I spent the past two weeks working on this really long list of to-do’s on my website. Things that needed updating, revamping, recreating, and reimagining. Don’t you just love the word reimagine? It oozes the power of doing something fantastical twice.
Life should be reimagined regularly.
So anyway, I got all done with this long list of “work” that I had made up then ordered myself to do. (I’m a hard taskmaster sometimes. What was I doing, you wonder since everything looks the same to you? Mostly work on my archive pages and the Community Cookbook and the forum, designing in more functionality to the way things work.) I felt a bit lost when I finished. My entire purpose for being for the past two weeks was completed, although not really because I’m always working on my website in one way or another even if it’s simply the next day’s blog post, so I just made myself a new list.
I’m working if I’m making bread. I’m working if I’m playing with my goats or giving Pocahontas a licorice treat or trying to find where my hens are hiding their eggs today. I’m working if I’m taking a drive and looking for a new old outhouse to see if it has two seats or three. I’m working if I’m learning to knit and I’m working if I’m dying wool with Kool-Aid. I’m working if I’m cutting wildflowers on the creekbank and I’m working if I’m writing about it all.
I’m also relaxing if I’m making bread. Relaxing if I’m playing with my goats or giving my little donkey a treat or hunting for eggs. Relaxing if I’m taking a drive and scouting outhouses and relaxing if I’m knitting or dying wool or cutting wildflowers or just sitting down to write about it.
A longtime friend of mine, Mary Schramski, asked me if I would answer questions for a “successful women” series she’s posting on her blog. (She recently launched a wonderful blog called Writing Without Periods. She’s a novelist and writes the blog with another novelist, Jennifer Archer.) After I got done laughing at her and double-checking that she wasn’t also publishing interviews with some actual successful women like Oprah Winfrey or Michelle Obama, I agreed and she sent me the interview questions. One of the questions was: “What do you do in your free time?”
What free time???? What is this thing, free time, and where do you find it? I thought about this and realized I have no free time because I fill up my time. What would I do with free time? Stare at the ceiling? I fill up my time with work because work is my favorite thing to do–and my work is giving treats to Pocahontas, baking bread, cutting wildflowers, then sitting down with my words and photographs in daily hope of finding some valuable way to share it with others, so why would I want to quit that to stare at the ceiling??? What I do for fun and what I do for work runs together so smoothly, is so tightly intertwined, I can’t tell whether I’m working or playing.
Next week, I’m giving a speech to the local Rotary Club. This has to be one of the most ridiculous things I’ve done lately. What do I have to say to a roomful of business people? After thinking on it for awhile, I concluded that I would talk about following your passion in your work. Following my passion is what led me into writing books and eventually into writing this website. But can you follow your passion and be “successful”–isn’t that about making money? Which begs the question–can you afford to follow your passion? Can you afford not to–have you ever wondered that?
Following your passion is never easy. For one thing, there’s always one or twenty people standing by to tell you that it’ll never work. And then it usually involves some kind of financial hardship, at least in the beginning. But if you persevere, there’s usually also one or twenty people who will help you. (These are called angels. If you believe in yourself enough, they show up. Not right away–your determination has to be tested first–then they appear.) I’ve had many angels in my life, including all of you who have encouraged me and supported this site in a myriad of different ways as I follow my dream to make a living out of this farm. (Thank you!) I work on this website constantly in my ongoing determination to make improvements, to offer more and new resources, and to share the value I see around me in the exquisite triviality of a chicken or a fresh-baked loaf of bread. I have no “free” time and don’t hanker after any. I do hanker after making more money someday, and maybe that will happen, maybe it won’t. I hope that at the end of my life, I will have developed enough as a person that I won’t judge my life’s success on money but on whether through my words and photographs I contributed something of value to the world (and whether my children are good people) even if all I did was scrape by while I was at it. And I hope also that I can inspire someone else to roll their sleeves up and follow their dreams, too. (Or at least bake some bread.)
What is your passion?
And if you aren’t following it, why not?
P.S. Poverty is under-rated. It builds character and a sense of humor.
P.P.S. Have an Avocado Margarita.