Well, I am feeling pretty chuffed this morning. The sages at the Wall Street Journal are giving people advice that we formulated for ourselves back in 1994 when we were trying to figure out how to live life in balance.
We were living in Italy. We watched how the people there lived and realized they were really much happier than most Americans we knew living in Washington, D.C. We broke down the elements of their lives which laid out the choices for us. We’d return to the U.S. and ditch the big house, the big yard, the multiple cars, the generally large footprint that says “I’ve got it” and the maintenance hassles and expenses that go along with it. We’d make a short commute to work a priority, reducing non-salaried time spent on the job, and increasing the hours in the day we would have for meals and leisure together. The money we’d save would be spent on annual travel. So we did it. Our footprint was smaller, but we lived larger.
One of the things that time allowed us was socializing. As Robert Reynolds says, paraphrasing the French, dinner is an excuse to be together. The WSJ article says a meal with friends and loved ones is the single most happiness-inducing activity we can do.
Yesterday was proof. I managed my work schedule to take the afternoon off and lunch with Robert and his students and a visiting cheesemaker. Two hours into the repast and dozens of conversational topics on food, books, travel, knitting and more, my husband and daughter joined us for dessert, student Nathan’s dreamy chocolate Charlotte. Shortly after, I went back to a few hours of work.
It’s called having your cake and eating it too.