I had a single week of vacation time to try and shake out a couple years of 1-2 hour commutes in both directions dependent on wrecks, weather, and the unexplained.
I probably averaged 3 hours of daily commute time on top of a 10 hour day minimum. 605 to 5 to 134 to North Hollywood if you know the freeways of Southern California.
During my one week of blessed vacation, every day, I watched this guy I started calling “the birdman of Maui” stick a perch in the sand for his macaw and start boogie boarding or snorkeling.
He was about 45 years old and had a long beard, boardshorts, and a rusty bicycle with lots of parrot droppings on the handlebar. I started talking to him.
He used to do construction in Boston and gave it up one day to move into a 400 square foot living space two blocks from the beach. He did some construction and trade work for local businesses 4 hours per day and supplemented his income as a turtle breeder and flower grower. His hobby was ceramics and pottery. He brought a figure one day to show me. He was very talented. He gave me an expired coupon for a 1 hour photo back when such places still existed.
His work/play balance was close to transparent in retrospect. You couldn’t tell what he was doing.
When I got back to work, I told my co-workers about meeting him. We all had good jobs at the time. We certainly didn’t hate our work. We felt fortunate to have it. Still, everyone in his or her own way wanted to find a way to be more like the birdman of Maui.
Some of us started researching this and discovered two important books. Just like the birdman giving me the expired coupon, I’ll try and pass them forward …