This is how you know you are doing the right thing: you love doing it even when it is difficult.
I’ve been teaching for many years and there are days when I am exhausted, physically and mentally, almost beyond tolerance. There are days when the kids drive me crazy. There are days when the parents drive me even crazier. There are days when I just want to stay home and read a good book. But I go to work, to school, because I can’t think of any other place that would be more enjoyable or fulfilling for me. I go with a smile on my face because the cares of yesterday are already forgotten and I’m looking forward to a new day.
I’ve also been doing genealogy research for years. It is often painfully tedious and frustrating. It requires attention to detail and progress is often akin to watching grass grow. My mind becomes overloaded with the facts and dates and relationships of a particular family. Most of the families I research are not my own, so it would be easy to give up and just tell people “I don’t know”, or “I can’t find that”. But I persist because of the joy it brings me when I find something of value for someone. I persist because of the knowledge that I’m helping revive and expound on the memory of ordinary people who were responsible for where we are today.
My other passion is gardening. Anyone who has ever picked up a trowel can tell you the difficulties of gardening. The weather changes when you least expect it. Nature sends locusts and plagues. Plants die. Arthritis makes digging and bending and weeding painful. And yet…I try again. I look forward to spring. I plan for more flowers. I hope for good weather. I go outside when my joints ache and my body whispers the “read a good book” plan again. I go because it brings me joy.
I was thinking about these three joys in my life because of my trip to the doctor yesterday, and my impending birthday. The more birthdays you accumulate, the greater the tendencies to keep the things in your life that bring you joy and eliminate the ones that don’t. I find myself thinking about the shortness of life and the foolishness of wasting too much of it doing things that annoy and frustrate me. I’m learning to delegate more. I used to think that I was “passing the buck”. Now I realize there are people around me who actually enjoy doing some of the things that I hate to do!
My trip to the doctor yesterday was interesting. There were three distinct conversations going on in the waiting room. Two younger (thirty something) women on my left were discussing sex, kids, and ballgames, in between texting and talking to someone on the phone. I won’t tell you what I learned from that conversation, but I will remind you to remember when you are in public that there are some subjects to stay away from…please. Two older women to my right were talking in mind-numbing, endless detail about their dogs and puppies. It sounded like one of them was running a kennel. I learned more about dew claws than I ever wanted to know! LOL Another group, three women and a man, got most of my attention. Each was at least seventy years old. They were talking about replacement parts. Each had had knees replaced. One had artificial shoulders, knees, and a hip. Another was facing hip surgery. One was going for a second knee surgery. I sat there thinking about my parts and feeling an urgency to get home and use them before they wear out! I also realized I need to take better care of them!
Anyway, those are my random thoughts for today. If you love doing something, you are probably in the right job, hobby, whatever. Take care of yourself so you can keep doing it. Try to delegate or eliminate some of the drudgery in your life. Do less out of guilt and more because of love. After all, it’s February.