“It took Sally a long time to realize there was room in her life for something besides her work.” So writes Gail Bowen in one of her Joanne Kilbourn mysteries.
Nothing wrong with work . . . especially if one enjoys the lion’s share of one’s profession. (Note: driving a long-haul eighteen-wheeler is as much a profession as being a banker or registered nurse.) The problem can arise when the work becomes all-consuming . . . when it supplants family, avocations, and development of the spiritual dimension of one’s life. Even if one might not feel the need for any of the foregoing due to the fulfillment experienced on the job, issues might arise when the workaday world ends. In Silks by Dick Francis (a great writer), the author makes note of people who had professional positions of authority and importance but then felt lost when “turned out to pasture.”
To be sure, we’re all built differently. But a large majority of people generally end up feeling a significant amount of dissatisfaction if they let work shut out most, if not all, other aspects of life. The old adage that all work and no play make Jack a dull boy (or Jill a dull girl) has been around since the mid-1600s for a reason.
We’re back again to choices. To a greater extent than many people realize or are willing to admit, most have a significant degree of personal control over how to spend the 168 hours in every week. What one “has” to do is often not in the “has to” category. Surely choices have consequences. The matter at hand is always to identify them, and then decide which ones I want to define my life.
Golf. Birding. Needlepoint. Movies. Reading. Canasta. Cribbage. Gardening. Photography. Fishing. Chess. Stamp collecting. Pottery. Brewing. Woodworking. Walking/hiking. Volunteer work. And thousands more. Take your pick. Point: pick something . . . something that feeds your soul and that can be carried on past the end of one’s paid working life.
Sally finally got the point. And her life was the better for it.