Time to welcome the new year and get back to work 102

Christmas has come and gone. The holiday china is put away. The grandchildren have taken their gifts home and now wait patiently or impatiently, as their different personalities dictate, for next Christmas, when they can do it all over again.

We’ve opened the door to a new year, with all its possibilities and pitfalls. Soon we’ll take down the tree, the outside lights and holiday decorations throughout the house.

Now, late in my seventh decade, as I pack these away I always think about next Christmas and how quickly the year passes. Time can be tricky. It seems to speed up as we age. There are days I even feel somewhat cheated when the hours pass too quickly.

Now it’s time to get back to the normal daily schedule. It’s time to get back to work. I’ve thought about this concept we call work in all its facets.

Obviously, what one person considers work may be another person’s diversion or even entertainment and vice-versa. For example, I enjoy working in the kitchen. If I’m not rushed, I don’t consider cooking or baking work. They seem more like relaxing diversions to me. Yet, I know people who would do almost anything to avoid either or both.

I, on the other hand, would have to be tied down and threatened before I would undertake quilting or doing crossword puzzles, two activities that many people enjoy.

Certain chores can be done almost automatically. Scrubbing the floor, loading the dishwasher, shoveling snow, going from room to room with the vacuum humming: All these leave the mind free to wander, to ponder or to worry, depending on what’s going on in our lives.

Creative work, on the other hand, is different. Writing, painting, playing an instrument, acting, teaching: This work almost always involves the

body, the mind and the spirit completely.

To live a balanced life, I believe we need both kinds of work, as well as no work at all from time to time.

Results from a recent study conducted by researchers at McMaster University, in Canada, shed some interesting light on the subject of daily, household tasks. The Daily Mail, the U.K.’s second largest newspaper, reported on this study. According to the article, researchers point out the benefits of plain, old household work, claiming, “Domestic duties that keep you active are just as good as gym workouts.”

This study tracked 130,000 people from

17 countries. The results are interesting, especially for people like my husband, Rob, who considers regular gym workouts a waste of time and energy.

The study suggests that staying active for 750 minutes a week can slash the chances of an early death by almost 40 percent. That’s a remarkable claim. It tells us we might be able to cut our chances of early death almost in half by actively working on simple household chores for 2 1/2 hours, five days a week.

Certainly, physical work is important. It has the double benefit of keeping our bodies strong and keeping our homes and yards clean and organized.

Let us not forget creative work has its own benefits and importance. It can be a welcome panacea. It can even be a form of escape from the frustrations and barbs of the world and all its intrusions.

For me, and I suspect for many of you, gentle readers, it is an absolutely essential component for a good life.

In this coming year, this brand new, fresh year of 2018 just peeking over our horizon, I wish for you work of both kinds and the good health to enjoy it all.

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