Filed under: the sweet life | Tags: family, friends, Joan Bakewell, life, work
Here’s a description of a fulfilling work (and living) from someone who made self aware and intelligent decisions early in life and went on to reap the benefits: focus on life (rather than just career); match what’s out there with what’s in you; surround yourself with family and pleasure, and friends, colleagues, acquaintances; pursue work that includes challenge, pacing, intellectual engagement and a worthy goal. It’s a still point idea in a landscape of ideas that is trecherous, acquisitive and maybe a little hollow.
By now I was beginning to formulate what exactly I wanted from life. Not from a job or even a career. But from life itself. And I discovered that the ingredients actually lay all around. They just needed to be combined in the right formula to meet my own temperament and abilities. They are not obscure and elusive. They are the very things most of us want: a happy family life focused around good relationships; congenial surroundings both at home and at work, that make life pleasant. I am not talking some ambitious make-over nonsense here. Think instead of being able to watch a particular tree round the seasons, coming into bud, flowering, turning to golden leaf and then fronting the winter with stark, dramatic branches. That seems to be a good ambition to have. Then there are friendships; bosom pals for intimacies and advice; working colleagues for sustaining each other with laughter and encouragement; acquaintances met at odd moments, introduced by others, casual encountered at the school gate. All these friendships settle and regroup over the years, some coming to the fore, others lapsing with time. Yes, the encouragement of friendship seems a worthwhile way of spending time. Finally there is the work itself. My own needs are for a variety of tasks within and possibly at the limit of my capabilities, periods of heavy effort interspersed with more reflective times; intellectual engagement with ideas, and a sense of something worthwhile being achieved.
On Not Having A Career, BY JOAN BAKEWELL, the Idler
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