. Because while we’re in this intimate space, we cannot avoid who we are or deny who we need to become. In our shiny edifice, we move at least a little closer toward meaning.