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What if you went to bed this evening, knowing that upon waking tomorrow, all knowledge of events from the previous day, had vanished?

I’ve been home 8 weeks, celebrated my first 2 Jewish holidays, fasted, entered a new season and felt the heat of Korean food thrice times (despite the recent dearth of kimchi!). I’m unemployed, actively looking for work, volunteering, studying French, Korean, HTML/CSS and photography all on the side. I love running, music and pondering the trivial bits to a day. This sounds like the makings of an online profile for eHarmony or one’s introduction to a group’s initial self-help meeting. I can assure you it’s not, but what it IS, is life. Living in NYC (or anywhere), as one friend told me, “You don’t have to have a job to be busy.”

In looking for work I’ve been asked by many people, “What kind of work do you want to do?” I silently cogitate on my answer, trying to formulate the perfect answer as though this response will grant me a job even though the conversation takes place between no future employer and myself, but more than likely in the comfort of a cafe or restaurant, between friends I’ve missed in the past year. Whether we’re employed or looking for work, the quest for the meaning of life appears to manifest in one (not) simple string of factors :

work + happiness+ life + [unknown variable] = meaningful – seems to create a haphazard equation we’re continuously commenting on and trying to solve.

The incessant talk of the recession and the crumbling infrastructure of so many nations does not yield a replenishable  supply of jobs. For individuals who yearn to work for a purpose other than earn money, it seems opportunities to do social good should be in abundance though, like apples in an orchard on a fresh September day – ripe and ready to be picked. So what if we do have the choice – the choice to choose ANY job we wanted? What would we do? Would we choose to live a life framed by financial comfort and a reliable job? Or give ourselves to a charity, an occupation helping others with a little less capital in our accounts? Does the idea “money does not buy happiness” hold truth?

The trouble is nowadays, I think, while we want a job leading us toward happiness, sometimes not everyone is always willing to work for it. We want more money, with less work, and more recognition, without having to foot the effort that’s required. This isn’t an American standard though, I think it’s a familiar desire amongst the global community. Life – it’s demanding. We see it on the news, in our neighborhoods, in schools and as conflict and violence take shape, we seriously need to ask ourselves the why’s and the how’s to what’s occurring. Is it a result of being overworked and underpaid? Has our culture shifted toward a means of living that is focused on quantitative vs. qualitative? There is a purpose to being efficient and getting a lot done in a little time, but what suffers as a result? Has pursuing our ‘passion’ been out-run by the vision of $$$ in store-front windows and full-page ads?

So in living, in juggling 2 jobs, or 4 kids and a handful of doctors appointments, events to attend and emails to reply to, let us remember today, and yesterday, and give thought to tomorrow. To whatever we find ourselves doing, do it with passion, with your full intention and fully in the moment. How sad it is when you ask someone, “What did you do yesterday?” And their reply is, “Yesterday? What was yesterday? Wow…I don’t even remember…”. Is that how we’re living and subsequently, defining our culture? By days and ways that we have forgotten?

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

– Hamlet


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2 thoughts on “the forgotten day

  1. The recent dearth of kimichi aside, there’s alot to be absorbed in a day! More and more living to work is being replaced by working to live (either by choice or by force).

    I think as America’s ‘service industry’ rises we find ourselves with more time on our hands (“Ha” says the mom with two jobs and four children)but in a way it’s true. No longer are americans sweating and toiling in the factories and fields, making overtime dawn to dusk and our attitudes toward work fall in the box of alternative schedules and clock-in, clock-out work days.

    It’s in this ‘spare time’ we find ourselves wanting to reap the rewards of what we believe to be so well earned…but the challenge in which we find ourselves during this time is figuring out just how to enjoy it. Just how to pay for it. Just how to stay alive to see it again.

  2. Yes, working to live. Sometimes I think we naturally struggle with it, especially if it’s a job we truly enjoy.

    Time is precious – and as it seems to slip away quicker and easier with each passing day, we appear to be working in reverse – longer and harder to forge those meaningful moments.

    Thanks for stopping by.

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