Monday, September 20, 2010

Work/Play: WORK

Where were we, "work that is work" is something that is done as a means to an end that is a means to an end.

We will call this WORK.

Examples help with definitions. The example I used before was doing my taxes, because it's something that I do as a means to an end (having my taxes done) that is a means to an end, period. Oh and, is not fun. I hate doing my taxes. This is a helpful example in that my hatred for doing my taxes is as pure as it gets, but it's not helpful in that it's too cut and dried and taxes, like Christmas, only come once a year, so just deal with it. Eventually I'm going to get to the part about ideally minimizing WORK in your life, but I'll tell you ahead of time that it's not going to be entirely eradicated or transformed: there are going to be some things in your life that you hate. That you have to do. That's just how it is.

But it's easy to make decisions and take action about things that you know you hate: I can pay somebody to do my taxes, or I can suck it up and do them. Where this exercise becomes more helpful is in areas that aren't so black and white, being that the end point is, in case I haven't told you, to weed out extraneous activities from your life. So let's talk about how I feel about cooking, which I'm okay with. I used to be pretty into cooking in my previous life, as a matter of fact. At some point though, I switched from being a live to eat type to being pretty strictly eat to live. Or really, eat to play derby. Right there that says cooking is something that I do as a means to an end. That is, sometimes, if I can get it done in fifteen minutes or less, an end in itself. Whereas last weekend when I woke up early to make tofu scramble for me and the sweetie man and it was forty minutes until I got my breakfast, it became crystal clear to me that I now definitely regard cooking as WORK. As if it wasn't already clear that I have already mostly whittled cooking out of my life. And there isn't anything wrong with cooking, which isn't pure evil like doing taxes. It's just that, for me, it's a means to an end that's hardly ever an end in itself, and that's just sort of thing that should be trimmed.

What's more problematic is work, whatever you do for a living. If what you do for a living is WORK, it's a problem just because of how much time it takes up. A third of your life is too long to spend on something that you only do as a means to an end. And yet, we must eat. I'm in a weird position right now, because of the situation with my sister, where work has been mostly whittled out of my life. And now that I'm working less, just as a side note, it feels closer to being an end in itself, just like cooking less. So let's say that, sometimes, a simple thing that you can do to transform WORK into something else is to do it less. That doesn't solve the making a living problem, which more requires that you can find something that you can stand to do—by which I mean enjoy— for a good chunk of time. Which leads to the thing that I've been doing on the three days that I'm not working, but that's the next chapter.

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