It will come as no secret to those who know me that I’m a bit (perhaps more than a bit) of a workaholic. This is partly because I love what I do - there is little separation for me between work (as in stuff I do because I get paid to do it) and fun (the stuff I do just because).
Sure, some job-related tasks are not so fun, but overall, I can’t imagine doing anything else. My life is the lived answer to what I call the “If I Won the Lottery” question. Ask most people this question, and they will respond by saying they’d quit their jobs, and follow their passion(s).
I know that I’m fortunate that my work (when I’m not blogging, I’m a philosopher) is my passion.
Work and play boundaries blur when you already do what you’d do if you won the lottery. Not only do these blur, but concepts like Taking A Vacation recede into the background. I travel to interesting places for my job, and I’ve grown the habit of tacking on a few days after a conference and calling it a “vacation”.
The last time I took a vacation that was not related to a conference was ten years ago. I took my kids to southern California – we went to Disneyland, the beach, and visited scads of family.
Depending on how one defines vacation (is it the absence of work? Is it disconnecting from the demands of daily life at home? Is it the chance to experience new things with loved ones?), my last vacation experience wasn’t quite Mai-Tais-on-the-beach. Not that I’ve ever considered myself a Mai-Tais-on-the-beach kind of person, but it is fun to speculate that I could be…
Whether it is making sure everyone visits the bathroom before the next 4 hour stint in the car; or checking to be sure that the eleven year old has packed something other than his entire Star Wars Lego kit, Harry Potter book collection, and three pair of socks in his suitcase for a ten day road trip (true biz); or buckling the stuffed animals in the back seat in exactly the right order to keep the slightly obsessive six year old content, the work of mothering is (I kid you not) work.
Loving your kids and wanting the best for them entails work.
For most of us, this probably bears the same kind of relation between work and pleasure that I described with my day job. This is a good thing – I don’t see work as a negative. I’m of the mind that work is part of what gives one's life meaning. (But I also think that one should give some thought to the kind of work that one does and how one should go about doing this work in order to get to the meaning).
This summer I took my first non-mothering, non-conference related vacation.
I camped and hiked and philosophized my way through a cluster of Rocky Mountain states, and paid special attention to green landscapes that look nothing like my beloved little patch of ground in Barelas.
I saw hogans and suburban brick houses, tent cabins and downtown loft apartments, but nothing that touched my little adobe casita. (This is the Home Sweet Home section, in case my Ode to ABQ needs flagging).
I missed the teenage girl detritus in the bathroom, I looked over my shoulder for our attention-seeking household cats and dogs, and I even yearned for my office away from home, aka the downtown Flying Star Cafe.
I missed my weekly walks to the Saturday morning Downtown Grower’s Market, and I itched to be back in the reading room of Zimmerman Library. Summer afternoons are best in the west wing of Zimmerman; sunlight plays on the ocotillo's tips visible through the south-facing window. In between thinking about such topics as GxE, resilience, LDS bioethics, and Deaf gain, I wonder how it is that this particular ocotillo survived the harshness of last winter’s fierce cold snap and whether the genes correlated to human resilience are also found in plants.
I think of my own recent cold snap and my year long recovery from a shattered ankle - my own version of resilience, perhaps. I mull over why, even when life is good, it is important to take time off to recharge.
I’m currently on Vacation Numero Dos. (In addition to being a bit of a workaholic, I also tend to repeat things when they work well.) This time I headed into the heat instead of away from it. I’m not just speaking metaphorically – by the time you read this, I’ll be heading east to Albuquerque and looking forward to that long coast down Nine Mile Hill.
Las baterías are charged. Barelas Babe is back to blogging!