21 January 2013

Valuing shared work

I have been watching a few Amish documentaries on You Tube while I've been ironing lately and it made me wonder why I enjoy watching them so much. I guess I'm inspired. Not by their lifestyle so much as by the way they work together. I love seeing that. It reminds me of days I've read about, a long time before the advent of supermarkets and department stores, when we use to work together as families, and in groups to get more difficult work done. When I see people working along side each other like that, it makes me want to join in. I love seeing the CWA ladies working away on their various fundraising ventures - buttering scones and making pots of tea; I love watching quilters working on one piece together; I admire the strength of the men who raise Amish barns and the grace of the women who provide food and drinks to keep them going.

Yesterday's blueberry muffins.

I get a lot of mail from readers who regret they can't find anyone who shares their values. Many of us feel the same because we live in towns and cities inhabited by people who are firmly and seemingly happily cemented into their mainstream lives. They have no interest in learning life skills or in reducing their spending and consumption. I doubt they'd understand the concept of shared work. I think that's one of the reasons so many people read here. They find validation here in what they do, they know I don't think they're strange because they're knitting dishcloths, growing pumpkins and baking bread, because I do it too. It's like we're working alongside each other. And that may be hundreds or thousands of kilometres apart but you know I am here, I know you are there and together we're quietly working. People gravitate here and to the forum to read about like-minded people going about their everyday business of homemaking, growing crops, storing and preparing food, raising pigs and milking cows and goats.  And they are satisfied and fulfilled by it.

We all go through various stages in our lives and we have to be open to those changes and flexible enough to adapt as we age. In the past I have worked with many women and men. The workload we all shared was made easier because we worked together. Now I'm working alongside my husband and I reckon we make a great team. We both do what we think we have a talent for and the jobs we like doing and luckily for us, that divides the tasks neatly down the middle. Most of our tasks are easily done by one person but when one of us is ill, the other takes it all on; when something is too big for one, we both do it.

When you look back on it, all those stages of work make up a productive life. Whether you're working in a large group or a small one, working as a couple, or you're alone raising children, or as a carer of adult children or parents. We're all working alongside each other and if you feel isolated and alone, all you have to do is to reach out here or at the forum and I or someone who hears you will reach back. No one is working alone when they work towards their own simple life. We're all connected by the work.

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