The sound of the ocean waves hum in your ear as your body is supported by the lounge chair beneath you, a refreshing piña colada is magically in your hand, the wind gently wipes away the sweat that begins to develop on your body, and the sun kisses your skin ever so softly.
“Ahhh,” you think. “Now this is the life.”
But is it?
I’ve been sick the past few days, and I took two days off from work with a weekend in between. So four days total. Off. No work. Nothing.
And let me tell you what I’ve learned:
Humans thrive on work. Without work, we go crazy!
(Trust me, it was more challenging to do nothing than to do something 😛 )
We are all warped into believing that the answer is to work tirelessly and hard young, so that we can stop working altogether and be free old.
Um…no. Definitely no! This is the worst idea ever. And also extremely false.
That beach you were just laying on a minute ago is not your final destination, I promise you. It’s a pit stop, and if you’re a beach bum like me, a pit stop you’ll make on multiple occasions in your life; but, boy oh boy, it is not the end.
Let me now introduce you to my Greek yiayia.
She’s 87. And she just had hip surgery. The doctors told her she wouldn’t really be able to walk that well, let alone chase after the pesky birds who bother her goats. And as for entertaining and cooking for the whole village, she was advised to “cut down a bit.” The youngsters should be serving HER said the doctor. Oh, and ironing and doing laundry, lifting those heavy baskets full of clothes up and down stairs might not be such a good idea either.
But she’s stubborn. Just like all the Greek yiayia’s, and you guessed correctly, she still rolls her phyllo dough to make spanakopita, does house errands like a ninja, and serves all the villagers as they come and go through the “Holiday Inn,” as my brothers and I have so wittily coined a.k.a. Her home. In Sparta.
As humans, our work is never a punch-in punch-out situation. And even if it feels like that for you at the moment, your brain is thanking you.
Because the truth is, work equals stimulation.
And stimulation equals life.
You might despise the tasks you have to do at work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find stimulation elsewhere at work or elsewhere in your life.
We learn from the behaviors of others through observation, seeing who we want to be like and also who we don’t want to be like. If we have a flexible boss who lets us listen to music, we can choose to pop in a podcast to learn something new about an area that may be foreign to us or very dear too. We can make meetings with people outside of our departments to learn a little bit about others and what others do.
Work is learning.
And when we stop learning, we die.
My 87 year old yiayia would have been dead long ago if she didn’t work. Because it’s what feeds her soul. She loves learning, she loves teaching, and she loves doing.
Ever notice that the more you stay idle, the lazier you get?
There is something inherent within us all: and at the most basic understanding it is a feeling of doing good work in this world.
I know deep down you feel like you are meant to make this world even the slightest bit better. Maybe it’s by helping others feel like they are a part of a community, or by spreading love and positivity through art or through writing, or perhaps by creating and inventing something that can save lives or the environment.
You wouldn’t be happy if you remained on that beach all your life because that idleness would keep you far away from your inner voice telling you there’s a reason for your existence.
So don’t hate on your job. And don’t whine when you have to work.
It’s keeping you alive.
And it’s writing your legacy.
With hard work and dedication,