occupation

by rantywoman

Hans Castorp respected work– as how should he not have? It would have been unnatural. Work was for him, in the nature of things, the most estimable attribute of life; when you came down to it, there was nothing else that was estimable. It was the principle by which one stood or fell, the Absolute of the time; it was, so to speak, its own justification. His regard for it was thus religious in its character, and so far as he knew, unquestioning. But it was another matter, whether he loved it; and that he could not do, however great his regard, the simple reason being that it did not agree with him. Exacting occupation dragged at his nerves, it wore him out; quite openly he confessed that he liked better to have his time free, not weighted with the leaden load of effort; lying spacious before him, not divided up by obstacles one had to grit one’s teeth and conquer, one after the other. — Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain

It looks like my new job will be much like my last, in terms of understaffing and unrelenting demands. I’ve been initiating a number of projects I’m excited about; these projects have some personal appeal to me, might introduce me to interesting people, and should be a win for my customers. I’m not keen on the responsibility of being the boss lady, but I am enjoying the freedom to innovate and initiate, and my staff seems to be willing to come along for the ride. I like the people I’ve been working with and am appreciating the fact that I can accomplish a lot here.

In the same way, I can appreciate many aspects of being single. I have some time to pursue hobbies and relax and read (not so much lately but hopefully again soon), and as I’ve written before, I’ve had an adventurous and varied life.

That said, I would prefer not to have to work and, if I had my choice, I would work a lot less. I would also prefer to be in a relationship, even though I know it would entail a lot of sacrifices. I’m trying to reconcile myself to the fact that I didn’t live the last two decades of my life in the manner I would have preferred, and at this point, I probably never will do so, at least until retirement age.

I railed against this for a long time but am slipping into acceptance now.

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