Kyle and I moved in together with a dollar and a dream. Now we never sleep because I work two jobs and he works one full-time job PLUS side jobs – he fixes cars and boats and things. As it turns out, we see each other, awake, much less now that we live together. There is no three-hour minimum slot we have every evening with which to go hang out with friends, to have dinner together or play board games. These days we see each other, briefly, in the morning and late at night.
We plan. Date night or days get planned sometimes months in advanced. It takes work for us to make sure our schedules are cleared for a designated day, but we make sure nothing gets in the way. So for one evening or afternoon a month or bi-weekly we have time to do something together. And typically it’s something free or cheap enough so that there’s no guilt for taking time off of making money to spend money.
Let me explain that guilt thing: and let me say that Kyle and I differ on this greatly. Kyle feels that if he CAN work on a Saturday evening to make more money he should. He’s the logical, realistic one. I say that working all the time leads to stress, which causes health and emotional problems. I’m the RIGHT one. What’s the point of paying for a house when it doesn’t feel like home? Now I’m not so full of folly that I would neglect bills, but a rejuvenation can be a very good thing. And romance isn’t something easy to re-ignite once it’s been lost.
But for the lovers that agree with me I would offer this advice: be flexibly firm. Know when a good business deal is worth giving up an anticipated evening, losing out on a client who is like to bring you business consistently isn’t worth a film festival ticket. BUT losing an evening with an artist you’ve been wanting to meet your entire life isn’t worth three hours of work, especially when you can schedule it so that those three hours can be tended to another time.
In the end, if it won’t risk losing your job or a big business deal, spend the time. Because not spending the time risks losing fire, in a relationship with your lover, family, but most importantly, yourself.
P.S. i look in the papers, and scour online event pages to find free and cheap things to do. In many cities they have movies in the park or on the beach where you can take a blanket and some snacks. Or free art viewings or wine tastings or the like. Whatever you’re into, someone wants you to experience their version of things, so they’re willing to give it to you for free. put in some work and you’ll be oh-so-happy you did.