Obligations, Choices and Spring Commitments










Do you experience conflict between following your own path, obligations to others and the need to generate income? Most of us do, that is why an estimated 80% of North Americans are unhappy with their jobs, careers or business activities.

We might not yet be in a position where we can remove this type of conflict from our lives, but we do have a choice in how we deal with it.

Today I start my annual, temporary and part-time return to one of my former activities. I approach the return much more positively than in the two previous years, let me tell you why that should be so and what I will be doing.

Previous posts have dealt with my move to Canada and involvement in farming here. That involvement has been very different to running my own farm back in Africa.

The farming families in the area where I now live, were exceptionally good to me when I first arrived almost as a refugee 9 years ago. So good that I decided to live in this area and build a working relationship with them by providing irrigation and greenhouse services.

A heart attack in 2010 put an end to that business and gave me a sharp reminder that I had been drifting along in a familiar – if uncomfortable – rut for too long. Despite fiddling around with various on-line opportunities, I had put off making a real effort to develop a new business that did not require the long hours of physical work that I was doing

After the heart attack, I was determined that I would not return to any farm type work even if the doctors gave me the anticipated go ahead after six months. My determination was driven by the frustration of doing what I had formerly paid other people to do as much as the relatively low return on time invested.

In the Spring of 2011, one of my former clients asked me if I would be able to spend two hours a day supervising several greenhouses for the three-month growing season, I agreed for three reasons:

  • I desperately needed more income.
  • I felt an obligation to help because of all the help he had given me previously.
  • After six months spent on the computer, I welcomed the opportunity to spend time outside.

Part of me saw the need to accept the offer as failure, financial need showed I had not achieved my goals. The reality was that the income was useful, the short time each day did not make a huge difference to my business building activities, I did enjoy being outside in the sun and I benefited from increased physical activity.

What I did not enjoy was having to adopt a schedule of starting my tour of the greenhouses at the same time every morning, 7 days a week and returning again in the evenings on very hot or unusually cold, windy days for an additional inspection. More proof that I am terminally unemployable in a conventional job!

At the end of the three months, I vowed that I would not allow myself to be in a position where I would need or feel obliged, to do it again.

Last year the same farmer asked me again, for the same reasons I agreed. For the same reasons, I vowed that would be the last time.

This year for the same reasons, I am about to do it again!  I am determined that this will be the last time. That determination allows me to look at the time I will be spending on the farm as a welcome diversion and an opportunity for serious daily thinking and planning time away from the computer. By looking at it this way and as a  way to express my appreciation for the help I have received, I can see it as a positive experience and not a failure.

How do you deal with similar conflicts in your life?

Wishing you success.

Peter Wright


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  3 comments for “Obligations, Choices and Spring Commitments

  1. Roberta
    April 6, 2013 at 11:01 am

    The closest I have come to what you have been experiencing these last few years was in the 90’s. I kept a gratitude journal. Was surprised how much it helped. If you care to read about it I did blog it. Let me know and I will send link.

    As for the essay you sent me on ressentiment ~ most interesting and strong argument. I would never have thought about the Mormons. Seems as if a precedent has been set. And I am sure the Supremes are well aware of this.

    As for discussing issues these days the article is right on. What I can’t figure out is how do we get back to just trying to solve problems and compromise so that the Union survives.

    Interesting times we live in for sure.

  2. April 10, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Yes, I would like to read your post about your gratitude journal Roberta, please email me the link. I have also been keeping a gratitude journal for the last few years – after getting over my automatic, masculine aversion for any “touchy-feely” stuff. I had an experience yesterday which made me once again, realise how fortunate I am. I will publish a post about it within the next week.

    As for discussing issues, I believe it is more confirmation of the pendulum theory and that it will take a few more years for it to start swinging back towards more common-sense in this and other issues.

    • Roberta
      April 11, 2013 at 2:33 pm

      I agree on the pendulum theory. (Must get that book.) That seems to be the case in America both in my short life span and in my reading of our history.

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