The Conundrum of Front Porch Sittin’

For whatever reason, this weekend lent a lot of front porch time – lounging on the swing, reading, canine belly rubbing – all at once or each individually.

It was a hot summer weekend around here. The kind that makes you sort of just want to mush into the earth and not move quickly or much at all. So I think naturally , it’s a perfect excuse to take up residence on the front porch swing for much of the day. As opposed to our sun-loving back porch during the day, our front porch provides cool shade and a refreshing breezeway. In the evening, it’s a peaceful spot to watch the sun fade down and close out the day.

What a great way to waste a lazy summer day.

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Waste. Huh. Should that be interpreted as a good thing….or bad?

I suppose it’s really in the eye of the beholder. As a person who often finds herself playing catch up with to-do lists on the weekends, it’s a bit cathartic to let all of the pending jobs lie where they have fallen and reconnect with the concept of taking true leisure time – a concept I think this nation of Americans has a hard time grasping (only look so far as our highly unbalanced ratio of our clocked work hours to our ‘allowed’ vacation hours). How nice it is to not watch the clock and worry about how much time is left in the day to get things done. How nice to sit there as long as I want, read as long as the coffee held up, and to actually listen to myself think for a change. “Wasting” the day is a great idea.

Of course…all of that time to think begins to sort of backfire on me. Suddenly, I am channeling a set of different thoughts, leading to quite different emotions.

Ah…wouldn’t today be a perfect day to be soaking the sun up on a lake somewhere? We should really get out fishing more. Ugh…only two short days, then back to the daily grind. How many days to retirement? Yikes. Shouldn’t summer be about getting out? Socializing? Exploring?? Travelling??? Oh no! Am I stuck in the merry-go-round of life after marriage? Didn’t I remember that merry-go-rounds make me sick?? I really need to travel more, before we even think about kids. Gotta set aside more money, gotta set aside more time. Ack… so why am I wasting that precious time on my butt on this front porch? What has happened to my life?

Suddenly that wonderful waste of a day becomes a guilt-ridden hollapalooza.

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So what is the solution? I still don’t really have an answer. Relaxing is good. Relaxing calms the mind, soothes the soul. But following your dreams does require a certain amount and dedication to work of some sorts. Too much relaxing can make you fall behind. So which do you choose?

Maybe the wisest thing to do is follow the old adage – everything in moderation. There is nothing wrong with taking a time-out. There is also nothing wrong with putting in hard work to achieve a rewarding outcome. It’s when the two become out of balance where the trouble begins.

The front porch is a reminder to do both. It allows you to sit awhile, take a load off, serenely watch the world go by while you revitalize yourself. At the same time, it also urges you to remember that there is a whole world beyond that front porch, beyond that job, beyond that town,  waiting for you. It’s where your adventures first take seed. When you are finally able to hear yourself think, you are finally able to confront and stop ignoring those dreams that still are glowing in your soul from when you were maybe slightly less attached and slightly less accountable. The front porch sees nothing wrong with harboring both roots and wings. Dreams are both for dreaming and chasing.

It’s a conundrum. Ahhh…but… only in the eye of the beholder.

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