Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Day Of Rest?

Before my husband passed away, we were in serious discussions about the option of retiring in Germany. We were happy there, and the cost of being paid on dollars and spending euros would have been offset enough by the difference in medical costs that we would have come ahead.

Whenever I talk to people who know this about me, they ask me what it is about the Germany lifestyle that kept us there. While there are many things I can point to, one come to mind on this beautiful Sunday. In Germany, Sunday is a quiet day. Period. Stores and shops are closed, with the exceptions of a few restaurants and those little stores affiliated with open gas stations. One is not allowed to make loud noises on Sunday-there is no lawn mowing,and no construction, large or small. Trucks are parked by the side of the road.  This is not a big brother issue-every few years some stores decide to test that waters and the citizenry overwhelmingly vote to keep things the way they are.

This is not necessarily about religion. Rather, it is about balance. Germans value working hard and playing hard (be clear that they do both just as much as we do, as well as having the equivalent stress). However, they have decided that in order to balance that business, a day of "rest" is a requirement. Somehow, even with two income families, kids sports teams, long working hours and all the other paraphernalia of life, they manage to do what they need to get done on those other six days.

All of this has come back to be during my period of technological fasting. I realized that in addition to my fast, there were other changes I wanted to make. Even in retirement, life needs balance. I spend my days (for the most part) doing as I choose.  Even when I "work" its at something enjoy. Still, I need time to myself, time that is disconnect if you will. To that end, I have made a few other changes. While I do occasionally labor on Sunday, it is on things that are enjoyable to me. In other words, I work in the garden but I don't vacuum. I stay disconnected except or approximately a half an hour in the evening when I check and see if my family members want to skype.  I do not answer phone numbers unless that are family, no matter what. In general,  use this time to downshift, relax and refresh.

What I do may not work for you, but I hope whatever you do, you find some time to be completely "down". You'll feel much better for it afterwards.


  1. Sounds like an excellent idea. I thought about it a few months ago and then promptly forgot!

  2. Barb, I love the way you summed this up. What you've described about Germany is very similar to what we love so much about RV'ing - it enforces periods of solitude that seem to restore our souls in a way that being here at home in wonderful-but-hectic urban California does not.

    I will wish for you that you can find ways to travel to Germany for extended periods if you can't or wish not to live there full time.

  3. Very interesting about the German approach to Sunday. I never would have guessed that was common. My image of Germany is as wound up as we are.

    I stopped all tweeting and commenting on other's blogs on Sunday several weeks ago. I've just started restricting Netflix viewing to no more than 2 hours on Sunday evenings so I have at least 2 hours to read and listen to music.

    We never shop on weekends since we can avoid most crowds by running errands during the week.

    Sundays do feel much calmer and more focused on what is important.

    Thanks, Barb.

  4. I so agree. If we can't find one day a week to just be then we need to take a long look at how we are living!! Sunday is our day at our house.


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