“The sleep of a laboring [wo]man is sweet”
We often fantasize about not having to work. Our culture often promotes this ideal. Automate! Optimize! Delegate! Put systems in place, and you won’t have to work! So many are making the shout. The truth is, when I look back, I’ve always been happiest when I’ve had work to do. To be perfectly honest, I’ve been susceptible to such talk and marketing. To get past the cravings, I need only remember back to lessons learned while traveling abroad. It didn’t take many months (about three in fact) before I began to feel too idle. Along the way, all the towns begin to look the same, no matter where you go. Even at home, I can only binge watch Game of Thrones for so long before I feel the tug back to reality.
Maybe it’s not everyone that feels this way, Hell, maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think so. No matter how much we complain about it, work can make us contented and happy. As long as I have an opportunity to make some kind of difference (it doesn’t matter if I’m influencing others through teaching, or if I’m wiping tables to make a restaurant experience better for patrons) I have an opportunity to feel happy through service. I don’t always feel happy. I imagine if I was, I’d be better off somewhere away from the general population. I do have a net happiness though. momentary happiness vs net happiness is the difference between watching the weather and watching the climate. The day-to-day (weather) can be all over the place, where the long-term (climate) shows a trend.
Though we dream of not having to work so that we can have the time for the things we want (which, by the way, can boil down to happiness) the reality is that work has the ability to provide that which we seek. Rather than seeking to not work, perhaps a better idea is to seek a way to serve that brings happiness. We can either find that meaning in our current job, or make a shift to find it. It’s usually best to start with the former.