My wife likes to call me “Kirk.” Not because it’s some weird role-playing thing that she’s into. It’s because I’m slowly turning into my father.
In case you haven’t picked up on it, his name is Kirk. I’m not mad that she says that. My dad has always been my biggest hero. However, sometimes I catch myself being “Kirk” more than I want to.
I got my work ethic from my dad. It’s a gift and a curse. He, along with my other dad (my stepfather) and my pa-pa, taught me the importance of hard work and being proud of the work I do. But it didn’t stop there. My dad worked a lot: long nights, Saturdays, Sundays, whenever there was work to be done and money to be made, he worked.
This is the life of a father who runs his own business and wants to ensure that his family is properly provided for. This is the example I grew up with. This is still the work ethic of my father today. This is also my work ethic.
I, like my dad, have gotten to a place in my life where I don’t quite know what to do with myself if I’m not working. Last week, I worked my day job, got off on Friday, worked Friday night, got up early to work on Saturday. When I was done working Saturday I came home, showered and went back to work.
By the time Sunday rolled around I was ready for a day of rest and relaxation. I just wanted to kick back on the couch and veg out in front of the TV. I made it half-way through a movie before I got up and found something to do around the house.
Hi, my name is Kris and I’m a workaholic.
This is my struggle. I no longer know how to just sit and do nothing. I try and I fail. I have visions of kicking back with a cold beverage and perhaps a snack, but I just can’t follow through. I end up obsessing over the things that need to be done around the house or at work.
Imagine my stress level heading into a holiday weekend. Three days off? Just think of all the activities I can do that have nothing to do with relaxing and everything to do with working!
Every year when my dad’s birthday and/or Father’s Day rolls around I get frustrated because I have no idea what to get for my dad. The only thing he really does is work. I’m not going to buy him work clothes or tools or anything. I thought I was a genius when I came up with the idea of just giving him money this year. Everybody likes money, right?
Well, yeah, but it’s still a cop-out. Much like trying to come up with an idea for a column and thinking: “Hmm, what’s going on in my life that’s interesting to read about? Ooh, I know, I can write a column about working too much! People will love that!”
I’m not complaining. There are people who are not working at all but would love to. I’m thankful to be employed and grateful that I love what I do. But every now and then I have to remind myself that there has to be a balance. I’m sure there are many others who could use the same reminder.
Loving what you do and wanting to do it more than the average person isn’t so bad, but we have to take some time out to enjoy life. I recently had to remind myself that I do actually enjoy doing things that aren’t work related. I have hobbies? I had no idea!
“Slow down to smell the roses,” “Live for today as tomorrow is promised to no one,” “Live as if you were dying.” There are hundreds of quotes about taking time out to enjoy life.
But, I think Ferris Bueller said it best: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”