Editor’s note:I was rereading this post before reposting it and at first I couldn’t remember what it was about. I remembered around the time I hit the second paragraph. I think it’s a little melodramatic but it’s still a decent piece of writing.
In the chaos of moving, holidays, and my own enlightened self interest I have stumbled; stumbled in such a manner that the myriad threads and strings that entwine to build my life were nearly tangled beyond repair. Again. It’s cyclic, this endless peat(pete?) and repeat that makes up every person’s life. We see in the macrocosm of history: those that ignore history are doomed to repeat it. We see it expressed again and again in religions across the globe. Reincarnation. Resurrection. Circle of Life. Recycling. How is it that I (and most people I think) fail to take note and heed the old adage of learning from our mistakes? Because I’m human I guess. It just seems that with my penchant for observing patterns and troubleshooting I’d catch on sooner. The only thing that has changed is that I can sense the upcoming knot and quietly prepare for it.
So amidst the unraveling and re-weaving of my life I realized that my biggest mistake so far was how I approached having a job. My job has always been about my passions, whether it was books or computers or animals or anything. I gave it my all and invariably got less that what I expected in return. I felt cheated. Didn’t life know what I had given up for this? Why wasn’t it better? I KNEW I could make it better if I just tried harder… Right? Wrong. It boils down to a simple expression. Job != life. While it’s great to do something you love, and everyone really really really really should, don’t let it consume you to the point where the life you have IS your job. Almost without fail, I think that has been my biggest mistake.
I came by it honestly enough I think. My dad worked a lot when I grew up, and so did my mom once we got old enough. The difference that I understand and realize now is that they worked hard for a purpose, to raise and provide for us. It replaced their lives but it was a burden they understood and undertook consciously. I emulated that I think under the guise of a “work ethic” and for no reason. I have no children, no spouse, no house to pay for. I do not need to kill myself working day in and day out. It is not asked of me, it is not expected of me, and I am not compensated to do so. In my opinion, any job that requires you to give up your life to do it had better be damned important. Armed Services or Secret Service level important. Not fix networks important.
All this has led to an epiphany of sorts. It’s motivated me to make plans. Far-reaching, and almost long term. Almost. I have a lot of resolutions for this year and I haven’t told a single soul what they are. I probably won’t. I reevaluated. I thought. I carefully untangled threads. I began to comprehend that ambition and achievement, the scales by which I measured the meaning of my life, were useless. Using my success (or lackthereof) in a profession is a poor way to confer value on myself. I think it’s time I did more to give myself value instead of looking to others for it.
Remember kids: live your life and work your job. Not the other way around.