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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What Are We Working For?

Guitar in lounge chair on beach

What are we really working for? 

More stuff?  A bigger house?  A college savings fund?

While none of these things are bad in and of themselves (and we all need to earn a living), I for one don’t want to get to the end of my career and say to myself, what did I really accomplish?

Just today, I had lunch with a respected friend and colleague.  He told me that he hit a turning point at 40.  He was working hard and having much success as a lawyer.  He was on vacation with his family, sitting on a cruise ship, and it finally hit him.  Something was missing.

What am I working for?  Is this it?

So he went home and got out an old guitar he hadn’t played in 20 years.  Within a year, he joined a band, bought a new guitar, and has been writing songs (and playing gigs) ever since.  And his musical talents have made him an even better lawyer.

I love this story for a couple of reasons. 

First, it reminds me that we all have a need to be creative – to use our God-given talents and contribute to something outside of ourselves, just for the joy of the experience.

As important, some of us have lost our sense of creativity all together.  We’ve become one-dimensional.  We work hard, take care of our families, and “get by” week after week.  But that’s it.

While work in and of itself can be a creative expression (something I’ll blog about another day), some of us need to reach outside of work to fill that creative void.  It doesn't necessarily mean that we have to quit our jobs, change our livestyles, or move across the country.  Sometimes, it might be as simple as pulling out that old guitar in the closet.

How do you best express yourself?  For me, my creative adventure (aka mid-life crisis) has been writing a book, but you might be gifted in art, music, sports, drama, scrapbooking, or cooking – to name a few creative outlets.

Don’t you ever wonder if there’s something more?


Heidiopia said...

So true, Susan! I just in the past year rediscovered my passion for writing and it has brought a tremendous amount of joy and better balance to my life. It's something I do just for me and though I sometimes feel a bit guilty about it, I am a better mom and wife when I can spend some time doing something I love, outside of taking care business. Great post!

Funky Mama Bird said...

I never wonder if there's something more, but that's only because if I'm interested in it, I find time for it!

Julia said...

well, i'm a craft-a-holic at heart. i wish i could up and quit my job to craft and sell my stuff, but not practical. so like your guitar playing friend, i dabble when i have time.

Booyah's Momma said...

Oh, well said! There are those days when I feel like I'm just going through the motions of work, family, sleep, rinse and repeat. I forget to have a little life in my life.

This is my first visit on your blog... you nailed it!

Mommycrat said...

There's this quote I love by Richard Stevenson: No man on his deathbed ever said, 'I wish I'd spent more time at the office.'

I work because I have to and every now and then I have the added reward of finding it fulfuilling - so I strive to find that more.

But I totally agree with the need to find other things in life you are passionate about and balance them out. I'd love to write a book - but not at the moment. Currently I'm enjoying blogging, and recently I also got interested in researching my family heritage - so that's been fun too.

Love the blog! I will be back.

Alison said...

Yes, I call it the essence of life. For me it's the little things.....taking a morning to have coffee with a friend, walking without my iPod so I can hear nature, savoring the smells of what I'm cooking, really listening to my child's story about something that makes absolutely no sense.

For me, It's slowing down and enjoying what I am doing, not necessarily changing what it is I'm doing. That's the "Mary" I'm trying to work on ;)

Good thoughts, Susan!

Laura said...

You're so right -- moms too often neglect their creative souls. I've done that, and I just feel incomplete when I do. For me it's writing, too. For years, I just wrote little dibs and dabs for myself and others, nothing big. But it fed that creative soul.

Something I think all moms need to consider. Great post!

Charming's Mama said...

I like to sew, more specifically, quilt and am part of a group that meets the first Saturday of the month and like Julia have often thought of trying to do it professionally but I don't want to make my hobby work, because then I probably wouldn't enjoy it any more.

Sam Van Eman said...

Congratulations on the book, Susan! I'm glad you enjoyed the Me Monster post at High Calling Blogs - and your comment gave me an excuse to get over here to see what you're all about.

This is a good post. Fortunately, I get to be creative at work more often than not, but I've had my share of humdrum jobs that left me feeling more stagnant than alive.