I often think that I would have liked to have been something besides a business professional. I guess it’s because I’m just not sure I was actually intended to be a white collar sort of guy. Sure, I am thankful for the opportunities I have been afforded in Corporate America, but the rewards come at a price in my view and a more simple existence is often nagging in the back of my mind. The “ROI” as we say in the business world, just seems to always balance out in the red when it comes to expending life. The incalculable time spent away from family, the wear of office politics, the drama, the red tape, lack of recognition, and little hope of enjoying any fresh air until the day is long gone - all seems a bit unnatural and degrading. The time just goes “whooshing” by. And to what cause? To support my family, well of course, and do the best I can for them. The hope is that I might retire before I am too old to otherwise enjoy life. This is what I and many others do and what we strive for. In the words of Steve Turner, “What's selected is average. What's average is normal. What's normal is good.” And while it is easy to justify this average life, it often leaves me wandering personally - is this the life I was intended for or is there something else I could or even should be doing with the time I have been given?
There are several Christian responses here and they all want to well up simultaneously. I could quickly jump to ministry as an alternative. This is something I have always been passionate about anyway. I could easily argue for the impact I might have if I were simply more intentional in my witness while at the office or if I regarded my time at work as having a more divine purpose. I believe those things would perhaps all be true and I do not refute any of them. I also know God can and does use us, despite ourselves but cooperation helps a great deal. But I wonder if some of those responses are partly a cop-out; an appeal to my faith as justification for an otherwise selfish and wasteful existence. I guess my wondering appeals toward something more basic and simple. For me, I think sometimes a more simple life might be nobler and better justified. It sounds crazy but about 10 acres with old hardwoods, a mix of natural wood and stone fences, and small but fertile fields sounds like a great start. A relatively small but comfortable house would do; something with a nice front porch, a well equipped kitchen, and an old stone fireplace. Even better would be if this little farm were not far from the coast.
And what on earth would I do with such a place? Mostly farming I guess - growing and tending to fruits, herbs, and vegetables, heirloom trees, and a small vineyard. I might also raise some stock, mostly chickens, sheep, and a few Jersey cows. Yes, I would be a farmer of sorts, but the most ideal circumstance to me would be to land a few deals to supply nearby restaurants with organically grown, seasonal produce. The varieties grown would be specially suited to gourmet cooking and to supplying some of the more hard to find items. Admittedly farming would not be nearly the same notoriety as say a business executive, but just as rewarding in the end in my mind.
Most importantly, I would be with my family; with my girls teaching them and instructing them. I would have more time for them and for the Lord. The daily commute would consist of coming and going just the same, but it would never require that I leave home. My time and energy would be equally if not more exhausted, sure, but at least the fruits of my labor would affect me and my family directly. I imagine such an endeavor would not likely have the propensity to provide me or my family any great fortunes, but perhaps it might overall be time better spent. Now don't start getting too worried. I am not entertaining this alternative life too seriously, but perhaps one day I might. One just wonders about such things.