Saturday, October 15, 2016
Vacation! -- Day 353
I'm on vacation.
"Perception is reality" and "Perspective matters" are my two favorite things to say. I actually tried to track down the origins of these quotes, and they seem to have just grown out of the distillation of longer quotes and ideas from a bunch of different people. So pretend it was Abraham Lincoln or Ghandi, depending on your own philosophical leanings. It's not like it matters who said it, or whether you believe it. These are the words that I have discovered are the most true for me and my life.
When I say, "I'm on vacation" it creates a new perspective on the current situation in my life. I'm taking the time that I have right now to relax, think, write a little, and spend time with people that I care about. Resting is one of the most important things that a person can do for health and well-being, but we feel like we have to somehow earn the right to rest. This can be a dangerous opinion, because what if you never feel like you've earned it? What if you never feel good enough?
I'm on vacation.
I don't really have a job, right now. At least not in the strictest sense of the "earning income" definition. I have lots of "things that I have to do that I don't want to" and "things that are expected of me to contribute to the well-being of the family unit" but nothing that I'm going to be putting on a resume. These are just part of this grander project called Life.
People get hung up on the semantics of their own personal worldview. I understand where it comes from, because I lived that way for most of my life. The need to define terms becomes important to ensure proper communication, but sometimes we get so bogged down in the minutiae of definitions that we lose sight of the bigger picture, the IDEA that was trying to be communicated. When I say that I don't have a job, the understanding is that I don't have an employer that is paying me for my time and skills. I am not part of the the commerce of this project called Life.
The danger of this particular worldview for me is that everything becomes a transaction. I want to eat, so I need food. In order to get food, I need money. In order to get money, I need a job. Work = eat. I was raised to believe that a person that does not work, should not be allowed to eat because of 2 Thessalonians 3:10. This is a misquote as it actually says a person that is UNWILLING to work, should not be allowed to eat, but as with a lot of popular Bible verses, it has been twisted to punish behavior deemed undesirable by the church. From this we have created the "Puritan work ethic" which is beneficial to an employer, but can create an internal pressure that leads to stress and anxiety in some to make sure that they are always "working." The concept of Rest is lost, gobbled up in the dread of becoming a devil's workshop.
I submit to you that the idea of "working" means different things to different people. We are all doing things on a daily basis that affect our world. The interactions that you have with people, the words that you speak into their lives, the love that you share -- these are all important things that are produced by you, just by you being you. You matter, you're good enough, and the world is a better place with you in it.
How many times have you heard, "If you find something you love to do, you will never work a day in your life" or somesuch? This used to inspire me, because I used to love to do lots of things. I loved sports, and music, and art, and making friends. The older I got, the less likely it was for me to be able to make money doing any of those things, and it was frustrating. Some of the things that I loved to do stopped being fun when they became monetized. The pressure of doing this fun thing became a job, and that sucked the fun out of it.
This left me in a predicament: How am I going to be rich, if I can't make lots of money? How am I ever going to be able to go on a vacation?
The revelation for me was that it's all perspective. I discovered that I didn't really want to be "rich" in the sense of having a lot of money. What I wanted was to be "happy" and there is all the difference. Now, instead of making decisions based on what is going to make me the most money, I look for what is going to make me the most happy. The difference is amazing, and has provided me with more "wealth" than I thought I would ever have. One way that I've heard it put is, "The secret to having it all is realizing that you already do."
And now I'm on vacation.