This Is Why We Work Hard

I woke up this morning at 8:00 am. That’s the latest I ever sleep these days. Before I had even opened my eyes, my mind was racing with a million things that needed to get done. Saturdays are chore days, so that meant laundry, mopping, bathrooms, kitchen counters, the works… plus everything else on my growing to-do list.

I got out of bed, spent a few minutes of quiet time, and got to work. I threw a couple of frozen waffles in the oven for Victor and me as the first load of laundry began its cycle and pulled out the Windex to start on the counters. I could hear Victor working away in the upstairs bathroom.

After a little bit, Victor walked down the stairs to find me slumped on the couch. It was still only 9:30, though it felt like it should already be lunch time. The kitchen was clean, but the vast sea of tile flooring was taunting me. I couldn’t get up the gumption to conquer it.

Victor plopped down on the couch next to me.

“I need to have fun today,” I said.

“Okay, let’s do it. What do you want to do?” He said.

I sighed. “No, we have too much stuff to do.” I went on to give all the reasons why having fun was simply not possible.

Then Victor said something that hit me like a ton of bricks. “Babe, we work hard so that we can have fun.”

All my life I have worked hard at everything put in front of me. It’s ingrained in me to do my very best no matter what. In my family we call that the “Williams Blood,” because my mom (whose maiden name is Williams) comes from a long line of hard workers and self-made men and women. My grandfather is a farmer with two college degrees, and my mom and several of my aunts have started their own businesses. Working hard is just in the Williams Blood, and it often leads to a lot of success.

I’ve been pretty good about the responsibility side of success, but I don’t tend to let myself enjoy the freedom it brings. In fact, I don’t think I really had even thought about hard work and success as freeing. I’ve always worked hard for the sake of working hard and perhaps for the good feeling that comes from being recognized as a hardworking and successful person. But, that can be exhausting, because there’s always another level of success to be reached. It feels defeating to pursue success for success’s sake.

It’s the kind of thing that leaves you slumped on a couch with a bad attitude at 9:30am on a Saturday.

I fought back and forth between wanting to have fun and take a spontaneous trip and being dead set in my belief that I had to work, work, work, nonstop.

Finally, I gave in to what I knew was the truth, and Victor and I headed out on a quick road trip to Savannah, GA after finishing the chores that needed to get done. We had a wonderful, beautiful time. We ate a cute local place called The Little Duck Diner and walked along River Street. We explored block after block, hand in hand, enjoying the sights and sounds of the city. And we didn’t have an agenda.

This is why we work hard.

We work hard because we only have one life to live.

We work hard to achieve greater levels of authority and influence.

We work hard so that in those places of influence we can make a positive impact.

And we work hard so that we can be free to enjoy this life we live.

It’s really okay to enjoy life.