"they say the owl was a baker's daughter. lord, we know what we are, but know not what we may be." (Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5)
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Monday, March 7, 2011
It doesn't always work out the way we plan. Accept it? I will. Here's why.
For far too long, I have placed too much importance on my professional accomplishments, and was far too driven, madly some may say, to achieve great things -- professionally. A colleague recently referred to me as "unsinkable" and a former employee earmarked me "an ox". Flattering, isn't it? That's certainly the legacy I want to leave on this earth: an unsinkable ox.
But, that's just work. I'm other things too. I'm a mother mostly, a wife, a friend, a sister, an aunt, a faculty member, a 4th grade classroom coordinator, and most recently a Little League caoch. My mother recently asked, "Did you write the book on time management?" I can only answer, "No." Truth be told, I've never actually written a book ... but it's on my list.
You may be familiar with a gentleman named Machiavelli. He wrote a book, a little piece called, The Prince. It is in this book that the phrase "the ends justify the means" is often mis-attributed: if the goal is achieved the measures taken to accomplish it are justified. Victory! But in life is always that simple?
I don't want to resurrect that tireless debate about working mothers versus stay-at-homes mothers. There are circumstances that compel any of us into any variety of choices, decisions, situations, compromises, and ways of being. I work by choice. And, for the longest time, I worked because it satisfied me. It was the thing that made me confident, it was something of which I was proud, it was a place I went to be challenged and enriched. I like to wear high heels, and work accommodates that. Recently though, I've refocused. I will still choose to work and I'll still wear high heels, but work is now nothing more than a means to an end, rather than the end which I am tirelessly trying to achieve.
I choose to work, not because I any longer need it to define me, but because work is the means that allows me to put my children in a great school. Work allows me to help my youngest son practice his lines and be in the audience when he plays God in the school play. Work allows me to be the baseball manager during his first season ever on a Little League team. Work allows me to never miss a basketball game, a tennis practice, a swimming lesson, or a home run. Work allows me to help with homework and read stories at bedtime. I worked this hard for so long, and for too long, I measured my success in the accomplishments I achieved at work. When, all along, it's the accomplishments I was accruing outside of work that demanded an inventory.
So, now, when I leave work, on time, to clock out, I am grateful. I am grateful for all the things that work allows. Work, a means to an end, not an end of the means.
Work allows my family comfort and stability. Work allows my boys to send care packages to troops we have never met, far from home, keeping us safe. Work allows me to buy plane tickets and college textbooks and kitchen utensils for my stepkids. Work allows for trips to San Juan with my husband. Work allows me to be at baby showers for my niece and basic training graduations for my brother. I choose this. I worked hard for this and I am happy to give almost all of it away.
So, yes, I work and I won't ever apologize for it again. I work because I am among the fortunate few that gets to play baseball with God.
- ▼ 2011 (13)