Happily Non-essential!

Hurricane Sandy has taken the news captive. Judging by the amount of attention and panic this hurricane has caused I’m waiting for it to be called either a right or a left wing conspiracy, designed specifically to take the focus away from the looming election onto the weather.

This storm has again reminded me that Americans know more about the weather than they do their neighbors. It’s a sad commentary as it is weather crises that often bring neighbors together.

As for me – while the hurricane is raging blowing leaves outside, I am happily sipping a homemade pumpkin latte on my couch and waiting for pumpkin, cranberry scones to finish baking. I am not in my usual Monday morning cubicle going through emails and arranging and rearranging my week.

I got the text saying I would not have work yesterday afternoon. “Did you hear the Governor called a State of Emergency? All non-essential workers are to stay home” I knew immediately that it meant me! I’m not essential.

In a world that fights to be known, to be valued, to be essential, I get to be non!

I’ve never been so happy to be non-essential. Because of a storm, I am non-essential.

It struck me as ironic. It is a human trait to want to be known, needed, useful. We seek out affirmation in a myriad of ways. Yet on a Monday morning in the middle of a rushed world, to be called non-essential was a gift.

Being non-essential means I get to bake scones and write blogs; make soup and read; talk to my mom and catch up with my kids. Being non-essential means I can do the things that are so much more gratifying and long-term important than what I do on a regular schedule.

Being non-essential means I get to leave the necessary and catch up with the important — the stuff that lasts.

For if I’m honest what I do in my job will probably not last to the next decade, let alone the next century. But all this other stuff? That’s what really feels important to me.

I’ve never felt more essential then when deemed non…..

How about you? Have you had a time when you’ve been able to leave the necessary and focus on the important? Would love to hear through the comments.

28 thoughts on “Happily Non-essential!

  1. I was thinking of you as I watched the news last night wondering if you were all battening down the hatches and how your summer house would be faring. So glad you’re tucked up enjoying the essentials of being non-essential!


    1. Thank you Sophie! It was an unexpected gift. We hope our summer condo fared well…we have renters there for the year and haven’t heard anything so that’s good news!


  2. Would love to have had a non-essential day myself instead of the rainy, dull day that it was here. But what’s really bothering me is wat you’re drinking: what om earth is a pumpkin latte? Please don’t tell me you can buy pumpkin flavored coffee in the U.S now, I’m still disturbed by vanilla coffee! :-)


    1. Okay so at the risk of hurting my reputation with you….the latte was made with pumpkin creamer not coffee, BUT there is pumpkin coffee available which I do not like…so does this make me okay?


  3. Here, Here, Marilyn! Winston Churchill is credited as saying, “Graveyards are full of people who thought that they were indispensable.” What a delight to be non-essential at times. I find myself sitting on a screened veranda at a mission guest house in Kampala, Uganda, recovering from two days of sickness, sitting here watching and listening to an incredible variety of birds not found in the US and allowing life to continue around me yet not impacting me and not feeling one whit bad about it at all.


    1. I love this – I can just picture you relaxing in a place something like Shikarpur where peacocks and birds of all sorts can be heard. Thank you for giving me this picture and thought. I would so love to hear more about Kampala.


  4. Thank you Marilyn. I can totally relate to this. God had to majorly change our hearts, but I was able to leave the necessary (my job) after my first son (the important) was born. God blessed us with one more son and so much more (no, not material things) since then. I am so thankful that, 11 years later, God is still providing and I am still able to focus on the “important” things of life. Today the “important” is laundry and cleaning bathrooms. I’ll take dirtyboy clothes and toilets over the “necessary” any day!


    1. What a great comment and testament to a hard choice that in the long run probably doesn’t feel so hard. The quote that has most guided my working days has been “Who do I want to like me at 80?” That has been the gauge as I look at jobs. Thanks for sharing your important for the rest of us.


      1. So…..for that recipe?!! 1 egg, 1 stick butter (melted), 3/4 cup milk and one box of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Cranberry Scones :) Drop by Large spoonfuls onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 17 minutes! Enjoy :) If you don’t have a TJ’s near you , send me your address and they will be on the way in no time.


      1. I have a TJ’s close and will pick it up sometime. Sandy has done a number on us. No power since yesterday 7pm, during night no water which did come back this morning, got ready for work by candlelight, but came in late. Surprised that patients were not canceling and actually were here, but the traffic was very low with all schools closed and many businesses. Thankful for Starbucks so we could get our caffeine on the way to work. Trees uprooted everywhere. Thankful that our basement was still dry this morning. They are saying it may be up to 6 days to restore power.


      2. Drat, Went to TJ last night and they were sold out for the season :-( We did get power back Thursday afternoon, and moved back home from a friends where my daughter and I stayed Wednesday night. Now in the midst of finishing all the clean up, but my refrigerator is sparkling clean!


  5. You’ve put it so succinctly. My boss is struggling because due to loss of some state funding, our department is having to cutback on things and one of those is her time (not a shock to her, she’s the one who crunches the numbers). She is going down to 70% and eventually 35%. She is struggling between her loyalty to the school and the chance to be more involved w/her kids and aging parents who live 1/2 the year w/them and the other 1/2 back in Croatia. I’ve been telling her to look at is an enforced “gift” being given to her, she is the only person who can fit that job description at home but at work….Maybe she’ll cope better with the picture of being essential at home and non-essential at work. She does have flexibility since her husband is a dentist and so she’s not the sole provider. BTW, this is pretty much the similar attitude I have if I end up being released – my essential job is w/my family, the other one, not so much.


    1. “Enforced” gift – I love that. Great way to look at it. More and more in the west we are defined by our jobs. Then when the economy is poor, or we lose our jobs for another reason, or we age out – our identity suffers. Would that we would more and more see the important for what it is. Thanks Helena!


  6. You are essential to those that love you….and that includes me!
    PS: could you maybe post the recipe to those non-essential pumpkin scones? They look delicious!


    1. Shoot the boot! I KNEW someone would ask for the recipe…..It’s called Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Cranberry Scones. I am such a cheater. And thank you for your lovely words on my essentiality. (new word?!)


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