What’s Your REAL Life?

This morning when I was busy doing all the necessary stuff that had to be done — vacuuming crumbs from the kitchen floor, putting things in their rightful spots, running a batch of checks from credit card companies through the shredder, putting outgoing mail in the box, cleaning oatmeal off the stove burner, putting dried beans on to soak, getting recycles ready for pickup — I glanced at the clock and thought, “Oh my gosh, look at the time! I need to get on to my real life!

Then I thought, “Whoa! Since when is writing my real life?”

I’ve been rattled ever since. I’ve always loved doing all the things that go into making a home. The puttering kind of things that add up to an atmosphere that spells home and comfort to me. Those things are real and important to me. But somewhere along the way I have apparently subconsciously decided they were less important and less real than writing. Maybe it’s my old Puritan work ethic: if I’m enjoying something too much, I feel as if it’s taking me away from my primary responsibility.

The weird thing is that I feel equally guilty if I spend what feels like too much time writing, because I love writing too. When I’ve spent days and days doing nothing except write, my guilt rises and tells me I should be calling friends or making grocery lists or something more real than writing.

Now that cell phones and computers have made it possible for many of us to work at home, we no longer divide our days into work time and home time, each with clearly defined hours. Instead, we blend our work time and home time into one endless stretch. I imagine everybody with the same work ethic I have eventually has to answer the question, “Which of these jobs is my real life?”

I’m going to make a determined effort to remember that it’s all necessary, all good, all real.


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