When I was a little girl, my daddy told me to make sure you do what you love. Then “work” is not a negative, but something you live for, something that makes you better and complete. Something that fulfills you on one hand, and on the other, enables you to give a part of yourself back into the world, hopefully making it a little better place along the way.

I don’t care what that work is as long as you make it a positive thing. It could be serving a better burger, or at least a warm smile with a bad burger. It could be designing better roadways and transportation systems, as my dad does; or education and assurance of voter rights and practices as my mom does. Or me, cleaning cabins. And maintaining a trans-continental water diversion ditch in the Weminuche Wilderness, as we do. Among other things, yes, I am a self professed ditch digger. And I love it.

I believed him then, and have held his words of wisdom close throughout my life. As my daddy taught me by example, so I hope I have taught my son to have his passion be work, and work be passion.

Yesterday was one of those defining days. This is what work is all about. I was horseback, with my husband in the beautiful Wilderness all day. The horses and dog were perfect, the weather as good as it gets, our mission at the ditch a success, and we returned to the trailhead after fifteen miles and not another human in site or sound. My kind of day.

This is what work should be. Doing what we love. Loving what we do. It’s not always perfect, not always ideal, some days it’s pretty cruddy, and all those challenges make it that much richer, and me that much stronger.

Lessons my parents taught me. And they still continue to do so. Both well past the age that most have chosen the state of un-work. And both still living for their work.

And each other, I might add.  Which I see brings life its greatest balance.

3 thoughts on “Work

  1. Well said! So often when I meet new people and tell them about the farm, the first thing they say is, “wow, that’s a lot of work, you must be a glutton for punishment.” I used to just blink at them, confused. Then it occurred to me that in their minds the line between work and pleasure was clearly defined. In my world the two overlap…

    I can only wish that more people recognize that if you are going to spend the effort doing *anything*, then you might as well do it to the best of your ability, with confidence and pride!

  2. That is a great piece of wisdom. It’s a hard thing too – probably has to be since work is such a fundamental part of our lives. That has set me thinking that the person who loves his or her job, is fulfilled by it, is in a position of leadership showing others what life can offer to them.

    I find myself in a cleft stick, loving railroad work but also getting out on the trail with horses too. Having a riding business was great except for the economy that didn’t support it. It seems like there is space for evolution in the matter of what work to love, and indeed what it is to love one’s work.

    I am curious to learn more about these trans-continental ditches too. Who made them, and why? How big are they, how long, and where does the water go?

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