Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Too Much For A T-Shirt

I was talking with my brother today, and the discussion turned to our grandmother. (My mother's mother.) She and my grandfather owned a little grocery store/deli, and my grandmother worked there every day. "Worked" being far too small a term for what she did. Preparing enough food to feed an army, cleaning, working the register, doing the books... she did all that and then some. It was rare for her to take off, even on holidays. Holidays were the days that she spent cooking food for the police/fire departments so they'd have turkey dinners. She finally reached a point in her life when she realized that she had spent decades of her existence for other people, and finally started doing things for herself. She lost weight, she redecorated her house, and was coming to the realization that she could actually have a little fun in life. Sure, she still got up at 4am after going to bed at 1am, but she was enjoying it just a little bit more. Then one morning just like any other, she woke up, got out of bed, and died. Just like that. In probably as much time as it took me to type that, if not for you to read it.

Discussing this bit of nearly-18-years-gone history led me to say: "That's the way I want to die, but it is not the way I want to live." (While that saying will fit on a T-shirt, the explanation will not.) I saw my parents doing the same thing, but they stopped. Now with hindsight being what it is, I saw Deb and I doing the same thing. Spending ridiculously long hours working our collective asses off... all for nothing.

Every day I wake up and I see our mountain view, and I am glad. Glad that I didn't have a stroke or heart attack before I was 40, because that's certainly where I was headed. Glad that we got out of jobs that were stealing more than a small part of our souls and a large part of our happiness. We will still fight our battles here and there, but it's on our own time and our own terms. We still encounter idiots, but they don't have so much control over our lives.

In short: work is not worth dying for, but life is certainly worth living. Sure, that's more of a fortune cookie phrase than a T-shirt, but I'm working on it.


Transoptics said...

Great Message!!

stargazer said...

Yes, great message! I hope this reaches others. So many others are in the 'I gotta please others' boat.