What do I do?

I hate that question. “What do I do for a living?”

Honestly, I don’t dislike my job.

It’s the question itself that rankles.

It is so frequently posed as if how I spend 24% of the 168 hours in a given week are somehow definitive of who I am or what it means to be me.

I work. Yes, I know that it can provide some vague insight into how well-educated a person is, or what kinds of interests they may or may not have. But so many people “do” things that are incongruent with who they really are.

For the vast majority of us, our jobs don’t mean a whole lot more than a paycheck. I love my coworkers. I find my corporate office and daily grind a marvelous playground of human interaction, and intellectual challenges. It is where I learn more about what it means to be me. This is not to be found in the company name, number-crunching or databases.

What about the remaining hours in a week?

33% of that time I sleep. More if I can sneak in a nap on the weekend.
I have a typical Atlantan commute – 1 hr from door to desk – 6% of the 168.
Which leaves 37% of the precious hours in each week that I do whatever it is I WANT to do.
62 hours. Mind-blowing how much time we waste on silly things like checking emails and surfing the web.
In addition to frying my brain online, I spend some of those 62 hours on the utterly mundane: showering; cleaning the house; cooking meals and eating them; walking the dog; mowing the lawn. Of course, these are not the activities that make me uniquely “me” any more than my job does.

What do I do?
  • I read everything I can get my hands on.
  • I write almost every thought that passes through my head.
  • I play with art to smell the supplies and feel the textures (paint, glue, fabric, unfinished wood just sanded smooth), to play with colors the same way I enjoy playing with words.
  • I take lessons on how to do cartwheels from the kids in my neighborhood.
  • In turn, I teach them whatever I know about gardening.
  • I practice yoga postures that seem like they will be impossible until the first time I accomplish them.
  • I tease my cat until she’s spunky and wild-eyed, pouncing on everything that moves.
  • I feel how strong my legs are while I pedal; and I relish the sensation of the wind as I ride my bike.
  • I try new adventures, explore new places, and dare myself to go a little bit further than I had been willing to go before.
  • I watch movies, listen to music, dance around the house and sing at the very top of my lungs.
  • I play with my dog and laugh at his polka-dotted belly when he rolls over and grins at me like a fool.
  • I decorate my home, and learn to love my space as an extension of my self.

So, what do I do?

I live.

I learn.

I play.

What do you do?

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