Live to Work to Live?

“work to live” I heard them say

I never really knew what to make of that. I understand the idea: that work is merely the means to do the things you really enjoy– and if you’re not sure what you want to do, then go out and discover what makes life worth living.

Simple, if not a bit cliche. Most people I meet seem to work with a sense of anxious worry, not really happy enough about their career to qualify for a “live to work” mantra– or any mantra at all. Work, to them, is just something they do to pay their bills (or so they tell me). This to me, is an intolerable hell and I salute anyone that lives under such precept without killing themselves.

These people are different from the “live to work” crowd. I’ve met very few people who really “live to work”. To everyone else, I ask:

“Why aren’t you working on important problems?”

No, really, why not? I mean, if you’re going to work– work on something interesting, something worth working on. Maybe “live to work” would make more sense if you were doing something important. And if you are “working to live”, that’s great that you have a life, but are you working on anything important? Work should not be something that distracts you from the things you care about.

I know people who “work to live” and they hate their jobs, or at best spend less time than they like doing the things they love. Think of times when you loved what you were working on, it’s a great feeling– the problem happens the moment you decide you’re too busy amidst all the various interesting projects to take time for yourself (to travel, to explore, go back to school, etc). You’ll soon start to envy the “work to live” crowd, but before you run off to wait tables in Paris, consider the logical fourth option.

Work not just to enable you to live, but simultaneously live such that it enables you to work. Explore the world and find projects worth working on, something worth devoting your time to– if you’re going to truly live, then your time and effort (that is, your “work”) should be towards those things that make life worth living. We all have an internal barometer, use it! The moment you feel the pressure to travel (or skydive, paint, etc), do it! And likewise the moment you feel that lifeless boredom take hold, go work on something interesting– put your hands into something important!

Idealistic, I know, but it’s something worth living and working towards

Dreaming, Dreaming, Paradox

You have a vision for the future
An aspiring goal that drives you forward
Every step often a misstep from your dream
Not that it is different, but only that it is taken

No longer a potential ideal but an actual step
There’s no going back, every step is final
The lofty ideals of your dream slowly die
And become the fruition of your work

It is tempting then to lie in bed
And please only the dreamy ideals
Of what could be
But future fantasies you’ll miss
If you don’t shape the world
To yesterdays dream

Pacific Surfliner

On the train
There is something out of place
And out of time
The world rushes past
You’re left with little to worry
And you realize that
Sometimes it’s good to ignore
That which can be ignored

Tabula Rasa

Never really asleep and never really awake
Not even really alive
Drifting in delirium, the body numbs
Unaware of your own wants
You are not born with a blank slate
It must be created, carefully
Unlearn and purge the preconceptions
Which bind you to false ideals

Awake, anew


I see you in this place
On the other side through doors unknown
Detached and secure
A smile on your face
It stops those in the streets
Only to come closer
And marvel on the intricate
Details from every angle

Crayons and Coffee

Wasting time, lollygagging
Mornings turn to afternoon
Delight in the evening hours
There is a calm in the nothing
As if our conscious whispers
Slow down and enjoy
The effortless momentum

Open and Fold

There is always someone
Hold open the doors of perception
One side positive, the other negative
Others cross through
Never to come back
Allow the other to be
Allow to love, allow to please
And eternity opens and folds

Danger Disorder

Our feet firmly planted in the sand
It is safe, sure, and sound
nothing can go wrong

Look at it, it’s beautiful
It’s beyond beautiful, it’s amazing
You could stand here, safe
Or you could take the plunge

There are risks for sure
scared and safe, OR alive in peril
Death is inevitable either way

Silly Stupid

finding what we want, what we don’t want
in front of our face not ready to see
to love, to want
we don’t see what we won’t see and that’s all we see
we have what we don’t want and that’s all we have
until we can see
see more, see less, it can make one depressed
fucking figure it out
it’s what you want

Pay Attention

You’ll notice things
It’s amazing how we miss so much of the world
There is a beauty in the details
You just need to pay attention

Some say it’s the little things
But these things aren’t little

When we remove all the bullshit
Remove the filters and the fear
Remove the positive
Remove the negative

Look at the world
As it really is
Pay attention

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