Hardly Working

In my entire life, I have never prioritized school over family, or pretty much anything else in my life.

Is that bad?

It sounds bad.

It sounds bad to me because it sounds kind of irresponsible.

But that’s the way it always was.

I didn’t flunk my classes. I didn’t get all A’s either.

But it didn’t really matter.

If there was something happening in the family, or I just needed to be home, it was never a question if I could get out of school, that’s just what I did. I was never afraid to show my parents my report card because I knew they didn’t really care if it said A or B on it. They would raise their eyebrows if there was a C, but that’s only because they knew I was capable of more. That I was bordering on laziness.

This attitude towards school has carried me through to my adult work life. I tried once explaining to someone that I am not capable of becoming a workaholic, of putting work before life.

She stared at me, puzzled.

“Without work, what is life?”

I don’t care for jobs that stretch into the evening hours. I don’t care for jobs that only have me on the subway at 6:00, collapsing at the end of every day.

See the thing is, as I write this, my heart is pounding. I can’t write these things. I can’t share these things. Because in essence, I feel like I am only justifying my laziness. My inability to work hard could not be yelling louder in this post.

And it makes me cringe.

I am privileged. I am so lucky. I am lucky to not have to work 12 hour work days to make ends meet. I am lucky that I am able to put almost all my earnings into savings. I am lucky that I can live this way, choosing my hours.

Because I don’t want to have to compromise. I don’t want to have to give up time spent with my nephew’s for keyboard tapping and a weary head.

I don’t want to have to say goodbye to dinners with my friends in exchange for dark hours spent in an office.

I work. Don’t worry. I spend my days at my computer, typing, typing, clicking. Some days I am so busy, I don’t have time to write a blog post (like this week. I almost didn’t make it.) Some days I lay down in my bed and I think to myself “There is not enough time in the day”

Except that there’s always enough time in the day.

Until I have children, and then there literally won’t be enough time in the day, there’s always enough time.

It’s only a matter of how I use it.

Right now, this minute, as I write this, I am choosing to write this during a time that if I was working, I’d be being paid. And checking things off on a very long to-do list.

But right now, I am doing something that I promised myself I’d do.

I promised myself I’d write a blog post every week. To show myself that I could work hard. Because as you can see, it’s a major insecurity for me. Because it seems like everyone knows how to work hard.

And sometimes, I look at myself in the mirror and I wonder. I wonder if I’ll ever learn how to work hard, really hard.

But then sometimes, I realize that I do work hard. I work hard at things I love. I work hard at the relationships in my life, to try to keep them alive and thriving.

I work hard to write a blog post every week, even though sometimes it hurts to share, sometimes it’s easier to write something I know won’t touch anyone, something that won’t rip open my vulnerabilities again and again.

I work hard on my connection to G-d, to my Judaism. I do.

I demand much of myself on a daily basis.

Would my friends describe me as hard-working?

Probably not. Honestly, I don’t know.

Would I describe myself as hard-working?

No.

But I would describe myself as passionate. I would describe myself as someone who cares so much, it genuinely hurts. To me, these are qualities I am grateful G-d has given me. I am so, so aware of the weaknesses He gave me, but I am eternally grateful that these are my strengths.

Because when push comes to shove, I know that when something I care about requires hard work, I am able to conquer it, I am able to work hard.

I hope to one day be able to work hard even when I don’t care. Even when something is not my passion, my top priority, or someone I love, I would like to be able to put by best self forward and give it my all.

I’m working on it. It’s a painful process, learning how to work hard. It is filled with self-beratement, guilt and being unsure of what working hard really is.

And most of all, I cannot, for a moment, stop thanking G-d for giving me a life in which I never had to learn how to work hard. I feel extremely privileged. And I know it’s coming, the days in which I will have to 100% put myself aside for something else. But I continue to pray to G-d that I will be given the privilege of being allowed to work as hard as I can on my marriage and work as hard as I can in raising my children.

Because as difficult and undesirable hard work is for me, I recognize that hard work is a privilege all of its own. It means you have something to work for.

And while I still don’t concern myself with the worry that I’ll become a workaholic, perhaps I’ll one day discover that work is not all bad. That hard work is often a reward all on its own.

 

Blog Post: 21/52


Featured Photo by Joshua Davis on Unsplash

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