Life is work

I recently had a friend tell me that “life is work” as a sorry excuse for why we did have time to hang out anymore. Don’t get me wrong – a strong work ethic is a valuable trait. However, if all life is work, then something is terribly wrong.

Life for those of us with first-world problems is more often what you make it. Sometimes there is work involved, but if all your life is work then something is not right. You must be living in a third world country struggling to survive each day – for those people life truly is work, and effort, struggles, sacrifice, and pain.

But if you were blessed to be born into a family with enough food to eat, a roof over your head, and clean clothes on your back – then you probably continue to be blessed with choices. Don’t use “work” as an excuse not to spend time with the people who matter to you.

I recall seeing the above image of a girl and a vulture in 1993 as a child in elementary school. That photo gave a young version of myself a glimpse into a sort of existence I would never know or be able to understand – to be so abandoned and alone left as carrion for scavengers, to collapse from the weight of exhaustion, to have my stomach swell with hunger. This is a person who truly has no choices.

And let us not forget what happened to Kevin Carter after taking this Pulitzer Prize winning photograph. I suppose we all die in some ways when confronted with the stark reality that some people in the world have to live and die like this – and we are often unable to make any real or lasting impact on those who live and struggle on distant shores.

So make an impact on the people who are close. Make some time for family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues. Don’t write them off by saying “I have to work because it’s all I know.” We are all capable of being better than that.

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