Saturday, September 25, 2010

Family vs. the Edict of Bud

There's nothing like campfire smoke and one-on-one time with you five-year old boy for granting articulation and/or first-hand evidence to a philosophy, and I'm not talking about Jacob's philosophy, of which there is endless supply, but to this:

I work to live; I don't live to work. 

I've always felt this way, but never thought it would contribute to the decision of whether to stick with or quit my employment.  It wasn't the primary issue, as you should know, but lack of pay, which I've made pretty clear and public.  Over the last three weeks, I really haven't thought too much more about it; I've felt very comfortable in my decision (even if uncomfortable with unemployment).  But last night and this morning, I got a little reinforcing boost.

Our ward had its annual Father and Son Camp Out last night.  Jacob and I haven't attended one of these yet, despite annual opportunities.  I realize now what I've been missing.  We had a blast!  Funnily enough, I don't think we would have gone if we had money and a career and whatever else.  There's something about scraping for absolutely everything that makes you appreciate the little things a lot more.  I mean little things like M&Ms or enough gas in the car to drive to grandma and grandpa's for no more reason than saying hi.  Or the six bucks we anticipated as toll to drive up the canyon to the campground.  (Thankfully, we already had tent and sleeping bags; that would have been a lot more than just what we could find by scraping!)

"We can't afford six dollars;" "Maybe we need to afford it;" "How?" "Let's dig for quarters;" "Do you even want to go?" "I think we need to go;" "Jacob needs to get out of the house;" "I need to get out of the house;" "Do you even want to go?" "Of course.  It will be fun;" "Let's dig for quarters."

We found out shortly thereafter that when going to this particular campground, owned by the LDS church, all we had to do is say so at the ranger's pillbox and they'd let us pass.

We did, they did, and Jacob and I drove up the canyon, windows down, listening to The Great Brain and eating M&Ms (we couldn't afford those either).

About a month ago--a little more perhaps--I got in bit of trouble with the Bud.  (You all remember Bud?)  He thought I wasn't putting enough effort into my work.  (!)  (And when it comes right down to it, I'm pretty sure he's grateful he doesn't have me anymore, as now he doesn't have to pay me!  In fact, several times over the last year he's even complained TO ME about how much he has to pay me ("Oh, but you're worth it, Joe," he'd chase with every time).)  This is part of what he said:

I have put my family second on numerous occasions to make sure that yours is taken care of. You must make this your number one priority. Even if you have to do something uncomfortable over and over again.

Hmm.  I don't remember that in my job description.  And he was trying to guilt me into it!  Am I required to sacrifice my family just because he sacrificed his?  This is an extreme that has led more than once to the end of families, some of whom I know quite personally.  There's no way I'm going to let that happen to me.  If my family is the most important thing, why in the freaking world would I not put them first?

And I'm not talking about the balance of taking care of them via employment and whatever else, like on the airplane how you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself before your kids.  I WANT to work!  But we're talking about extremes.  Here's the other end of the spectrum (on the far right is The Edict of Bud):

(on the left)
Unemployment (and I mean doing absolutely nothing), but having family and going on camp outs and wrestling with kids and making dinner for my wife.

It's Angie who always deals in extremes--black and white.  Period.  Done.  I, on the other hand, am always looking at subtleties and gray areas, where I feel I find 98% of the world.  Well, this must be part of that remaining two percent.

I work to live; I don't live to work, because homeless and together is a lot better than rich and alone.  Last night proved it.  Period.

Family first!

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