There was once a time when I had a real job. One that brought home a pay check that allowed my family to not worry about bills, the cost of food, and the day to day troubles that I now face on a regular basis.
For those who don’t know the back story, here is the short version. When my spouse and I discovered that we were going to be parents we made a decision and left our life in the corporate world to set an example for our future daughter. Life is about more then how much you make, its about the experiences you go to sleep with. We focused on a career path that would allow us to spend time as a family and enjoy going to work on a daily basis. This was a great plan except we never planned for just how hard it would be to get by on a weekly basis by having jobs that were “enjoyable”.
As professional outdoor educators we now make enough to get by but we do very much live life pay check to to pay check and since I am self employed there is no telling when that next pay check is actually going to arrive. This situtation results in a serious budgeting nightmare, and sometimes it does come very close to the wire on things. To say it adds some stress to our lives would be an understatement, but we get by and we are better people as a result of our decision to take the road less traveled.
When we made the change we gave up a lot of things, creature comforts if you will. No one comes to clean the house any more, there are a lot less dinners out, and actives like going to the theater are pretty much non-exstant. These days we are lucky if we can manage to get out for a movie at the movie theater. Because of our daughter trips to the playground or other family friendly activities are more common. While I enjoy going to the playground with my daughter its not exactly way I would call stimulating for my senses. More then anything this change is a result of the responsibilities of being a parent. Have you ever tried to find a responsible babysitter these days?
With all that being a case everyone needs a way to step back every now and then and just enjoy life. While we gave up a lot of things, we held on to one thing. A keep a wine club membership from this small little vineyard in Napa Valley that I used to visit a couple times a year. Through this membership over the course of the year we are shipped about 36 bottles of very nice wines. With each monthly, 3 bottle shipment, comes a little booklet and at the back of the booklet is a recipe. We try nearly all of them.
For us this shipment represents 3 nice dinners, one from the booklet and the rest from my creation. The shipments add a huge extra burden to our monthly budgeting but they provide a level of sanity to our relationship. When they arrive its an indicator for us, that its time to enjoy a nice dinner, something more then just the traditional family dinner. So about once a week the process of cooking dinner starts around 7pm and includes 3 courses. Shortly after our daughter goes to bed at 9pm we sit down together sometimes at the table and sometimes in front of the tv and enjoy a nice dinner.
Its no secret the economy is bad for everyone right now, no matter how well you personally may be doing, everyone is cutting back and reducing costs just incase things get worse instead of better. Don’t worry I am not going to get into the whole the world is ending in December thing. All the same, each and every one of us need to step back and find something to hold on to, something to remind of us better times.
Even if your not one of the 99% out there who is struggling, if your in a relationship you know full well its not always easy, it takes some work to keep from things becoming completely mundane. With out the little special moments a relationship is nothing more then roommates with benefits (if the benefits are gone then you really are just roommates who sleep together!).
So the question is what is it that you do to as part of your regular life to remind you that things are not always as bad as it seems, or keep those special moments alive in your relationships. Share your secrets with the other readers out there because I can assure you that its not uncommon for people to be looking for the secret of keep the spirits high, sharing your secret could make a huge difference in the life of another.