I’ve decided that I have too many hobbies. Too many things to occupy my time. I have the video editing, I’d like to try more photography, I recently picked up the guitar, blogging (of course), sports, reading and studying history, video games, watching movies, the list goes on. Since I have so many diversions, I never devote enough time to any of them to really develop them into something really interesting. So I’m forced into a sort of rotation process where I’ll spend a lot of time on one for awhile, get a little bored with it, and move on to the next. Though I am aware of this problem, I continue to try to add more things to the list. As I mentioned, I recently started learning guitar, I bought a Super 8 camera off eBay to try my hand at old school film making, and most recently I’ve become obsessed with researching my family history on Ancentry.com. A pox upon them and their diabolical three day trial offers!
If all I had to do all day, everyday was to play video games, guitar, and basketball, none of this would be a problem. But since real world realities keep rearing their ugly heads, it becomes something of a problem. I’m not single, I’m not unemployed, and I’m not an insomniac, therefore I’m forced to strike the ever delicate balance between what I would like to do and what I have to do. Before I go any further let me just say that I do not under any circumstances consider my marriage to my lovely and awesome wife to be a hindrance to doing what I really want to do. Spending time with her trumps everything. I really mean that. OK, just so we’re clear.
I guess what really got me thinking about this is the idea of work. I get up every morning and go to my job at the thin film optics factory to help make little tiny pieces of glass with a special coating on them. In the great scheme of things this doesn’t really matter. In fifty years my grand kids aren’t going to sit around and reminisce about the time grandpa re-calibrated the robot. They’ll remember the times I took them fishing or to the park. Those times together and the memories of them are what will really matter. So, why spend all these seemingly wasted hours inside a windowless building being brain-numbed by the drone of whirring computer fans? Of course we all know the answer. If you don’t work you don’t make money and if you don’t make money its awfully hard to pay your bills. That begs the question, then, do I have more bills than are necessary? I need a place to live, but do I need a place that big? I need food, but do I need to always eat gourmet? I need a car to get around, but do I need a supped up SUV with a DVD player, iPod jack, and that can parallel park itself? The answer to all those is obviously “no.” And while my house is not big, my food not gourmet, and my car a manual parallel parker, there are plenty of other niceties that I do have and could live without.
I guess this is where the balance comes in. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with having nice things. We all want to be comfortable and enjoy life. But the scale can quickly get out of whack. The high-powered executive can justify his many weeks a year away on the road because he makes a good wage and can provide the best for his family. But are the nice clothes, houses, cars, and other stuff he is providing a replacement for the time spent playing with his children. Certainly we know that sacrifices have to be made sometimes, but when does the sacrifice outweigh the benefit?
Back to the hobbies. Would my time be better spent doing something I love, reading history lets say, then by checking spreadsheets, in terms of personal fulfillment? Probably. Is that a realistic possibility? Probably not. To be honest, I don’t really know where I’m going with this. That’s another one of my hobbies, babbling aimlessly.
As a Christian, it is my responsibility to do all things without grumbling and complaining (Phil. 2:14) and to do all work as to God and not men (Eph. 6:6-8). So, even though I don’t have the kind of job little kids dream of having when they grow up or that will be long remembered, I still need to do it the best I can and be content knowing that God has put me there for a reason. I envy those that have occupations that they truly love, like our old friend the Artist Formerly Known as the Storekeeper, and maybe someday I’ll be in that position. But for now, I need to, as my uncle used to tell me, bloom where I’m planted. It’s not even about my job really, as I’ll be leaving it in a few weeks most likely, it’s the idea of doing something that’s fulfilling and meaningful. And that doesn’t necessarily mean a job or a career. Argh. I know what I what to say, but I can’t think right now of how to say it.
We’ll try this…..
Don’t live to work, work to live. There’s so much more to life than the 9 to 5. Have a career, yes, but don’t stop there. Live life. That doesn’t mean buying things, it means doing things with the people close to you.
I’m continuing to beat this dead horse, because I need to hear it more than anyone. Not because I’m all wrapped up in my career, but because I like stuff. And don’t think I’m some bitter old codger who sits in his hovel on a hill grousing down at the world because he can’t have his way. Because I’m not. I’m actually a very cheerful fella. Maybe its because I just watched The Pursuit of Happyness or maybe I’ve been listening to too much Sufjan Stevens, this kind of stuff has been on my mind lately. But I’m far from hopeless, I’m far from discouraged, I’m far from discontent. Just had some things I needed to get off my chest, needed a little catharsis. Thanks for listening.