Thursday, July 2, 2009
When work isn't work...
Today I trimmed a tree and a hedge. Guess who made me do it?
Nobody made me do it. I'm a grown-up!
I often tell my students that I read, I write, I research, and I do chores. Then I ask them, "Guess who made me do it?"
It amazes them that I do stuff because I want to.
Getting stuff done feels good. It looks good. It makes me happy.
I inherited a hedge when I bought my house 20 some years ago. I had to learn how to trim a hedge. I'm now own electric hedge clippers. I can use them and not cut off my fingers! (Or cut the cord, though I have done that before.)
I also inherited a holly tree. My former brother-in-law is a professional tree-trimmer. I've learned stuff from him. I can do an adequate job of tree trimming. (I can safely use a ladder, a pruning saw, and other pruning tools.)
Someone once said, "Show me someone who is bored, and I'll show you someone who lacks meaningful challenges."
I'm rarely bored, because I'm always on the lookout for meaningful challenges. No one makes me do this. I'm just happier if I do.
This is one reason why I don't have a desire to retire early: I enjoy what I do. It provides me with a host of meaningful challenges. Teaching keeps me from being bored. Teaching keeps me learning. (Owning stuff provides me with meaningful challenges, and so does family!)
I recently read a comparison between the old and the young. The writer noted that the old are always living in the past, the young are always looking to the future. The writer, obviously older, concluded that the old have it right, since the future soon turns into the past. I disagree.
Why not do both? (And add a third?) Remember the past, savor it and learn from it, but be young at heart: yearn for what's to come. The wise know that both the past and the future are partial illusions. All we really have is now.
Today, I used my past to enjoy my present: I trimmed some big plants with some cool tools! I had been looking forward to this day. I knew things would look better when I was done: and they do. (Plus I burned some extra calories!)
Work isn't work when it's purposefully chosen, planned for, enjoyed in the moment, and reflected on with satisfaction.
Tomorrow... or soon... I'm going to buy and install some new lattices for the star jasmine vines I bought recently. (Sounds like more work... or not...)