Labor Day Weekend already. The year is flying by. A year ago, I was counting the days until retirement. Now I can’t believe how many days it has been since I retired!
On Labor Day, I can’t help but think back on the jobs I’ve had over the years. For the most part, they were labor. Blue collar, dirty hands, in-all-kinds-of-weather jobs. Noisy, messy, smelly—and that was just me! Most of them have been outdoors, working on golf courses and doing grounds work. I’ve also worked in a large power plant, done some stints in retail, been on a snowmaking crew at a ski resort.
Just last night, my wife and I were talking about how some people seem to know what they want from an early age and have enormous success while others never seem settled, many struggle through life, some have success in their field but don’t have happiness. We pondered what it is that causes those experiences. Is it the person’s personality, their upbringing, encouragement—or the lack of—from parents and others? How is it that one person sits at a piano at three years old and seems to already know how to play while another never finds the place in life that feels like it’s theirs? Why do some people always find themselves at the right place at the right time while others never find themselves at all? I don’t have the answers to those questions.
Life is filled with potential and possibility and determined by the choices we make. It’s also filled with excuses, justifications, rationalizations, fear of failure, the need for security, and a whole lot of other things that get in the way. And, yes, I’m speaking from experience. It’s easy to look back and say, “if that person had been more encouraging,” or “if that circumstance had been better,” or, “if I had spoken up at that time, boy, would things be different.” It’s easy to say those things because I don’t have to actually prove things would be any different or any better had any of those things occurred.
I can also look back and know I found a place that suited me—many places, in fact. I liked my work, I worked hard, I did a good job. There’s not a job I’ve held that I am ashamed for the quality of work I did. Even those jobs I didn’t like. Sure, there’ve been times I could have done better. But for the most part, I’m happy with my work.
There have been many positive evaluations, a few lunkhead bosses, an interesting cast of characters with whom I worked, lots of laughs, the occasional blowup, and uncountable times of looking on a completed job with a satisfied smile.
So, on this Labor Day, I can look back on my years of labor with gratitude, contentment, and the sense of a job well done. And, now that I’m retired, maybe just a bit of, “whew, I’m glad that’s over!”