Some people fear death and obsess about diet, exercise, and
face lifts as they make valiant but futile attempts to stave off the inevitable. As a result, to borrow a slogan from Belmont Winery in Leasburg, Missouri, they don’t have time to enjoy the simple taste of life. Work alcoholics suffer a similar malady. One of the greatest challenges in this life is to strike a balance. We need to work to live and not live to work. We need to avoid the trap that is killing time and never forget that time is finite.
I will be the first to admit that often in the rush to meet a deadline, these are simple lessons that are forgotten. This is in spite of the fact that on a daily basis, as I write about lives cut short, I am reminded about the brevity of life, the futility of myopically focusing on work with the hope that at some point in the distant future there will be time to enjoy life.
My current employment is fraught with endless opportunity to worry over finances, pressing deadlines, taxes, and project completion. From that perspective the current job is no different from any that I have had in the last forty years. However, the ability to set deadlines, blend work with savoring the company of friends, to work under the neon rather than the fluorescent lights of a cubicle, and to include colorful characters (like Crazy Ray, the subject of this last weeks Facebook live program) in the work day are unlike anything ever experienced. Let me provide you with a quick then and now comparison.
Three years ago my average work week often exceeded sixty hours, and I was on call 24/7. Duties included renting trucks, cleaning trucks (rain, snow, or shine), light service and repair of trucks, making reservations for trucks, recovering trucks, resolving customer complaints about trucks, replacing broken trucks at any time of the night, and helping to unload trucks. In exchange the employer provided a steady but anemic paycheck, a weeks vacation provided I was available to resolve issues via telephone, and the illusion of security that keeps us tethered to the daily grind.
The current work week started on October 13. As to hours per week, if I were to pick a number it would be 60. I should note, however, that with the current job the line between fun, friends, work, adventure, deadline associated stress, the pressure of a schedule while on the road, and balancing income with expenses is a very, very fine line.
In the past seven days I have written blog posts for funeral homes, the Promote Kingman initiative, and a kite store, all part of an arrangement with MyMarketing Designs who provides content for their clients, added about 5,000 words to the new book that is to be completed by next May, been interviewed by a German based blogger (Time Traveler 911), and attended the Route 66 Association of Kingman November meet & greet. I wrote scheduled posts for the Jim Hinckley’s America Facebook page, and the pages for Promote Kingman, Promote Route 66, the Route 66 Association of Kingman, and the new Jim Hinckley’s America Adventurers Group. I also wrote a series of exclusive posts for patrons of our crowdfunding platform at Patreon that included chapter three of a new book.
Then I worked on marketing the books released this year including Route 66: America’s Longest Small Town and 100 Things To Do On Route 66 Before You Die. Of course as the conversations often turned toward the availability for making presentations next year, this required a bit of long term planning.
As I am a commissioner on the historic preservation committee, I attended a meeting on Tuesday evening. There was also a planning and strategy meeting with Steve LeSueur. Then the Facebook live program at Cool Springs with Crazy Ray required three scenic trips resultant of some technical issues. There was also a conference call with members of the Route 66: The Road Ahead Partnership economic development committee.
There were two projects that had a pressing deadline. One was creation of proposal for a marketing plan. This was for a promotional partner. Then I crafted a detailed summary of Jim Hinckley’s America including accomplishments over the course of the last 18 months, details pertaining to the reach of our social media platforms, plans for 2018, etc. This was part of ongoing negotiation to enlist support from a potential promotional partner.
I think you get the picture. Working like this is a sure death albeit a much slower one than starvation. Part two, the worst day working this job is better than the best day on any job I have ever had.
One parting thought, don’t let life pass you by. Don’t trade an illusion of security for an opportunity to add a bit of balance.