Great title for a conference paper, eh? I was telling my friend W. the other day about how I've decided to do a lot of my shopping and errands in Media, because I like the energy of a downtown and try to use independent merchants whenever it seems reasonable. (And Swarthmore is great if you need earrings, sandwiches, or a haircut.) She said, "Oh, no, it's big-box shopping for me until the kids are older!" I could tell she wasn't really taking in my recommendation for Deal's, an old-fashioned general store with very good prices. W. continued, "I try to do everything on my list, and when it's all done for the week, then I do what I want or shop where I want."
It's that work/leisure split again, surfacing in the life of a stay-at-home mom, for whom the split, I would think, is pretty difficult to sustain. It's easier when you work for a paycheck during the week and go off sailing on the weekend. Her life strategy certainly is more efficient than mine. But I couldn't do what she does because it doesn't feel quite right to split life into the Obligatory and the Fun, two dreary and soulless categories (to say nothing of Obligatory Fun). The way I figure is that everyday life is full of blessings if we are ready to see them. Take the endless project of food shopping. Supermarkets are usually boring and that music drives me nuts. So I go to farmer's markets, Trader Joe's, an independent butcher, a great fish market, the Swarthmore Co-op, depending on what I'm getting. It takes time but I feel better about my choices and I've enjoyed the transactions much more. And while I'm in the neighborhood I'll pick something up at the place next door. I like to feel I'm in a place.
I choose to shape the "have-to's" into something joyous whenever possible, instead of trying to get them over with. Does that make sense?