Our Trained Brains
Mother Nature continues her wintery ways this week with near record lows and with it comes closings and cancellations. They are calling for temperatures in the negative twenties range and with the wind chill it could dip below minus fifty, that's cold!! The only outside activity I'll be doing today is a couple trips out to the barn to give the animals water. The positive to all this is it's supposed to be near fifty by Monday and we can take a break from the snow and cold for a day or two until the next round of winter hits.
The birthday party on Saturday was a success! If you get a reason to invite friends over do it, sure there were some bad decisions made but sometimes having fun is more important than sticking to a strict lifestyle. We made some new friends, and a lot of old friends came and I also have to mention, when your kids get old enough to hang out at your adult parties it's a lot of fun. I spent most of the night hanging out with my future son in law and his cousin, I had just enough alcohol to be social enough to talk his girl friend into braiding my hair and I sat at my bar and actually had a good time watching everyone else have a good time.
With the weather being like it is there are a lot of places that shut down because it
just doesn't make sense to try and heat a building when its that cold out, we usually have a couple days a year that we miss because of cold. This year I've made it a challenge to pay attention to life a little more and a big part of life is work and the people I work with, and when the announcement to shut down for a couple days came, the reactions were something that I noticed enough to blog about. "Now I have to figure out what to do for two days". That comment really made me think of how trained we are to exist in the, five on and off two lifestyle, and not just that but its a Monday through Friday and Saturday and Sunday off. Obviously there are religious reasons behind having the weekend off, I get that but I get the feeling there is actually a fear of being home during the week, a fear of boredom maybe? I can also see the loss of income possibility, and I get that too. I would be willing to bet for the most part it's just as simple as the fear of change. It starts in school when we are young, we go to school Monday through Friday and the weekends are play time. It continues for most of us for the rest of our lives. I've mentioned it before I changed jobs to have a three day weekend, Friday is my "me" day and every Friday I have to remind myself of that. It still seems strange to not go in to work. I have to admit I feel like its a lot more efficient of a work schedule, at least for me. By Sunday afternoon I feel like I've accomplished a lot and I am really ready to get back to work but that's just me and don't get your hopes up about changing the corporate world.
Probably the number one phrase I hear from people when they have an extra day off or come back from vacation is "I was ready to come back to work, I got bored". Maybe that's something that you've said or maybe your one of the few that thinks that's crazy but it is very common. This time of year when it's cold out, I would understand more but it makes me wonder if people have hobbies anymore? I blog a lot about stress and the effects it has on your body, so it makes sense to bring it up. Let's say your hobby is model building and you set aside a few hours on Sunday afternoons to build your models. That is your time to just relax and immerse yourself into your most recent build. So your boss comes out on Tuesday afternoon and lets everyone know that they are shutting down for two days because of the cold, instead of freaking out because you can't imagine a world that takes days off in the middle of the week, now you have an entire extra day to finish up at model or even start a new one that you've been dying to open. Right before Christmas my wife and I took a shopping day, let me be clear on this, I do not shop so it was something of a Christmas miracle, we end up at "Hobby Lobby". I was like a kid in a candy store, talk about potential hobbies! I ended up buying things to make dream catchers and am going to use them as decorations in my yard this summer, but the point of that story is this, go to a craft store and walk the isles and I'll almost guarantee you will find something to keep from getting bored on your days off. One thing I will say in warning though is don't let your hobby become a job, keep it fun and with no expectations or it will turn into another source of stress.
I've spent my entire life, like most people, living paycheck to paycheck so I know that feeling of " I can't afford to miss a day of work". Most likely this is the biggest stressor when it comes to missing work and I know anything I say will most likely fall on deaf ears but I'll give it a shot. The simple answer is there is nothing you can really do about it so stressing wont help. The long term answer is plan for the future, make an emergency savings account. If your living week to week I know it seems like you can't afford to put money in a savings account but will you really miss twenty dollars a week? I also realize that doesn't seem like its worth doing but start with twenty and see what happens, you might end up saving more and at the end of the year you could be surprised.
Another phenomenon that baffles me is the panic before the storm. I'm sure you've all seen the lines of cars at the gas stations and grocery stores the day before a predicted snow storm. Don't get me wrong, I understand there was a time when you could be stranded in your house for a week or more at a time because you lived that far from town, and that has been passed down for generations, (my grandma used to keep a gallon of milk in her freezer) but there are very few people now that don't have a weeks supply of food in their house at all times and grocery stores aren't really that far away anymore. Its actually possible to do 100% of your grocery shopping online from your computer, so in this day and age its really more unnecessary stress..
Change is hard, as someone who struggles with minor OCD I live the struggle too, but if we are trying to be happy we need to learn to accept the things we can't change. When we get a day off in the middle of the week, we need to think of it as a good thing, an extra day to work on a hobby that we enjoy or to catch up on much needed rest. It really is a lot to do with mindset and sometimes you just have to let life happen and live a happy hippie life...stay warm out there!!