Occupation or Obsession?

A world-renowned and well-paid guru once said men are often like trains on tracks when it comes to goals. This can be especially true with things like projects or work. We often start something and follow it through with a mad obsession. No matter how long it might take us, we just know we’re going to reach the finish line. If we’re lucky, sometimes we do. Sometimes our doggedness pays off and we succeed. Other times—maybe most times—our train sits idle, either stuck at a station, or on the track waiting as other trains zoom by. Sometimes our train is on an endless track that will never arrive at its destination. It’s simply a figment of our imagination. We’ve all heard ourselves say, “One of these days I’ll (fill in the blank)….”

However we see ourselves, either flying full clip down the tracks or just chug-chug-chugging along, this forward advancement is what keeps us sane. We all need a station to pull into. We need an itinerary. Often it’s our work that defines us, which can be good and bad. But instead of the job itself defining us, maybe it’s the act of working that men take so much pride in. I know I do. Maybe that’s why we men often go through identity shifts when our jobs or roles change, or when we retire from a lifetime of work, our train grinding to a halt.

As another guru once said—a wise lady that sat across from me at an office years ago: “Work will always be there.” She was quick to put it aside and relish the end of the work day. She was happy to get off the train, to cherish the points in between the origin and the terminal. She was also a mover herself, hopping to the next track with ease. We should all remember: if we don’t like the train we’re on, we can get off at the next stop. There will be another train coming any moment now.


Photo by Ankush Minda on Unsplash

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