We are gifted life.
It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.
From the outset, we’re told we can be anything we want or certainly we’re given that impression.
The lexicon of work isn’t mentioned; we know our parents work but that’s an adult thing, right!
It’s not that we’re inducted into some right of passage, but at some point — normally when we start secondary school — it’s made very clear that we’re learning not to be the best version of ourselves (not in egoic terms…) but to pass a bundle of meaningless exams. Some don’t appear that way, but very often we’re left wondering, “What the hell’s the point of this?”
It gets worse.
We leave school and our choices are limited: yet more education or a job — any job will do.
In all of this where are you — the true ‘I’?
Gone, eviscerated in furtherance of the market. It doesn’t want you to stay mystified or even curious. It wants a compliant cog.
And then of course (not that you need me to tell you), money, morality and an old story fills up our lives.
What a waste…!
Instead, what would happen if the trajectory of creativity, using our hands and living into who we are was properly and ardently fostered without the need to do anything more than answer the prophetic question:
“Who am I?”
And in case you think I say this in jest, I’m deadly serious.
When I look at my life, I’m now left wondering how it was that my love of art was killed off (aged 8) before I’d had a chance to test or expand the limits of my reach?
(The world is bereft of art; I’m not saying that art can’t be found outwith painting, sculpture and photography, but look at your home, your office and the built environment. There’s very little art.)
Even if you’ve stuffed down any expectation of rediscovering the real you, why do you take work so seriously?
Why is it so important, particularly when the majority of companies are only adding to the earth’s woes and not ameliorating the serious problems we now face? Sorry, I realise that’s a direct assault on your story about work and the job that supports you and your loved ones, but a batshit job surely can’t be better than any job!
Again, if my 30 odd years is anything to go by, it’s a rare person indeed who can say they’re following their vocation. Mostly, it’s about wearing a mask to make the best of their circumstances.
Is there an alternative?
Possibly, but then again it means undertaking a process of radical self-enquiry and asking a few more profound questions than those you’ve been living with up to now.
Better still, as I posited the other day, it’s about living into the question that might shape the rest of your life — e.g. how do I live the unlived life that lies within me?