Labor is its own reward. As a child my grandmother used to encourage me to finish my work quickly that way I’d have the rest of the day for entertainment. My work was frenzied, incarcerating, resentful. Work was an inconvenience, a detour, disconnected from living. Chores are immortal opponents, no amount of diligence or repetition can ever vanquish them. I can wash clothes today but in a few days I will have to do so again provided that I haven’t abandoned my hygiene or modesty in the meantime. Though practically and intellectually speaking I understood the necessity there was still that overwhelming sense of futility. Some days there was no reward because I never reached completion.
One summer I slaved away in an effort to earn enough money for an overseas excursion when my mom found my stash she insisted on taking it to the bank. I never saw the money again. At that point I realized that work comprises a good deal of our day to day lives. It’s not an obstacle barring us from happiness, it’s the vehicle. Even in the most mundane activities we should strive for awareness. If we exclude work and routine, as not life, we aren’t left with a lot to live for I find it quite ironic that we consider “life” being zoned out in front of the television or computer. At least that’s the bit of my day that I tend to emphasize.
Really I am probably more alive when I am working then when I am at rest. Exercise is the time I feel the most focused and awake. When I work out I challenge myself physically and psychologically. I don’t accommodate excuse or failure. I don’t work out just for the heath benefits or the aesthetics I work out because I love it. I love trying out new routines. Get a better body in 30 days? I am on it and it really has less to do with the carrot than it does with the journey. I wish I could transfer that same mentality into every aspect of my life. Aside from writing I tend to avoid mental challenges, years of struggling fruitlessly with learning disabilities and severe memory issues have diminished my curiosity.
I have, however, started to remember just how much I actually love learning. I’d gotten so caught up on holding onto the knowledge and skills I have acquired, that I’d totally given up on the treasure hunt. My memory problems are such that I can and have forgotten information which I’ve dedicated my entire life to acquiring. My mind is also quick to discard anything new or unfamiliar, a single seizure can wipe out weeks of hard work. I am literally becoming stupider by the day. I am not sure if I can stop this process but if I have to learn everything over and over again for the rest of my life anyways I might as well just have at it and enjoy the ride. I want to chase the proverbial vegetable not become it.