A recently-aired National Public Radio interview of a well-known and accomplished jazz musician covered his entire life. He talked about his passionate feelings for music, even when he was a preteen. His hunger for knowledge and for the understanding of everything that went into all aspects of music were like a fire in him. It continues today, and he is in his 60s. He became accomplished in the many different kinds of music, from the classics to jazz, blues, be bop, etc. He was passionate about his “life’s work” from the beginning. Throughout his life, he used his love of music to make a living, a good living, although it was a struggle in the beginning.
How many of us earn our livelihood, “our life’s work,” doing that which we love most to do?
We spend about 75 percent of our adult years and about 50 percent of our awake hours during those years working for a livelihood. We will use the majority of the energy that we will expend in our lifetime. The point is, of course, that we had better like, love, have spirit about or even be passionate about what we choose to do for that livelihood, our life’s work, as the jazz musician obviously did.
Little is more important in our lives. It is the sixth priority of our lives, only behind the sanctity of the lives of our loved ones and our other human relationship values. It is not altogether clear to many that the choice is really ours as individuals. It is our choice as members of a free and democratic society. Preparation for that choice should be more seriously taught, beginning in our homes and very early in grade school, and again and again, imbedded in school curriculums. The knowledge and understanding of the great value of our life’s work, for the individual and for its part in human progress, is as important as any subject taught today. It is truly “Life 101” and a subject taught throughout life, if we are paying attention.
“Work does more than get us our living. It gets us our life.” --Henry Ford