The past few days have been spent in a frenzy of baking and cleaning. I have made two batches of chocolates, chicken and dumplings, assorted other meals, and a breakfast casserole that’s currently waiting for the oven. Additionally, there have been mucho cleaning and dog bathing. Why? There’s really no reason—no friends or family visiting from afar. No reason to put myself out, and yet, I enjoy it.
Yes, that has been quite a revelation over the past few days. I have thought about all of those years that I spent reading history and literature, thinking that I was doing important work. I certainly enjoyed the intellectual challenge, but I don’t know that I ever really had fun while I was in college. Perhaps this view is only in hindsight, when I have received so little return on my degrees. Maybe it is “sour grapes,” and I am latching on to the one thing that remains, cooking and cleaning. I am still partially employed, but it is not fulfilling work. And finding additional work has been difficult, if not impossible.
I am sore and worn out from my work lately. Still, tired as I am, I get a kick out of baking and cooking and generally being a housewife. I find myself collecting recipes on Pinterest and looking longingly at various home projects. Puttering around the house with my animals, I have been happy. The life that I once thought degrading seems a bit sunnier now.
On my way to the store yesterday, I thought about my grandparents who had very little education. They didn’t travel worldwide, take expensive vacations, or have fancy stuff. However, they knew how to manage money, garden, cook from scratch, and take care of their family. And they certainly weren’t afraid of a little work. Some today would consider that to be a “small” life, one that hadn’t truly been lived. Still, I think they had a richer life, one that focused on those things that truly matter, and they had work that was fulfilling and meaningful.
Somehow chickens and a garden sound mighty fine to me. And one final thought came to me on my shopping trip: finding meaning in any work that you do. Can any work be meaningful and fulfilling? Possibly. I guess it depends on where our heart is.