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February 2, 2009

Reflections on Success/ The kids are alright

Over the weekend, I was speculating on whether I suffer from a fatal case of poor work ethic or just a temporary lack of inspiration by the options for work I see available to me. C, Amanda, Andy, and I had a discussion about "success" and, if I recall correctly, we had basically narrowed the definition down to making money by over-working. So, by being on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you can be "a success," I guess, says the guy on-call 24 hours a day. This indicates that success comes in direct conflict with building or strengthening relationships. Granted, there are trade-offs and compromise with everything. I can only be so dedicated to skateboarding or tattoos or bikes, because I have time I want to give time to C and Alden and the rest of my family and--uggh--work. C and I have been reflecting on the importance of money lately. I just can't find enjoyment in working a job that is not relevant to my life--spending 8 hours each day of the work week away from home, not doing a thing for myself or my family, except making money. What if I was devoting some of that (day-) time to a large garden, keeping it fertilized, well-watered, properly trimmed and harvested, free of weeds, AND producing year round?!

Even still, accumulating money seems to promise an indefinite (but probably unattainable) amount of satisfaction and the alternative seems very precarious--with happiness no more certain. I'm trying to figure out how to raise a family and give a kid everything I had and more: a daunting task.

[UPDATE: After receiving a few responses about the post above I realize I need to clear one (major) thing up that is less clear than I intended. The definition of success I referred to is not OUR personal vision of success, but it is our perspective of mainstream society's vision of success--which is coming at us from many different angles, including one guy Andy met who was constantly on his phone and who said something about being on it 24 hours a day to get where he was. I don't envy that type of "hard work." The whole post had come about because I don't know how to define success--will it be money I make or save? Will it be maximizing time spent at home, with family, and doing great things for my home and family? Probably the latter, or something similar to it. But more and more I am feeling like I need to solidify my definition of it so I can move in a new direction perhaps. I understand about balancing, compromise, and sacrifice--but I know there has to be a better way where we redefine success, place more value in home & family over careers. I guess I'm literally talking about "doing" versus "spending". You can work a job to make money to buy food (= spending)...or you can grow food (= doing). Then you don't need that amount of money, right?]

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