A lack of balance.

The concept of imbalance is one I’ve grown familiar with over the past few years as I watched my dad give his life to his work believing it was the right thing to do only to be killed for his effort. I knew that he had an unhealthy relationship with work; the kind of one-sided, unhealthy relationship that could only end in heartache. There was no convincing him to stop until it was too late.

So I’ve found myself having to check this thinking any time it arises in me. I will not work myself to death, and it is one of the ways I am glad to be nothing like my father. I admired this trait when I was younger and saw some nobility in a man who was willing to break himself for his family’s benefit. As I have gotten older, though, I have started to see how self-destructive this is. The world rewards this kind of insanity, and it’s seen as a net positive.

There is some trite saying about the nobility of sacrifice but I don’t buy it. Any life sacrificed on the altar of hard work was a waste because it was a life completely out of balance. I’m not saying hard work is without merit, but I am saying if it doesn’t serve you, why give your life to it?

This runs counter to the entire culture I find myself living in. Hustle and grind, no matter the results, just for the sake of it. Because it’s how you get ahead.

…Says who? You could break your back for 40 years, have it take a toll enough to be fatal, and the end result is the same. You’re dead; the work was meaningless. So wouldn’t you rather find meaning in what you’re doing instead of working just to work? If we’re all just gonna die in the end, anyway, why not make your life worth living?

I’m not devoting my life to work. I have evidence to support my decision, and I get to think about him all of the time. I choose to remember him in total, though. Idols have flaws, but there is enough good about them to make them memorable for life.

I live realizing the irony that no matter how much I choose to work, and at what, I won’t make it out alive either. I’m not saying my way will be any better, I’m just saying it has to be different. Dad always said do what makes you happy and it was definitely said as a “Do as I say, not as I do” piece of advice. I intend to do what makes me happy and observe my results to make sure it isn’t killing me.

On this occasion I consider how things were and how tragic a death is in the name of labor. Such a waste.

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