I left my job on Friday. It feels good. I’m at the beginning of a mini-retirement in which I have much more freedom to pursue my interests on my schedule.
But part of me is waiting for the other shoe to drop. I expect a negative reaction from my own inner voice and from some parts of my community: after all, to “not work” is something that seems sinful, at least by the standards with which I was raised.
The thing is, I haven’t stopped working.
Work is any action toward a goal. And by that measure, my work continues – and even grows in scope – after my last “job work” day on Friday.
I’ve become a (slightly) better ice skater. I ran my first marathon today. I continue to write on this website every night. I learned how to install a car headlight. I explored the southeast Georgia coast. Soon I’ll be revisiting a podcast project. I’ll be hiking and running and driving through more of the natural beauty of my current home of Georgia.
Aside from money-making activities (which I will surely be doing), I will be doing plenty of work even without a job.
This is a powerful and important mental recategorization. When we dignify as work all the actions and experiences we love, they gain the meaning and the effort and the justification they deserve. And we can see beyond working for someone else as the only way to live.