The Problem with Spain

Photo on 2012-07-02 at 21.20.jpg

view from my home 'office' in Ataun

Usually I reserve my blog for pretty photos of my favorite things:  food and Basque country.  But, since it is my blog and therefore I can do whateva I wanna, well, today I need to get something off my chest.

Since I moved to Spain three-and-a-half years ago, I have had so many lightbulb moments. While many of them have been mayonnaise-related, there actually have been some serious ones. Where you find yourself feeling like an eight-year-old who has just learned a new fact in school.

One of those moments was realizing that if something work-related had to wait until Monday, the world would not end. So often, false urgency is forced upon us, both by bosses and by ourselves.  I can't remember what the exact task was, but I remember how thrilling and freeing it was to just accept that the task wouldn't be done "on time", yet would get done, and that really and truly it was not a life or death situation. 

Little by little, month by month, I learned to take a healthier approach to work life balance.

this is how we do it. work date at office #3, astoria7 

But, of course, what is essentially a more laid-back, humane view of work has its darker sides.  And the further immersed I get into my own projects, the more frustrating this dainty approach to the stresses of hard work becomes.

Oh, you had to wake up at seven thirty? I'm sorry.

Oh, you work nine hours a day? I'm sorry.

I understand, you just had to have that hour (or more) for lunch, I mean, who can imagine skipping lunch or eating WHILE you work. Gasp.

Yeah, working for a few hours at night after a day at the office is unthinkable. I mean, can you imagine not having time to disconnect? So stresssssful.

Wake up early Saturday? Cut short weekend lunch? Tell your parents you just can't dine with them this weekend? Tell your friends that you won't be doing the exact thing that you do every Saturday night of your entire life? Unthinkable.

I think if you asked the person who knows me the best, Chip, he would tell you that I don't complain about my workload. Really ever. Even when I was working a full-time job and balancing it with 15 hours of teaching a week, other projects, hobbies, family, and the odd article (did I mention sleep?).  So many days I worked after Buckley's bedtime, from eight to midnight, only to wake up at six and work until the house was awake. And then work a regular workday. And if you asked my friends, I don't know that they would be able to distinguish the days where I have pulled a semi-all nighter and the days where I have slept eight hours.

Maybe I'm young, but at least at this moment in my life, I feel like you just have to do what you have to do. It's temporary. And if it's something you care about, then just expletive expletive do it! Or, yes, coddle yourself and your sensibility of the 'correct' amount of work, go back to your comfortable routine, keep earning those 800 euros a month, and let someone else do something so you can complain about it.

Photo on 2013-09-14 at 11.13.jpg

a "sad working face" selfie at office #4, narru

So, I am at the point where I honestly don't know which way of living is the best, but I  do think that after writing this post the steam has stopped coming out of my ears.

Espero que no le haya ofendido a nadie. I should mention I know, like, one person here who is not like this.

And, para que sepaís, this post was written with a timer set for 15 minutes, at the same time as I scarfed down my lunch. American productivity at its best.