17 April 2007

rhythm and identity

My current school status?
so many pages to read...
so many papers to write...
so little time.

How do people complete these degrees while working full time and/or with a family??

I had this conversation with a guy on a plane a few days ago.
He mentioned how much he loved his job.
His average week found him clocking 70 hours at work.
He described how much he and his wife enjoy living on their 18 acres out in the country. And then remarked that this "simple life" sucked up every spare minute of the weekend attending to the lawn, garden, or other maintenance issues.

I listened until I burst out,"so, who are you, when you're not working?"
He barely hesitated before replying,
"I'm not really sure."

Which provoked me to ask,
"so, what do you do to recreate? How do you rebuild your soul?"

He was silent.
"I don't know that, either," he finally responded,
"I'm a little burned out right now."

Not surprising, or likely, not too different from many of us. So who am I when I'm not working? What defines me? What is the rhythm of our lives?
Are we balancing the tension of work and play?
Or is the pace something akin to running on empty?

Speaking of...books and papers beckon! The race continues.


cindy said...

work is the rhythm of my life. whether is it working at church, working as a mom, working at maintaining my home (inside and out), etc. work is the constant and it makes me sad on so many levels.

who am i when i'm not wearing one of these hats? i don't really know. i miss the ability to just sit and be without a feeling of guilt.

don't get me wrong, i'm happy and i have a great life. but there is a piece of me that is lost in the mundane world of "doing."

White Rabbit said...

what a great conversation to have on a plane, or anywhere for that matter.

Anonymous said...

At the risk of sounding trite (again!), I love to tell my students that we are "human beings," not "human doings." Being is more important than doing (although tell that to the IRS or your boss or your hungry child and see what reaction you get), but they must balance. Like a pair of ballroom dancers, being must lead and doing must follow...not the other way around. There will always be that tension, and I think that's a good thing. I think "being" answers the question: who are you? and "doing" answers the question: what are you (job title/role)? And I think "who are you?" is the more important question. I'm hoping/praying that "being" wins out over "doing" in China. We'll see.

Jewels said...

This made me think of the Jewish saying, "na'aseh v'nishma" which means, "we will do and we will understand" and was said before they received the Torah. Maybe if we first identify ourselves as people who obey God, then we'll understand.

I agree - great conversation to have on a plane - just don't sit next to me! jk :)