Living Is Precious…

I think we spend too much time living our lives to actually take the time to live our lives. I know that probably sounds like a phrase that should end with “what the hell is he going on about?”, but I’ll get there.

This morning I woke up at 3 am in order that I could be in Sacramento to catch the 4.30 Amtrak to San Jose. Mike took a new job with Apple (about time he actually switched to the sane side, but that’s another story). I think it’s a good move for him – he needed a change and he needed to have a job closer to home.

Despite the positive side for Mike, it screws me over on Mondays because now my commute has just gotten an hour and 10 minutes longer – on the wrong end of the day.

So this morning was a calm 25 mile drive to the station before the long trek to the office. What amazed me was how many other people there were driving somewhere at 3.50 in the morning. My only conclusion to where they were going was work. Why else would anyone get up at that time and drive somewhere? Really. Why?

Sure the occasional family might be traveling, but ultimately most of these people are going to work. I got on the train and was genuinely surprised to find it almost packed. At 4.30 in the morning.

So why do we do this? I know why I do it – because I’m stupid. I took a job that pays barely enough to cover the bills and part of the deal was that I would be in the office 150 miles away every Monday. Stupid, stupid move.

Do these other people do it for the same reason? Some financial chain and ball that keeps them hitched to a job that steals their time away from their family and friends? It must be the reason.

My boss right now would say “it’s the opportunity”. I feel sorry for him because I think at some level he believes more about the image he portrays and the chance for money than understanding the more important aspects of life. I could be wrong, but that’s the impression he gives.

Debby and I have often talked about moving to the middle of nowhere in particular and living a simpler life that doesn’t ply these demands on us every day. We haven’t done it. We’re too ambitious and we do enjoy some of the creature comforts we have – but the sad part is we know what we’re missing when we stop to think about it.

I’m sure that other people stare into the open fields as we pass by on the train thinking similar thoughts. How complex we make our lives. How things could be better. How they would prefer a different job. How they wish they could have had just 30 more minutes in bed this morning.

We all need to get to a better place. We need to find a way of making time to live, to enjoy the company of our friends and the warmth and enjoyment of our families. Instead we are spending too much time bowing to the employers that keep us shackled to schedules and commitments in order to better their bottom lines.

I don’t want to live to work. I shouldn’t have to. I work hard and I put everything into my job. Debby works just as hard, if not harder and does the same. But we miss the things that are so important to us and we are going to change that.

There can be a compromise in which we get what we want and the work gets done.

I was talking to my dad this weekend and he told me that my niece was 2 years old last week. I’ve spent probably a total of 15 hours or so with her in that time. 15 hours in two years. That started me thinking how much time I’ve lost not seeing my nephews and my older niece in the cumulative years that they’ve grown up. The times they have played football, or been in a play. The birthday’s we’ve missed. The times that you can’t recover for any amount of money.

And it’s all so wrong.

I miss seeing my family. I miss the stupid little arguments I have with my sister because we’re always trying to show each other how much we know (even though she knows I’m always right). The football kick about in the back garden with my brother. The quality time with my parents that reinforces why I am who I am and where my moral compass and appreciation for everything I have comes from.

I miss the smiles, the tears, the pride, the humility, the love, the strength and the laughter that is my family. I miss it every day.

And this is where we need to start to live – to be able to make time to get to spend more of those precious moments with those that mean so much to us.

The rest of this year is going to be different. We decided that we need to fix this broken wheel of a rat race and make the time to start living – the way we want to.

To be able to spend more time with our families. To be able to go on holiday, just the two of us, to some place we’ve never been. To experience things we’ve never seen or done.

To enjoy life.

To live…