Why do some things seem so much harder than they have to be? What if we could instead make those things that were once considered hard easier? It took a while, but I finally found a way to make things easier for me which may work for you too.
It took a warm spring day for me to realize that winter was over. That meant it was time to do something that I found no pleasure in doing; it was time to get the backyard ready for summer. I didn’t know where to start or even want to do it. This changed when I spoke to a friend who listened to me sympathetically and echoed almost the same thoughts about her yard. Realizing that I was not alone with feelings on this same subject, I asked her to help me work in my yard for two hours, and I would do the same for her another day. What would take four hours working alone could be done in half the time, and it would be easier having a friend. I am happy to say that yesterday, we spent only one hour and finished almost everything that I had been dreading to do alone.
This reminded me of a watered down version of earlier America when barn raising was a community action. Building barns may not be my call-to-action, but I can work alongside my friends and neighbors with similar needs. The answer is to create personal co-ops.
A co-op is defined as a cooperative organization. A co-op consists of you, another person, or multiple people outside of your household that share a common need. Your co-op would be specific to your needs. You can have more than one as each one may be different people for the different areas of your life. After all, many of your friends that share your interests or lifestyle will also need similar help with housework, yard work, and family care. Everybody benefits by saving time, saving money, adding more skills, and most important, enjoying yourselves.
Think about all the things you can accomplish with friends sharing the same needs or wants.
- Dinners – take turns cooking dinner on a set schedule
- Caretakers – take turns ‘babysitting’ children around on school days or for date night
- Gardening – exchange vegetables and fruits as the season progresses
- Planting – get the flower beds ready or the vegetable gardens together
- Painting Parties – gather all friends even if it’s not a swap of services because you will supply the food and drinks while they offer their time and laughter
- Garage Sales – one weekend belongs to your house and another to theirs
If you like any of the ideas, go to the internet to see how some people have created Community Co-ops or Neighborhood Co-ops for suggestions. Or, just as they did a hundred years ago, sit at a table with friends and work out the details. Anything is possible when two minds want the same thing, think of it as a different version of friends with benefits.
Step back from thoughts about how you did things in the past, and see if you can find solutions and better ways to enjoy all areas of your life. By allowing yourself to find an easier way to get things done, you will replace sweat and labor with laughter and joy.