You may have heard that we’re now working more hours than Medieval peasants. I believe it (except for those of you in France, you’re probably striking as we speak and you Scandinavian folk with crappy weather, you don’t count. Your choices are limited to advancing your civilization or dying of boredom). Whereas the peasants’ work was given to them by Mother Nature, a gentle soul with rhyme and a season for everything, including rest and recuperation, modern day work is non-stop. Money never sleeps and neither does the 24/7 news cycle.
The temptation to “work” even when we are running on fumes is more pronounced than ever with our ever-trusty (backstabbing) smartphones sending us alerts and tempting us to engage with work e-mails and messages. But are we really doing worthwhile work when we have nothing left to give? And is it really a good trade of our time when we’re ignoring our own wellbeing and the most important people in our lives, family, friends and those in our communities?
These are tough questions best tackled by Mike Winnet, UK’s #1 demotivational speaker who claims:
“Work hard to make money now. You can always buy your kid’s love later”.
He doesn’t actually put it like that. I took the liberty to fix up the grammar and punctuation, but you get the drift.
Here’s the twist. I agree with Mike 100%. If money is flowing in by the bucketloads, by all means, don’t slam the door on it. Fill your pockets my good man, or woman. But… if it’s not, and you feel like some corporate Sisyphus pushing the proverbial shitpile up the hill and all you’re getting is doo-doo on your corporate uniform, time to take some time out for yourself and family this holiday season and reflect on your career choices. You may find that changing your baby’s nappies may be more rewarding to you than dealing with adult BS.
As I fit in the latter bucket of people who aren’t making money by the bucketloads and am fortunate to have a partner earning the lion’s share, I can afford the luxury of changing baby nappies, taking breaks to write pieces like this where I channel the wisdom of a mythical figure I admire above all, King Arthur.
But don’t call me a mumpreneur (Mike Winnet, I’m looking at you)!
Let’s clear things up. I’m a writer, not a blogger, who uses this blog to improve my craft. I don’t expect to become an influencer and I put no pressure on my creative practice. It’s a place for me to dump my thoughts, pay homage to King Arthur, in the hopes his spirit will inspire freelancers out there to build their roundtables and work collaboratively.
King Arthur’s Holiday Season
King Arthur’s merrymaking was the stuff of legend. The festivities included decorating the house with evergreens (trimming and decorating Christmas trees, for us modern folk), serving feasts where each course was announced by a kettle drum, pipes or trumpets, putting on jousting tournaments (PUBG or Fortnight for you gamers out there), singing (Caroling), dancing, exchanging gifts on New Year’s Day (not sure how Hallmark people worked themselves into the festivities) and maybe even board games (bingo, anyone?) which all began well before Christmas Eve.
Peasants returned to work on the twelfth day, sixth of January (how long’s your break?) also called Epiphany, or perhaps Suicide Tuesday as they were confronted once again with the harsh realities of life.
The Knights of the roundtable were the white collars of their day and we all know how much energy managing and organising labour saps out of us, don’t we? Sometimes they took off as long as til Candlemas on the second of February. As Abraham Lincoln supposedly said:
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I’ll use the first four hours to sharpen the saw.”
There’s wisdom and creativity that comes out of taking the time to make merry. Even if that involves PUBG. As long as you’re having fun and playing with those you love, respect and trust.
The Challenge of the Green Knight
Last Christmas I was taken out of the ordinary world by a new face around the Christmas table. Just as the Green Knight challenged Sir Gawain out of the known world of Camelot and into the wilderness of nature, this visitor, a Green Knight of sorts, had the same impact on me.
In a short story I wrote shortly after, the Green Knight in my life manifested herself as Iggy Pop jumping on the table at our annual feast, smearing peanut butter all over himself and daring me to follow him into the wilderness. I knew this was my creativity calling out to me.
I was afraid but here I am. Writing.
Over to You…
What is the holiday season’s message to you and how will you honour it?