Guest Post: “Chores”

Good morning. 

I asked David if he would post a guest entry from me on his blog. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my experience with so many of my virtual friends in a space and a community that inspires me. So here we go…

Chores by Haley Nahman inspired this. 

First, some background.

I have six months left on the right side of 50. This makes me Generation X. My Father is from the Silent Generation. My Mother is a Baby Boomer.  The Silents and the Boomers built this world we live in. They ground it out. They stood it up. They worked. And while their blood flows through me, my body, mind, and soul roam in a new era. The pace can’t be maintained. The planet can’t sustain it. It is time for a fine-tuning of the approach for our way forward. A re-setting so to speak. Everyone from all generations now needs to Learn, the learning that requires lots of unlearning to take place. That needs slowing down.

I took a two-year break from Social Media. It’s difficult to explain why, but I just had enough. There was too much mindless scrolling. It was very noisy.

And then, if that wasn’t enough, I quit a professionally fulfilling job in August, with a preeminent institution that I highly respect…I’m sure most would say, “Wow, impressive.” Hours were long (very). But, I loved the work. The pay was good. I was told that I was highly effective at a job I dreamed about — but…I needed to move on.

Team members (friends) continue to call to chat. They call to understand why I left.  Why? They call to ask what I’m doing now, so I explain.

“I’ve been walking to the grocery store daily to get what I need to cook dinner.” The work friend suggests: “Why don’t you plan for the week and go to the store once.”  It’s hard to explain to those of us on the treadmill, but I find joy in walking to the grocery store. I take the long way. I walk through alleys. I then meander up and down the aisles in the grocery store to find what inspires me. And then I walk home. All of this can best be explained as finding peace and joy that I had not felt in a long time.

Chores.’ English is not my first language. Ever since I started learning English, my brain registered chores as work people did not want to do.  It does not feel like a synonym for a task, errand, or something I need to do or would like to check off my list as I put my beautiful day together. 

Taking a sabbatical from Social Media in January of 2021, and then resigning from my job in August 2022, have enabled me to control how I spend my days. Because “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing.” Annie Dillard said.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

  1. Just because I am good at something is not reason enough for me to do it for a living. And I acknowledge it is so hard to stop!
  2. I am a gas guzzler with low miles per gallon. Or an electric car. I need to make frequent stops for fuel. 
  3. To refuel or recharge, I need to disconnect FULLY.
  4. My center of gravity is not my work life. Toni Morrison said it best here in “The Work You Do, The Person You Are:”
    • Whatever the work is, do it well—not for the boss but for yourself.
    • You make the job; it doesn’t make you.
    • Your real life is with us, your family.
  5. You are not the work you do; you are the person you are.

There was an ache akin to a pain only she who has breastfed knows. The ache a nursing mother feels when something stands between her and nurturing her infant, what matters the most. Work was the adult with a tight grip on my wrist, a little girl being dragged along, weaving in and out of oncoming traffic. I could not keep up. And it hurt. And I felt small. I felt a need to just stop to pull myself together.  So, I’ve traded long hours and a few bucks each year, and then I took those few bucks and invested in Me. Yet, I acknowledge the Grinders, building the rails that we ride, while others, me included, contribute in our own way, and watch the sunrise above the din.

The Pandemic slowed our world down. What got away as background noise, became loud and disturbing as everything else paused. It’s like my world was saying, “please, stop, get down on your knees at my eye level and pay attention to me.” I am still at its eye level paying attention, and I will be down here for some time.

Thank you,


DK: Note. This quote from Thich Nhat Hanh reminded me of Sawsan living his guidance: 

“If while washing dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not “washing the dishes to wash the dishes.” What’s more, we are not alive during the time we are washing the dishes. In fact we are completely incapable of realizing the miracle of life while standing at the sink. If we can’t wash the dishes, the chances are we won’t be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus we are sucked away into the future—and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life.”


  1. amazing, honest, and wonderful

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The thing about it, is that, each and every generation, we may be related by blood, however, due to how we were all born, in the different generations of time, it’s sometimes, hard, to not impose our own values onto the generations that followed our own, thinking that we know what’s good for them, when we don’t, because each and every generation has different things that we’re learning, what worked for our parents, doesn’t work for us, and, what works for us, also, may not work, for our own, children, and sometimes, we just, forget this.

