‘I rest by working.’ – I’ve said this so many times and recently it’s becoming like a personal motto. And still, even though my ‘free’ time is completely filled up and I couldn’t fit more even if I wanted to, I always have this strange anxiety feeling that I am not doing enough, that there is much more that can be done.
I remember the first time I was asked to help with work, I must have been 5-6 or so and my parents send us to the garden to dig and collect potatoes. I felt resentment and with my whole being I was prepared to fight this injustice – how come life all of a sudden was not only playing games, chasing the cats in the backyard and catching frogs in the river? They should have at least warned me. Potato digging an collection was definitely not on my ‘top things I want to do’ list. But then I got on with it. When I think about it I got on with things in general. I didn’t even think of protesting because somehow I knew my parents were right, they were always right by presumption. The same way I never asked again for a toy I wanted at the time when I was given the argument ‘We can’t afford it’, I somehow understood. It’s strange. I’ve seen kids that cry to their parents because of things they can’t get. Instead I would prefer to cry to myself, I wouldn’t want them to see.
Later, when we were already in school we would spend every summer holiday at my grandparents’ village. My granddad, a retired train-driver, is the type of person who can’t stand to see someone not doing anything. He would fill our day with tasks from logs loading and unloading, moving huge piles of heavy stones, harvesting a whole sunflower field with our own hands, planting a whole sweetcorn field, blackberries collection, watering the garden, picking cherries, boiling jams and whatever not. I didn’t accept is as a burden, just the opposite – it was a challenge, and an adventure. I think this had a big influence on my character, it taught me not to complain about things but to do something about it: even if I don’t succeed, at least I tried.
My mum has always told me that one might not have much money but it is important to be clean – in and out, that’s what matters more and that’s what will keep a person at a higher level.