December 16, 2016, I did what every working person must dream of doing at some point: I walked away from my job knowing come Monday morning, I wouldn’t be scrambling to get to work, I’d just be done. Done working full-time. Done checking work email. Done commuting.
For good? For a few years? I don’t know. Leif was due in four weeks and Brad and I both wanted me to stay home with him and freelance.
We knew this was the right choice for us and even so, I have moments where I wonder if what I’m doing with my time counts for anything. Can I say that about raising a human being? I know it’s actually the most valuable work there is, it’s just that it looks like sitting on the sofa 8+ hours a day, changing that onesie with spit up all over it again, wondering if you’re talking out loud enough to your baby.
So Essentialism was the right book at the right time.
The book oribts around one phrase: Less but better.
Basically: There is so little that actually matters. If you focus on those things–what’s essential–you’ll be less stressed, better at making decisions, more in control of your work and life, and more productive.
It’s worth reading the whole book to get into the details of it, but that one phrase was enough for me.
When my day looks like nurse, burp, smooch fat cheeks, repeat, it’s easy to feel like this new life I chose is small. “Less but better” reminds me that we made this choice to make our lives a little smaller in some ways so it could be bigger in other ways.
Less income, better flexibility.
Less to show for a day’s work, better meaning to every moment.
Less impressive job title, better long-term reward.
In other words, what I’m doing right now is essential, and that’s a relief.