Shades of grey and a new job

Grant starts a new job this week. It's full-time seasonal work with the forestry department. It's a good solid government job, and he is really looking forward to it. To be honest, so is our bank balance. It's a job he has wanted for a while but with Elsie being a baby and things so basic here, he didn't feel the time was right to apply as he is required to work away sometimes. But Elsie is getting bigger, the track is slowly being improved and the farm is becoming easier to manage.   

These photos were taken on a recent afternoon spent fishing with Grant's parents when they were visiting. They hired a boat for a couple of hours and we all really enjoyed ourselves. 

He left the dairy job after realizing there were very different communication styles and different expectations that were not going to be resolved. He watched the dairy churn through staff and it proved to be an unnecessarily stressful time. He enjoyed the work and the pay was fair, but after a few months of slogging his guts out it became clear that it wasn't going to work long-term. He had already started to apply for other jobs before deciding to hand in his resignation early. Over the past month or two, while forestry went through the slow government process of due diligence, he has been working full-time on the farm. It has been wonderful to have him here getting stuck into some big jobs like getting the bug shed usable and starting on the permanent fencing. The children loved having him about for their two-week school holidays and for once he was able to enjoy our recent run of visitors right alongside us. The timing, despite being initially stressful, could not have been better. 

Being seasonal forestry work, it is likely there will be days or even weeks working away fighting fires in national parks and forestry areas. Though he will be fairly reimbursed for being away, I am a little anxious about managing this place on my own. The dogs are excellent security, especially Hagrid the livestock guardian dog so I am not concerned about that. I'm more concerned about managing the animals, the children and keeping the house running in some kind of fashion. Fortunately, the boys are getting bigger and growing more helpful by the week. Slowly but surely our off-grid systems are improving. The days are longer meaning our solar is doing better too. We also have a small backup generator now which brings further peace of mind. Knowing Grant would likely be working away this summer, we recently upgraded our internet to Skylink, though it was a costly investment it was a necessary one.  Without satellite internet, we would have almost zero phone access. Our new and improved internet means communicating with the outside world is clear, fast, easy and reliable. It has brought me significant peace of mind. We also have some wonderful neighbours and friends I can call on if need be, so we will never really be alone. But still, I prefer it when Grant is home with us. 

Keeping good relations with neighbours is one of the important things about living in the country. In the city, if neighbours don't get along, there is no reason not to express that dislike. We have watched city folk move to the country and maintain that attitude, which results in them essentially throwing away their security blanket. In the country, where trees can fall on roads, floods can block off properties and bushfires can threaten livelihoods, it's best to live a  peaceful, accepting life with those around us. The further out you live from town, the more important it becomes to learn how to get along. To truly accept people for who they are, rather than what we wish they were. 

It seems we live in a world increasingly geared towards the opposite. News articles and situations are presented to us as strictly black or white. There is a growing expectation that people will agree with us without making room for listening to different viewpoints. To disagree respectfully seems to be a diminishing art form. Social media and algorithms designed to feed us only the things we like are a significant contributing factor I'm sure. As are news sites that report with strong bias, whether the station leans towards a conservative or liberal viewpoint, the effect is the same. In this day and age we have the ability to tune into whatever outlet gives us what we want to see and hear, rather than delivering a broader picture if what we need to see. We frequently see that people hold firm opinions about what "other" generations are or aren't, instead of seeing the beauty, wisdom and strengths in each and every age group. In an ever-increasing competitive job market, I often hear stories of employers expecting perfection from employees but delivering significantly less than perfection themselves. Unfortunately, due to the need to source good references and an increasingly casual workforce, employees are left with no real voice, lest they rock the boat. 

It seems for most of us, life is lived within the shades of grey. Each of us has strengths and weaknesses and we muddle through the best we can. Some of us are high achieving in a particular area, some of us are generalists who do well at a broad range of things, some of us are talkers, and some are listeners. Some are mathematicians and statisticians while others are intuitive and creative. Some have a heart to quietly serve those they care about, others may stand on their soap box and fight for inequality publically.

It seems to me that society is increasingly focussed on seeing what those around us are not, rather than what they are. When we look at what our garden has produced, rather than what it hasn't we can joyfully celebrate our harvest. When we focus on the things our community does well, it can inspire us to reach out a little wider. When we seek people's strengths and see the value they bring just as they are, we are less likely to become fixated and overly critical of their weaknesses. 

When we can find acceptance of our own shortcomings, it frees us up to see beauty in the various shades of grey that exist within all aspects of our lives, setting us up for a happier, more joyful and better-connected life. 

This morning as I have my cuppa, I'm looking at our tiny somewhat cluttered home, filled with washing hung at various stages of drying thinking about all the things we have, and all the people whose presence bless our lives. Including you dear readers. I hope you have a lovely day. 

Much love,

PS I have had some readers email recently to let me know they couldn't comment. I have played around with some settings and it seems ok on my end from what I can find. But amidst fiddling I have managed to be able to comment as myself again rather than anonymous, so I have managed to change something. If you have a moment could you let me know if you are able to comment or not? For a writer, comments are a lovely part of blogging and I'd like to ensure it is possible for those who want to chat! xx  


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