Do you ever perform the work you spent decades refining your skills to do, and think, "I am so done with this?"
Today I taught a workshop in a luxurious venue, to a small group of hard-working, intelligent people. So that's as good as it gets. It left me gutted; my facilitation work always has. Pour myself out, receive them, and crawl into bed by 9 pm. At 60, my relationship to work has shifted. Work no longer defines me or offers hurdles to clear.
Even this spent, partly wishing I would never do this again, work feels different.
When I was 20 I read a well-known passage from The Prophet, "Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy."
Then I got all corporate and rolled my eyes at this hippie dippy crap. But I'm back, weirdly, in my 19-year-old head space (remember that idiom?).
I have affection for the people I work with, whether for a day or a year. I'm grateful to contribute. Hmmm, a well-paid contribution, my conscience adds.
This reconnection with the spiritual dimension of work comes late, catches me by surprise... though the stamina to give and give simply isn't there.
The "legacy movement" is pure ego, abhorrent to me- the idea that you must make your indelible mark by leaving something behind. At the same time, I'm capable of giving more, in a connected, personal way, than at 30 or 40- maybe even 50.
I'm losing my thread here, rambling and drained. But while it's soaking into my bones, I wanted to capture some of the odd mixture of exhilaration, exhaustion and sense of completion I feel about this late-career phase.
Ever work at your desk till the end of a business day (in a place with "office hours"), then know you could leave, but choose not to? That strange lifting of anticipation: suddenly it's your choice?
I see the end of in sight, the end of both employment and over another hill, of life. This vista shifts my awareness.