Monday, January 29, 2007

L is for Life

We live life just by breathing, but there's a difference between breathing and really living life. We so often forgo the present for the future:

"I can't wait until the baby can talk."

"When I finish school, then. . . . "

"Once all my kids are in school. . . ."

"When we've paid off the ________, then we can. . . . "

We put in hard work while we're in school so that we can get a good job. We put in hard work on the job, so that we can make more money so that we can retire comfortably one day. Bill Butterworth, author of Balancing Work and Life cautions us not to stay confined to one of these boxes at a time, but to experience all of them together.
Our motto should be:
Lifelong Learning. . . Lifelong Labor. . . Lifelong Leisure
What a great concept! In the podcast with Jim Burns on Homeword that I listened to, Bill summed up his thoughts on leisure by explaining why recreation was his favorite word for downtime. The words so clearly conveys the intended effect: re-create.

Here's my take on the three L's in that motto.

By learning we add to our enjoyment of and expertise in our labor and our leisure. When learning is pursued as a lifetime goal, there's no test. This is good for me, because although I have always loved learning, even when I was in school, where there were tests, the results part of learning was not as important to me. In life, you learn what you want to learn. It could be modeling after someone's success--Jesus, Lance Armstrong, or Oprah (that list was fairly random at first, but after reading it, I think that the last two probably think that they have more in common with the first than I would). You could teach yourself a new skill--knitting, writing, or cooking.

Labor is a way to showcase our talent and also to make a meaningful contribution to the world. Your labor could come in the form of financially, intellectually, and emotionally satisfying work. I would call that a Dream Job, and unfortunately it seems like most jobs don't fill all three categories at once. Your labor could be in volunteer service or in taking care of home or family.

Sometimes labor or learning can run our batteries down. Leisure, or recreation, is what charges them back up. Some people may have to be forced to experience leisure, but almost everyone could agree that there are definite benefits to leisure, in addition to the pleasure that comes from the activity, including bonding with others and reduction of stress. This is what people crave when they talk about balance.

This has helped me discover why I am enjoying reading so much. It combines learning and leisure quite nicely. If I could find a paying job as a reviewer or a book jacket writer then I could squeeze work in there and it would qualify for my Dream Job.


Carrie said...

I keep wondering what it takes and/or what you have to do to get a job as a book reviewer. =) Seems like a great way to earn extra money! (Seeing that the chances of you reading the book are fairly high anyway!)

Lindsey @ Enjoythejourney said...

Lifelong learning is a motto around our house. It never ends.

I always enjoy your words Jennifer.

Heather said...

Since I already love learning, I love the idea of labor showcasing learning.

Katrina said...

I like your thoughts on these L's, and I agree with all you said. Learning, Labor, and Leisure -- when we ignore one, I think we end up unbalanced and get a nagging feeling that something's missing. And of course, I'm with you on the reading - getting paid to read certainly would be a dream job. :)

Kim said...

AHA! If found something we don't have in common...I can't write worth a toot. At one point, I did fairly okay, but after nursing school, it was all downhill. Between the medical abbreviations, personal shorthand, and no real need for full sentences, I am back to a preschool level of grammar.

What a great entry; you really should find a job as a reviewer. Start by doing some free ones and keep copies to submit with a resume down the road. Try out I have done a few for them. It's kind of nice to get free books before they are released.

Dianne said...

Ha, getting paid to read! Sounds awesome. Great post and simple to remember the 3 L's! I used to listen to Jim Burns until they took him off the air around here.

Chris said...

We often think of lifelong learning, especially as Christians, but we seldom think of lifelong labor or leisure. I love the thought of keeping them all balanced. Each are so important at every season.

angeleyes Blue said...

I am thinking that I would need to remember the 3 L's but as a mother of TEENAGERS I would have to add another L. L is for Laughter. In my house If I didn't laugh I would cry. I can't think of a synonym for cry that starts with L.
Have a great day everyone ;-)

Pammy Jean