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It Is Okay To Want Less

by Joanna Norman

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An old friend of mine recently posted a quote on social media: “If you’re not working on it evenings and weekends, then you don’t want it as bad as you say you do.” Wow. That quote got me to thinking. At first it made me mad, not at my friend, but at our culture of work more, want more, do more. 

I don’t know what they were thinking of when they posted it, maybe they were thinking about improving their family life, but I doubt that is what the quote is about for most people. I know that many motivational speakers, life coaches, career coaches, etc. would say that if you are not thinking about your goals (usually financial or career) and acting on all the time then that isn’t really what you want. 

Why is that? Why do we teach and promote the idea that you have to be working on evenings and weekends to be successful? Is it a problem with our culture around achievement and goals? Is it that the things that I think are most important don’t align with what others around me think are most important for success? 

Looking at this quote with a different lens, I asked myself what if it is true? Does what one spends one’s evenings and weekends on indicate one’s priorities?  I think the answer might be yes. So …

What do you spend your evenings and weekends doing? What do I spend my evenings and weekends on? Does the way I spend my time reflect what I want? Bingo! Now this quote works for me.

First, you have to know what you really want. I want less, not more. I want less stress, less busyness, less negativity, less financial commitment. All that leads for me to more joy, more contentment, and more peace.

The choices I have made throughout my life might seem unconventional or different to some folks, but when I look back, I can see that I was spending my evenings and weekends doing the work that was most important to me.

When I was a mother of young children, I spent my evenings cooking their meals, reading to them, taking care of them, playing with them. Those were my priorities, and I don’t regret it one bit. I chose not to have a full-time, demanding job outside of the home so that I had that time with them. I know there are women and men who are able to do all that and work full time, but I wasn’t. There were times when I felt “less than” because I didn’t try to or even want to work full time and raise my kids. I put that on myself, and my spouse put it on me, and so did other working women. (But that is a whole other blog post. Women, we’ve got to support each other in all our choices.)

Now that my kids are grown and I am single, my evenings are still often spent with my sister and her husband, or I could be crocheting, watching a show, or making a delicious meal or reading or writing, like tonight. Sometimes I choose to do transcription work in the evening or on the weekend. I’m usually surrounded by my dogs and often training a future Guide Dog puppy. When summer arrives in a few months, evenings and weekends will be spent outdoors camping. 

So let me suggest a rewrite for that quote that got me to thinking about all of this. I like this one from Courtney Carver:

“Know what matters most, and when you are making a decision ask yourself what will support the things that matter most to you. Let your priorities guide you.”

If you want to learn more about wanting less or being less busy, here are some articles I found helpful:

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