We learned a very stark lesson in mortality recently, and too often, we forget about the things that really matter in life versus things that really don’t.
Possessions. Money. Jobs. Hobbies. Facebook. Google. Shoes. Muffins.
The above really don’t matter. They may make life more interesting, but at the end of the day, you can live without them. These things come and go and can be replaced – especially muffins.
This past weekend has made me question whether twelve hour days at work are worth it. If I was offered a job that guarantees that I’m home every night, but offered no satisfaction or promotion track – basically, go in, do my job, go home – is it better than what I’m doing now? Sure, one can say, “future be damned, live for the moment”…but would that be short-sighted? I’m seriously at that crossroad in life (Ralph Macchio not included)…
In my cubicle at work, I have a magazine advertisement that I cut out and put next to my monitor. It’s a full page ad with a picture of a guy pushing a computer monitor on a swing. On the bottom, it says, “who are you spending your quality time with?” (it’s from the National Fatherhood Initiative, in case you’re curious).
Right next to it, I have a picture of three professors I used to work with when I was interning at the Getty Museum. All three professors are engrossed in their work – all three looking through microsopes – not even realizing that their picture was being taken. My time spent in that conservation lab deep in the bowels of the Getty showed me that passionate people would be willing to sacrifice all things for their work. The professors I worked with may have been getting paid with peanuts, but they had prestige, technology, and a nearly infinite source of funding at their disposal.
Both pictures are inspiration for me.
Whatever time I spend at work, I want to spend completely engrossed in it, but at the same time, I need to remember that I work to live, not the other way around.
I hate living such a dichotomy.
Anyway…what really matters in life?
Kids. Spouse. Family. Friends.
Spend more time with them. Build wild Lego trucks with them. Ride bikes. Enjoy the huge park literally in front of the house. Time with my family isn’t limited to weekends or annual passes. There are no blackout dates. Time with them is ticking away…I don’t want to miss a minute of it.