On impulse, I picked up a copy of Life Work by Donald Hall. A poet, children’s author, short story writer, and essayist, Hall extolls the pleasure of work, the satisfaction of meaningful production, the identity of self reflected in labor. He rakes through the history of work and workers, seeing these endeavors as a great life anchor. He focuses on his ancestors with their pre-dawn to dark manual labor. He turns to contemporaries and examines their thoughts on creative, productive days.
For months I have been toying with the idea of retiring, “not working.” That is to say, of no longer reporting to a place of paid employment where I sell my time and talent. Of course yard work, animal care, and gardening are excluded. Those tasks are assumed out of pleasure.
The thought of pleasure resonates. Work as pleasure. Work that keeps one busy, sometimes stressed. Work that fills days with activity and focus. Work to be remembered when the body dissolves. Humm. Work . . .