Wednesday, May 29, 2019

On Breaking And Essentialism II

Occasionally - very occasionally - one gets an immediate answer to ponderings and prayers.  Unfortunately, these too often seem to be precisely not the answer one was hoping for.

I went to bed pondering in the back of my head everything about essentialism and goals and what should really be focusing on, with the slow disposal of items as the backdrop to my thoughts.  And then, like the proverbial bolt of lightning, the answer hit the following morning.

The most essential thing I am doing right now is my career.

This is not, as you can imagine, the answer that I was desirous of.  For years I have been looking at my career field of the last 20 plus years as an interruption in my true calling, that somehow my real calling was right around the corner.  I was only in the wings, waiting for my call to drop what I was currently doing and roll into the task that I was truly appointed for.

That call, however, has never come.

I had pictured that it come as an author or speaker or wise person (past versions of this had me as a performer or pastor or real estate magnate) - my time would come, the call would come in, and I could go in one morning and simply say "I am moving on to something more grand, something more fulfilling".

But it is time to face reality.

After a lifetime of waiting, the single purpose of my life is to serve God (on which all Christians agree)  - which in my case means I work well in my job, seeing it as the only job I am likely to have until such time as I do not have it, for the purposes of providing income for my family to enable their activities (including college) and having money to support the various good works of the Church. 

That is it.

That said, what then becomes essential is what makes me a better and more valuable employee in that field.  In that sense, the path is pretty clear:  more study on quality, regulatory, biology, chemistry, and information technology.  None of these are my passion, to be sure - but they are needs to happen to move forward in this most essential task.

Everything else?  It fits into a much narrower scope and is limited by the time available.  And to be perfectly honest, they are the sort of thing to balance out my life, not be the main focus of it.

Am I disappointed?  Yes.  One likes to believe that one is going on to greater and more important things; it is disappointing to realize that what one has spent one's live trying to move beyond is apparently one's destiny.

But it is as it is.  I can either continue to fight and be disappointed and unhappy or simply accept what is and make the best of  it.

We hope for our desires.  What we more often seem to get is our needs.  One can only hope that in God's economy, this will come out for the better.


  1. Hmmmmmmpffff.

    TB I woulda thunk you were put on this earth to be knee deep in manure, mire, dirt and bumper crops. Hang in there, eh.

  2. Hi. I think we all live in somewhat of a dream world. I remember our sixth grade teacHer proudly asserting that any one of us could become president in our wonderful country. She had her own dream world! You are realizing tHat life is what it is and that acceptance is the key. Learning contentment is very hard and to be content does not mean that you have 'settled' or that you are becoming static. It will actually probably help your a life outlook. Help you see more clearly reality. Just a thought. This does not mean that I at tHe age of seventy am content but if I were smarter I would become content.

  3. Glen, I kind of like to think so too. That said, this seems to be where my life is right at the moment. I will do what I seem to be called to do, until I am called - or released - to do something else.

  4. Thanks Deb. It comforts me a bit to know others suffer with this as well.

    I think the problem I have is the one you have so succinctly described: that in being content, I feel I am becoming stagnant or static. Certainly the opportunities to grow exist even in "contentment"; I have a great deal I can learn about my career field, for example. And it is not as if I giving up Iai any time soon. But it does reek of limiting one's horizons, or at least feeling as if one has.

  5. I've been pondering this essentialism nonsense ever since you brought it up TB, and trying to reconcile it with my own life. I too feel like I need to pare down my interests because even with my patty-cake semi-retirement job... I don't have time for it all.

    But as was said, one day it all ends. The kids are gone and on with their own lives, the bills are paid. The old lady has her things that she wants to do and a fella gets stuck wondering what to do with himself and his hours. Hang on to everything for as long as you can. Keep your options open. Maybe age and arthritis will keep you from swinging that katana. Maybe (God forbid) the job craps out and you will need something to help you cope with unemployment. You can always get rid of stuff later.

  6. your horizons remain without other than natural limits. maybe contentment will lead to relaxation of nerves, better sleep.
    keep dreaming and trying new things, but without the anxiety.

  7. Ha! I made you think Glen. Job accomplished.

    Interestingly enough, the author of Essentialism suggests the Essentialist actually do try lots of things. But at some point, they figure out the things that they provide the most value in/most enjoy/can be most good at. So in some cases, it is a question of where the most value lies.

    True, time and age changes us. For example, I have backed off throwing a fair amount - not because I do not enjoy it (I still do), but rather that I have reached (in a lot of ways) the practical limit of how much I can improve. My range in Iai is a great deal more - few people throw in there seventies, while there are more martial artists.

    The job will eventually go - if not now, then later. And that is why the interests matter.

  8. It is interesting that you say that Deb - in a sense it is compressing my horizons, but does not feel like that at all. It more feels as if I am focusing them.

    At least with contentment, my need for stuff seems to be less. That's something.


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