People ask me if I like my work. They think I'm having fun. So here's what I think of "work."
Work has a bad rap.
Perhaps most people experience work negatively. I think that 99% of the people I know would rather be off work than at work.
And they expect that of others, too.
But, please, don't expect that of me.
A teacher of mine — corresponding with me recently via email — discovered that I was writing from vacation. And he wrote, "Really? Stop doing work emails then."
It always makes me smile when people tell me not to work while on vacation. Perhaps we have different views of work and vacation. As a writer and correspondent, I enjoy the blend. For me, writing has none of the "labor" forced upon humanity upon the expulsion from Eden.
I write everywhere.
It's like breathing for me. And I make no distinction between work and non-work email, as I make no distinction between my work and my non-work life. Are you a work-relationship or a non-work-relationship? My hope is there is no such edge or boundary.
All the same, I did thank my teacher for his care and permission (to not write).
And then I returned to a blend of writing and self-care, elevating my relaxation to reckless levels during the vacation!
Middle Of The Night
Sometimes I might write you an email in the middle of the night.
Please don't reply with the question: "What are you doing up in the middle of the night?"
Here's the answer: "I'm writing you an email. Why am I writing you in the middle of the night? Because I want to. Because now, at 56 years of age, I will write anyone at any time I want."
Why would I want to constrain my writing to certain hours?
What about later?
During a talk last week with the Business Builders Club at The Ohio State University, a student asked me what I envisioned for my retirement. I was stumped. I said, "Anyone who is looking forward to retirement must not like what they are doing. When I retire, I want to [tiresome description of what I'm doing now]."
What I'm doing now — my work — feels like running rapids.
This wasn't always true.
For most of my life, I haven't loved my work to the point where I wanted to do it on vacation.
For most of my life, the work day never ended too soon.
Much of my career was invested in activities that bored me. And I always looked forward to getting away from the work, so I could get to something less boring.
So what happened?
I started spending more time in activities that were thrilling. Like plucking dandelions from the front lawn. Even that was more interesting than my workday.
And the extracurricular activities beckoned:
Those led to other activities that were thrilling.
Leading creativity workshops. Teaching. More writing.
Hiking. More writing.
And then, the work became thrilling:
Challenging entrepreneurs on their assumptions. Convening peer groups. More writing.
Not Much Growth Here
As I look back on this transition, it isn't so much growth as return. It is a return to who I was in high school and college: someone who cares more for the extracurricular than the curricular.
And, finally, my work has become the extracurricular has become my profession has become my delight has become my work.