When I was about 4 or 5 years old I received a child’s doctor’s set as a gift and for several years after that all I wanted to do was be a doctor. It just seemed like a fun thing to be – you’re saving lives after all. I lost interest in this however when reality struck and the doctor I used to visit passed away. “Why bother being a doctor if I wouldn’t be immortal?” I remember thinking when I had to visit a different doctor who was not as friendly and too adult for me.
As a child I remember falling in love with different jobs – pretending to be a waitress when my parents had visitors home; baking rainbow cakes just because or even a simple chore like sweeping water off the veranda after it rained. Maybe I loved it because there was no “real-life” pressure or maybe it’s because it made me happy by making others happy or maybe it’s because I was a child and did not realise that these things were classified as “work.” The first item I truly loved though was the doctor’s kit. I treated those items like gold but once I lost interest in actually becoming a doctor I lost interest in the kit.
So what was it that made me have a love for doing all these weird and wonderful things? As a child I did not understand the value of money or did not realise that I was doing work. In fact I did these things generally because I chose to and they were fun (and no one asked me to do it – that would immediately make me rebel and refuse to do anything – my poor parents)!
Something changed when I grew up. I became an adult.
Most of us would say that this is a part of life and it happens to everyone. It is the rite of passage of letting go of your childhood and we should accept it. But I refuse to. I cannot believe that as an adult we are not supposed to have the simple pleasure of loving what we do. If you truly think about it as a child we do not really choose what influences us. We accept whatever comes our way and we pour all our laughter and love into it. But as an adult we are provided with the gift of choice. We choose to be in our current jobs; our current homes and with our current circumstances. And yet we lose our love. We stop seeing what we do as love but instead see it as a burden. Tasks that will get us what we want and then, only then, we may be happy.
I am not saying change your career or your home or the people you spend time with. If none of this gives you that loving feeling that makes you giggle just thinking about it then think about why first. If your inner child does not shine through and you cannot smile at a simple thing like the sunshine then I do not believe changing anything will help if you do not understand the “why” first. If however thinking about the “why” is too hard the alternative is changing your attitude towards it and choosing to love your life now. Or you of course could continue being an adult and thinking of everything as “work” – sounds reasonable, right?
And on that less than sarcastic note I leave you with these words by Kahlil Gibran, “Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love, but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.”1
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1. Gibran KThe prophet (AD Donker Publishers (Pty) Ltd) 2009.