Beginning each year we invariably make resolutions to change the course of our lives for the better; and a short time later we mostly fail to recall even a few. For us, the times we could reflect and make changes were both unexpected and unwanted.
My opportunity came when we had no money to spare. The economy had tanked — there were simply no jobs or projects to be had! My delightful wife came up with a solution — “the sabbatical without money” — which was otherwise the venue only of academics. But, why not, I loved to read but never had time; but now, I could investigate to my heart’s content.
I started with a book I had read in college, Small is Beautiful, whose values had always intrigued me, and for almost five months my mind expanded into the world of “economics as if people mattered.” At the height of the ego of my investigation I even started a book which I called “On the way to the future, someone forgot about mortals.” But, about that my work life came back to life. Still, the foundation of the reading of that time has always lingered in the forefront of my being, whatever I was doing.
My wife’s opportunity came after we had retired, bought, and worked too hard on our little dream farm. One morning, about four years into that adventure, we loaded the car with all the necessities of her life and drove her away from her incessant and profoundly-caring worries about anything do with our dream farm (the drought, the chickens, the sheep, the garden or any other of the things that she loved too much) — back to the mountains where she felt not worry, but inspiration. I stayed with my truck, my friends Liam, the Irish Wolfhound, and Dennis the cat, getting the farm ready to sell. She had almost 5 months of her unplanned sabbatical.