Like the bee, we should make our industry our amusement. – Oliver Goldsmith
On the surface, it seems pretty simple. As humans, we should occupy ourselves doing the things that we most enjoy, and those things will bring us not only joy, but the elements we need to survive and thrive: food, water, shelter, clothing, companionship, community. Most of the societies we have set up, however, lead in a different direction. In the U.S., the majority of people spend most of their days engaged in work they either mildly enjoy, tolerate, or actively dislike. Then, after “work” and on the weekends, they take the opportunity to “play,” engaging in recreation – when they are not busy taking care of their children and maintaining their home, cars, clothing and kitchens. Within this “deferred pleasure” setup, people often choose recreation that is unhealthy, either from their desire to escape the circumstances of their daily lives, or through trying to cram many experiences into their limited leisure time.
What if, instead, we choose to do work that we find pleasurable, and also to find joy in the necessary tasks of life, such as meal preparation and home maintenance? Many people are currently thinking about, exploring and creating ways to pursue their true calling in life (or callings, as they may have more than one). One aspect of this is to simplify their lifestyles, cutting down on consumerism and expenses. The internet has expanded the ability of many people to work from home and to start small businesses, as well as to network with potential employers and take online classes to learn new skills. Despite the media’s focus on lack and unemployment, there is a significant subculture of people who are “making a living” in new ways, and succeeding at it.
In my personal network of friends, family and acquaintances, there are many who are either doing the work they love, or are actively working toward it. A good friend created a full-time, work-from-home job for himself by participating in online forums, becoming an expert on a topic that deeply interests him and attracting the interest of an online business. What about you? Are you doing what you love? Are you working toward it?
Currently, as I work to manifest my own new lifestyle, I’m working toward it in tangible ways. I’m writing a lot, for the two book projects I’m a part of, and also in my blog and personal journals. BlackLion and I are creating our own online business, based on the system described in The Four Hour Workweek. I’m researching topics that will soon be pertinent: unschooling older kids, beekeeping, organic gardening, raw foods. And, like the bees, I’m finding not only industry and amusement but also great joy in the process.