I think our modern relationship to work is broken. The mainstream narrative is to treat work as a necessary evil. And retirement to be the time when we can finally rest and no longer work. If you ask most people, if we had a choice, if our finances are taken care of, we wouldn't want to work another day. EVER.
But I've always had a problem with that.
I **love** to work. I work a bit even on weekends. I find it gives me life. It makes me come alive, feel alive, to be creating something. Anything. I'm in my element when I'm coding, designing, using my hands. It's fun, it's energizing, it's deeply actualising.
If I'm now super wealthy and no longer need to earn any income to survive, I'll be working 100% of the time just creating stuff. I've never believed in retirement. That sounds boring. I'll never retire.
But the current broken narrative makes me feel guilty, like I'm a workaholic for loving to work.
We need a new definition of work. We need a renewed relationship to work. Something which is healthy and wholesome, than a poison we tolerate.
And so far, no one comes close to what Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran—in *The Prophet*—had described:
> You work that you may keep pace with the earth and the soul of the earth.
> For to be idle is to become a stranger unto the seasons, and to step out of life’s procession, that marches in majesty and proud submission towards the infinite.
> When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music.
> Which of you would be a reed, dumb and silent, when all else sings together in unison?
> Always you have been told that work is a curse and labour a misfortune.
> But I say to you that when you work you fulfil a part of earth’s furthest dream, assigned to you when the dream was born,
> And in keeping yourself with labour you are in truth loving life,
> And to love life through labour is to be intimate with life’s inmost secret.
> And what is it to work with love?
> It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.
> It is to build a house with affection, even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.
> It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy, even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.
> It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit,
And to know that all the blessed dead are standing about you and watching.
> 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.
> For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man’s hunger.
> And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distils a poison in the wine.
> And if you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle man’s ears to the voices of the day and the voices of the night.
I work to "keep pace with the earth and the soul of the earth". It gives me a sense of rhythm and seasons to my time here. It really does. Nothing better than waking up at 5am to get started on some deep work, in a calm and collected manner. It just sets my day up for joy and groundedness.
"Work is love made visible" – that's so beautiful, isn't it? I pour my passion, interest, and core bits of myself, into my work. If work was a person, you'd call those actions "love" for sure. And "in keeping yourself with labour you are in truth loving life" – that's totally how I roll. It's my way of loving the world, loving others, loving myself. Loving life.