    Liked by 2 people

    • We have a lot to learn from the older generations. The provide the cushion for our world. That being said, I personally see the younger generation have a message for us and we should be attentive. They are propelling us into the future, a different future.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you, DK for giving Sawsan a safe place to share her loving wisdom. Your quote goes so perfectly with this honest and smart text.
    You, Sawsan, are a wonderful human being. I love this share and hope there will be more in the future. (And I totally get that doing what you love to make your day your own should not be called a chore.)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I think there are many who will read this and offer resounding applause and agreement. The courage to walk without clarity as to what or where, and the joy in the discovery of the everyday in the process. No doubt there are many of us who have shared a similar path to Sawsan’s – albeit without the pleasure of her company or the literary gifts she just shared with us…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you for your kind words, Mimi!
    I typed my resignation email on a Tuesday morning, hovered over the ‘send’ button for a few seconds. Something tugged at my heart but felt no hesitation, just like ripping a bandaid.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Powerful post! Sawsan’s story inspires.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. This really brought me up short, Sawsan. I so admire your clarity and courage…knowing that something needed to change and having the fortitude to take that ‘step off the cliff,’ away from something you knew and loved (even if draining) to regain your center. I am so happy that you are reclaiming your joy and ‘sucking the marrow’ out of each day’s offerings. May every day bring new delights. (And DK, your contribution to this ‘call and response’ is pitch perfect. 💕)

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Wonderful post, inspiring. Thank you for sharing your insight, Sawson, and David, for providing the space.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. niasunset says:

    This is really wonderful, impressing and yes, inspiring too. When I started to read, she wasn’t someone who I didn’t meet, oppositely I was knowing her, her words, her thoughts caught me. Thank you for sharing with us dear Dave and sure Thank you for Annie Dillard and Sawsan too. This is another great post. Love, nia

    Liked by 2 people

  10. This is a powerful musing, Sawsan, and encouraging! It’s awful to give up a source of income and/or perceived work-cred, but, right — living on automatic pilot isn’t living. And chores don’t have to be chores!🌷

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I think it’s wonderful that Sawsan is able to live this awakening, this attentiveness, this slowing down and being present. For many though, doing all of this to this degree might not be possible. I know it’s not for me. No one ever knows what challenges life will present and the manner in which we live now is shaped by both our choices and the accidental occurrences which might force us to live a certain way. If I had been asked in my 20’s what I thought my life might be like when I’m older, I never would have thought it would be this. So work continues at a job I don’t even really like because some people depend upon me and we all need to survive. Still, even through the grind, we can connect to this world of ours. We can try to be aware. I’m happy Sawsan is able to experience the fullness of it all. It’s a gift, it truly is.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Carol. A whole lot of wisdom in your comment. And I agree with you. Thank you for sharing.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Absolutely Carol, I agree. And it was neglectful of me not to touch on your point when I wrote this. For this post to be complete I should have mentioned that I too need to work to survive. I have depends as well. And in less that a week I was safe in the net of what I do as an independent contractor. When I made my decision to leave I had a cushion to fall on. We all need to work, and even if I didn’t need to, I cannot imagine myself not working, not contributing to society somehow, no matter what it is I’m doing. I left a job I Ioved, that did not allow me to breathe.

      I’m still working, I’m still busy, I find tremendous joy in my work. What’s different is that I have the time to do more than just work.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I ran across this today, Sawsan – and thought of you…“I am still every age that I have been. Because I was once a child, I am always a child. Because I was once a searching adolescent, given to moods and ecstasies, these are still part of me, and always will be… This does not mean that I ought to be trapped or enclosed in any of these ages… Far too many people misunderstand what ‘putting away childish things’ means, and think that forgetting what it is like to think and feel and touch and smell and taste and see and hear like a three-year-old or a thirteen-year-old or a twenty-three-year-old means being grownup. When I’m with these people I, like the kids, feel that if this is what it means to be a grown-up, then I don’t ever want to be one. Instead of which, if I can retain a child’s awareness and joy, and ‘be’ fifty-one, then I will really learn what it means to be grownup.”
    Madeleine L’Engle

    Max Svabinsky – Babicka v salu, 1906.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. When we listen to our hearts and not our mind, stories and taught beliefs. We create a lot more room to see life from a new perspective. I’m so happy you pressed ‘send’ and had the courage to go against the treadmill of life Sawsan. It’s very powerful and inspiring. 👏👏🧡🧡

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thank you Sawsan for sharing your authentic being and how you are waking up to what is most important in life. This is a special time of growth and understanding.
    Thank you DK for this.💛

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Truly inspiring. Thank you, Sawsan.


  16. Thanks for sharing this. Living in the United States means living in a culture that fetishizes making $$$$$$, being “productive”, busy, rushing everywhere, always impatient. To quit a job is a great privilege and to regain control of one’s limited time and energy. This culture — driven, always by status anxiety and unfettered capitalism demanding MORE of everyone but of its $$$$$$$$ CEOs — is not ever going to let up. It’s our choice to stay in its thrall or make big changes. It’s not cool or hip or impressive to live with less and move more slowly. But it’s a valid and empowering choice for many of us. Good for her!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thank you @saswan and @DK for writing and sharing this post. A timely reminder to stop and smell the roses. You have reminded me of this wonderful poem:

    What is this life if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare.

    No time to stand beneath the boughs
    And stare as long as sheep or cows.

    No time to see, when woods we pass,
    Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

    No time to see, in broad daylight,
    Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

    No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
    And watch her feet, how they can dance.

    No time to wait till her mouth can
    Enrich that smile her eyes began.

    A poor life this if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare.

    ~ William Henry Davies (1871-1940), Welsh poet

    Liked by 2 people

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