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Practical details

Lately I've heard people mentioning that they like the way I pay attention to little details of practical life and then connect them with broader philosophical ponderings. Well, I guess all the philosophy I studied at The University left me with a feeling that a grand theoretical world view gets its true meaning only when implemented in practical details of daily life. Or, to be more precise, I realized this at those years I spent at home being a father - a theoretical vision about good parenting was of little use unless I found ways to make it come true in daily life. At those sleep-deprivated moments, while cooking food and trying to offer comfort to a crying kid it is not a theoretical view which helps - it is spontaneous gut reactions which kick in and carry the moment. And if ones philosphical views and spontanenous emotional reactions contradict each other, then it is the emotional content of reactions which matter the most - you can't justify a nasty emotional reaction by saying: "oh, but I still have this beautiful philosophical idea, it is only that I don't know how to express it in my daily life. But don't judge me as a nasty person, as in reality I'm a nice person with beautiful ideas. It is only that my reactions and most of my behavior is nasty, rude and displeasant. Please ignore that and see my true personality, which is abstract, theoretical and disconnected from the rest of the reality". Sure, my own childhood left me with a whole bunch of nasty emotional reactions - and an equally big bunch of philosophical ideals to counter that way of reacting. So, in odrer to stay true to my ideals I had to find ways to work with my emotional layer. Ah, so, at the university I just learned ways to theoretically formulate that the practical details of daily life are always somehow more fundamental than the theories.

Practical details. And I'm still struggling with those, trying to find more clarity and coherence in the little details of my own life - I feel that I'm not so good at it =) Let's have a closer look. After I returned from Oulu I felt inspired and energetic. I was happy that this year I have managed to adjust my life more towards "instead of working 6 days a week, work less and spend more time meeting friends. Keep contact with your biological family, attend cultural events, get inspired." So, visiting Oulu was a practical implementation of that idea. Then I was working for five days - but luckily enough the days weren't nearly as long as I've been doing before. Still, I noticed my energies wearing low. So, the next weekend I visited Tampere - I met my dear friends, laughed a lot, and we listened to some good music; Arto Järvelä (He composed this piece inspired by the sound of train brakes), Yona (I had already been thinking for several years that I'd like to see her live performance), and Emily Portman (this piece was amazing. Since she didn't have a band with her, she asked the audience to chant the chorus "Stick Stock Stone Dead", which we did. Repeating that over and over again was kind of a shamanistic trip for me.)

I returned back home at sunday noon. Once again I felt energetic and inspired. The weather was sunny and nice, I only had customers for massage at tuesday evening. So I enjoyed my time at home, making firewood, working with Raiku's hooves and emotional reactions, raking the yard, burning some old trash and re-arranging stuff in the outdoor shed. Thinks like that, ordinary small cozy little things - things which I don't have time to do if I kept on having customers six days a week... Inside the outdoor shed were the raw lamb hides, stored with salt. On tuesday morning I cooked some coffee and scraped away all the fat what there still was left on the inner side of hides. It would have been better to do this a week or two after butchering - but somehow the whole winter just went and I didn't feel energetic enough to concentrate on that task. Now have I mentioned that I've problems with managing my timetables? Oh well. But after these two weekends with friends and cultural events I felt energetic and happy to work with traditional handcrafts. I got the third hide cleaned just in time, then I washed my hands, changed clothes and went to see my customers.

Now as I write this it is wednesday. I had a first customer at 9 am, and I returned home at about 8 pm - it was eight customers, with couple of breaks in between. And tomorrow will be another longish day with seven or eight customers. And in my phone I have an SMS from a customer, who is asking for a time at the coming weekend - I should answer him. Should I answer "yes" or "no"? If I have this general idea of "reduce your working hours, take better care of yourself", then does that imply that I should just say "no"? Then, on the other hand, I know that if I reply "yes", it will make me enough money to buy foodstuff for three weeks - provided that I then reduce my working hours and spend more time fishing. And, the more I save money now, the more freedom I will have in the coming summer. As, I have promised myself that this year I'll have a proper summer holiday.

I know I have been dreaming of a proper holiday for quite many years. But I've been earning money from hand to mouth - which means that I can't afford a month with no customers. Well, but I don't complain. These years have learnt me a lot about living on a small budget, and about managing my stress level. So, I hope that this summer it is finally time to make use of what I've learned, to have a summer holiday of four or six weeks. But what should I do before starting the holiday? To work as much as I possibly can, so that I'll have more money for the summer? Or should I radically reduce my working hours as soon as possible? I think I once tried how a burn-out feels like - it wasn't a pleasant experience and I don't want to try it again. Well, but listening to myself I know that I'm nowhere near a burn-out; I still have energy to do all the work I've been doing. And this is how it goes; when I work too much I find it harder to think clearly, I find it harder to make focused decisions, and I end up just saying "yes" to any customer, again having bit too much of work to be done, being chronically tired and unable to think clearly... I see a downwards spiral here.

So, sure, "reduce your working hours, take better care of yourself" is a good general goal to be aimed at. But what are the practical details of implementing that idea? As I'm self employed, it is me who has to make the decision. Decisions, decisions - it takes so much energy to make all these decisions. I'd like to enjoy a holiday, with no need to make decisions, just taking it easy and letting my energies recover. But if I want to have a holiday, I'd better make a decision to have one. Oh, yes, it is only that I first need that holiday to gain enough energy to make such decisions in a clear and focused manner. Nah, come on, Erkka, now you are just repeating that same old pattern over and over again. Instead of spiralling down, step out of the loop and ... Oh, OK, I know you are going to reply "yes" to that customer for the coming weekend. Well, go ahead, but remember that you can't do that forever. At some point you just have to break the loop. Talking to myself, as if that would be of some help... Blah, time to go outdoors to feed the animals, and then go get some sleep.

A cat and a coffee pot
A cat and a coffee pot
461 users have voted.


The cat ask for a Massage too, but she can't use her Phone to send you a SMS! :)
well this downside spiral do everybody of us experience, some as mere employees , other as self employed, and some lonely "warriors" as peoples which do "Homecare" for near/close relatives.
personally i know for my self i have to cut my self out of the equation, but as your own self reflection says, you will answer with "yes" i will come around for you. i hope for you for a good summer holiday atleast for minimal 2 weeks from wednesday till wdnesday traveling through the whole Finnland and the last 3 days to dip your "soul" in peace and solitude of the daily tasks to regain personal calmness :)

ps: what are you doing with your animals etc. if you would be away for longer than 2-3 weeks ? ( personally i just can bring up a House-sitter on my mind) ^^

Yup, burn-out, exhaustion, depression, rat-race and constant stress - they are widespread diseases in the modern world.

If I'm away for one night, I can leave enough food and water for the animals to survive. If I make a longer trip, I need help - either a house-sitter, or somebody visiting once a day to check everything.

Actually, I think these are connected - if I try to do too much stuff all alone, I soon begin to feel exhausted. But as I have friends and neighbours around, I feel that I can ask for help when needed, and it makes life easier =)


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