Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Worky, Worky

This is another School Days assignment.  Better late than never, I hope.  If you're interested in participating, find details here .

I remember reading Heart of Darkness in high school and although I can't recall the characters or storyline, I remember that one of the major themes of the book was the value of work.  Specifically, how work keeps us from becoming savages.

I did not understand the theme at the time; no, not at all.  I guess that's why I remembered it--it puzzled me so.  Wasn't life about fun?  Wasn't life about getting out of work?  I didn't find a lot of joy in work then.  I dreaded Saturday mornings when my mom would assign chores.  Chores seemed so annoyingly chore-ish. My bedroom was a legendary mess.  In my opinion, there were so many more exciting and important things to do than work.  After all, nobody ever died of a messy bedroom.  On some level I believed that I was the one who really understood how it all worked and all these poor suckers with their brooms, sweaty brows, and timecards were the uninformed.  (I realize now that this train of thought is practically epidemic among creative types.)

I don't know when it changed for me exactly--when I realized that work (housework, homework, work-work) made me feel good--although I give a big ol' heap of credit to FlyLady.  But it happened.  Work made me feel valuable, accomplished, and in control of my life.  I began to realize that the work I did now was a gift to the future me, a constant paying-it-forward to myself.  I felt better about myself, and constantly grateful for the work I'd done.  I felt more free to do the things I wanted to do and less bogged down by what had to be done. Because everything that "had" to be done was not lamented and put off a billion times; it was simply done.  As it turns out, it takes a lot less time to actually work than to procrastinate, which is something all those people with the brooms, sweaty brows, and timecards probably could have told me.  (This doesn't mean that I don't procrastinate or wallow in disorganization anymore, but I'm 113% better than I used to be.  Just ask my parents who used to play State Health Department on me and lockdown my bedroom!)

And, of course, I never realized that working hard at something you really love hardly feels like work at all.  I looked over my shoulder for the first six months of my current copywriting job, certain that somebody was going to discover soon that I was getting a ridiculously good deal--all this paying-me-to-write nonsense!  Honestly, it felt criminal.

If I read Heart of Darkness today, I would probably understand it in a different way.  I can say now that I understand on a personal level what hard work does to me--it rescues me from my otherwise dreamy, lazy, savage self.  Although, I'm not planning to read Heart of Darkness anytime soon; I've got too much work to do.  And by "too much work to do" I mean "blogs to read."  My high school english teacher would be so impressed.

What about you?  Do you enjoy work?  Have you always?


Soul-Fusion said...

hmmm, I don't remember that part of Heart of Darkness. What I remember is the "fasination with the abomination" quote and theme. In fact, my senior paper for undergrad about the French guillotine was cenetered around this quote.
Normally I like working. But not right now. Not one day before I go on vacation.

Anonymous said...

Soooo right Tiff! I also think work is a so called "state of mind." When someone says "I don't know HOW you manage to work." What maybe they don't understand is that old saying... If you put your mind to it, you can do anything!
I always try to remember the reward at the end too, even in the midst of discouraging days, and when my mom questions if it's the right thing to do or not. LOVE,LOVE those conversations! Lol!

lizzie said...

i have been comtemplating work lately. and by work i mean housework. and fly lady is maybe what i need. i would like to attribute my laziness to other happenings in my life but the fact is, i have just been lazy. it's time to move. it's time to fly. after i take a nap, of course.

Travelin'Oma said...

My philosophy changes depending on the type of work we're talking about. Yardwork? It can turn back into a desert for all I care. Organizing the closets? Turn me loose with some cute, multi-colored hangers! Great post!

Kami said...

It all depends on the work. If it is my own space, my house, I like it.

ps. How come I see your Flikr lipstick pics, but they weren't in the post. Did you chicken out? Your lips were hot, red hot!

Angie said...

Very good.

I'm often grateful that we had to work when we were kids, too. Being on the farm meant that there was ALWAYS something to do. I kind of hated it then, but it's a blessing now.

shannon p. said...

Well, I'm just about ready to fold my laundry that has been sitting on my couch for 2 days, but I just really quickly wanted to check my emails and read just a couple of blogs that I've been neglecting for a week or so, but after that, I'll get straight to WORK!!!

Becky said...

Great job on this assignment. I haven't done any of them. I am going to get my first 'F' I am afraid. But to answer your question, I do love work. There is nothing like looking back and seeing all that you have accomplished with your own hands. And yea, I have always loved work. Sick.

Kate said...

All my jobs have been fun. So I don't really count as an opinion. But I love working hard at something like math or a difficult piece of music and mastering it.

Omgirl said...

I haven't always loved work. I'm not sure there is a person under 18 who does. But my mom taught us to work as kids and I am so thankful. Because once I grew up I was actually able to do it. And somewhere along the way (I think it was when I got roommates who didn't even know how to put their own dishes in the dishwasher) I actually came to prefer it. and then I started to enjoy it. And now, if I have spared time with kids not bothering me (ya right), I actually prefer it to any other use of my time. Well, aside from wasting time on the computer, of course.

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