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9.29.2012

THE OVER-VALUED VALUE OF WORK



If truth be told, and I was willing to admit it, I take after my father.  Many a trait of his can be found in me as well.  My mom occasionally will call me little Walt.  Curses and blessings both to genetics and environment!  The only choice we have is in our response to both of those stimuli that make us who we are. 

I have a natural and genetic bent to love work; to find satisfaction in changing things aesthetically, creating order, accomplishing something with limited resources or time or odds against me.  I love manual work too.  There is something almost freeing about getting dirty, building, caring for something that brings great satisfaction to me.  My dad is a lot like that too.  But, I look like a total slacker, a lazy-ass if you will, compared to his never ending ability to create constant work motion! 

Talking around the bonfire at my sister's last night, we both commented on our dad's ability to find enjoyment in working.  So much so that vacation, after about a week, just becomes excruciating painful boredom for him.  He actually likes and operates in his best zone when he can do - putter, work, care for yards and gardens and the like.  I find enjoyment in that stuff too.  It's a bit of a zen place for me as well.  But, I love vacation.  I love to read, do nothing, sit on a beach for hours at a time, curl up next to Doug on the couch and watch TV, go for a walk hand in hand, lay in bed leisurely on the weekend mornings, ease into the day slowly if time allows.  There is a ying to my yang.

When I got married for the first time 27 years ago, I had to work through not feeling guilty for taking a nap or sitting down during the day.  It wasn't the way I was raised.  Naps were for when you were sick and sitting down meant you had a bent to the lazy side.  There was stuff to do!  It took very conscience effort on my part to separate the need to do from the more important, being.  Frenetic work activity was ok, but more valid and lasting was working on being.  That had to trump activity.  I couldn't get all my validation from my list of dos and tasks.  I needed to foster inside of me growth, which involved doing nothing at times but slowing down, breathing, taking in the ride I was on.

I still find great pleasure in constantly moving, but I don't want to be defined by what I "accomplished" or "got done" on my to do list.  I want the enjoyment to be the process of doing it, not getting it done to get it done and move on to the next thing fearing that if I don't an endless line of things will back up in the sewer of life. 

I turned to my oldest sister last night and said, "Work doesn't go anywhere.  It's always there waiting on you and it comes back again and again when you get it done."  

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