I’ve been sick. I mean really, really sick. I don’t get sick much but when I do, it’s pretty bad. Even while sick I try to be as productive as possible since I can’t stand being idle. But this time I slept for most of the day…for a few days. I couldn’t even force my brain to write any articles for this blog. After hearing that I had taken a few sick days, a friend sent me the text below:
“Damn this must be bad then cuz u don’t take off work. It can be Armageddon and u workin lol.”
Ha, ha, really funny. But then I got an instant message from another friend (yes, the laptop was on and in bed with me) asking if I was working from home even when I was sick since I’m such a “workaholic”. Ding! Lightbulb went on. I’ve never been called a workaholic and here were two totally different people who had never met each other basically saying that I work too. I thought, am I a workaholic? Is that a bad thing?
I’ve never even given it a moment’s though because it’s what I do. I work. I don’t think of it as being a workaholic, I think of it as being driven. But maybe I’ve been looking at things all wrong my entire life.
I’m an immigrant. We know this. Some immigrants have a somewhat different mentality towards work. We know that too. I got my first job at 15 and I’ve been working ever since. At one point I even had two jobs while in high school. This kind of made me think of an old In Living Color series. Does anyone remember this?
So I’m like the Wons and the Headleys. Work doesn’t scare me. It never has because I think of work as a means to an end. The end goal is complete independence. I’m not talking about retirement, I’m talking about working for myself, but in steadfastly working towards that goal have I lost sight of where I am today? Am I forgetting to stop and smell the roses?
When I talk about complete independence what comes to mind for you? To me it means complete and utter freedom to make the decisions that I want to make; to do what I want to do when i want to do it; to go where I want to go; to be who I want to be. I really do not think that I can do that as long as I have a heavy debt and quite frankly, working for someone else.
I’m not looking down on anyone that is content to work at their jobs. A job can make someone feel complete and whole in a way that nothing else can. For me, a job does not do that. A job is not who I am. It does not make me the person that I am. It is a means to an end, and I am willing to work as much as possible to get to that ultimate goal, but I realize that I need to change my thinking.
Simply working more, working harder and aiming higher is not enough. I realize that it can never be enough. I can’t be a robot anymore. I can’t get up, go through the commute, be attentive at work, commute back home and work from home until 2 a.m. every day anymore. I’ve done it for years and it’s not sustainable. It doesn’t make me whole.
But I am so focused on this goal of complete independence that it is as real and essential to me as oxygen. Without it I don’t think that I would know who I am. I’ve always been a one track mind kind of person. When I have a goal I am totally focused on reaching that goal and all of my energy is completely devoted to it. It’s not that I’m a type “A” person. Far from. It’s just that I want very badly to attain my goals and I don’t expect anything to be handed to me. Ever.
But with that said, I guess at this point in my life it’s time to refocus, no? Getting out of this debt is still 100% important to me and will always be important for me. But I realize that I’m approaching middle age, and I have lots of things to check off from my bucket list. Even without checking off bucket list items, it’s time to change the way that I look at some things. For instance, I don’t take vacations. I don’t know what to do with myself on vacation. My last vacation was to put a headstone on my grandmother’s grave a year after her death. My vacation before that was to attend her funeral. Before that my vacation was to meet with potential suppliers in Vegas over 2 days. That was back in 2004. Before that, I think I went to Miami back in 2003. I’ve always thought of vacations as a perfect waste of money and time that I could spend doing something else. After this past summer spent renovating my rental home, I now understand and respect the value of a vacation.
This change doesn’t mean that I’ll lose my focus though. It just means that I know that I need to weave other things into my life, and dare I say it, slow down a little bit? But I will want to ask, do you think that I’m a workaholic, or just driven?