What is work?

Yeah, yeah- exerting force on an object to make it move from a—>b. I mean, what is meaningful work?

Work that pays? Work that creates collegiality? Work that changes the world? Work that delineates your status? Work that proves your competence?

So many freaking question marks. I expected it would be all of the above. Plus original, creative, and fun. But only as a bonus.

To really count of course you need a field. So that you can be at the top of it. And ideally a professional license of some sort. That, it turns out is my mother’s (and possibly many people’s) definition of a career. Probably the most jarring conversation of my 30’s happened with her, back before software, but after The Waiting Room when she said, in a matter of fact tone: “you will never have a career.” It wasn’t a problem for her. Just a fact. For me it felt like damnation.

Without a career I was either a failure or a dilettante. Or at least a hack.

So there it is. No career. Lots of stuff started, even a lot of it finished, but no fame or fortune and a big fat what’s next.

This:

 

 

What is this? In short I am shopping for a living. Ebay, yard sales, auctions, antique stores. I am finding an object that inspires me, then building something around it. I’ll be selling the collections as wholes. Mexican fiesta, yellow and blue makes green breakfast setting, pheasant dinner. Plus cowboys, poker night and scottie dogs. And so many mad men bar set ups I have lost the spirit for spirits.

I always thought work needed to be serious. Not frivolous. Buying things for a party, not serious. Having coordinated bar ware- not life changing. Setting an Abe lincoln decanter in front of an image of the gun that shot him- potentially disturbed, and most certainly not significant work. But incredibly fun. In fact right as I am typing this Leo said to me: “There is no possible way you are having fun doing woik.” That seems like confirmation enough that I can drop 4 or 5 of my high bar standards and have some fun for a while. We all seem to need to look at work a bit differently these days.

Let me know if you need a scottie dog needlepoint. I just may have some.

 

 

 

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Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble, Parent.co, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at annarosenblumpalmer.com.