Sunday, August 22, 2021

On Work and Connection

 I just read this lovely essay by Esau McCaulley. In it he discusses how our new nearness to death has affected our lives:

"This pandemic has left conversations and lives cut short. And it seems to be bringing a similar clarity to people about their priorities. . . . All these changes that people are embarking on during the pandemic make me think that we weren't that happy before the pandemic. . . . The pandemic has disabused us of the illusion of time as a limitless resource and of the false promise that the sacrifices we make for our careers are always worth it. Before the pandemic, we knew we were going to die, but we did not believe it. . . . Exercise and a reasonable diet was the tithe we paid to our fears. We believed we had time.  
This opportunity made plain what may have been hidden. Maybe the sacrifices we make for our careers are not worth it. When we had the illusion of time, the lower pay, long commutes, high cost of living and separation from loved ones seemed a small price to pay for a successful career. But the pandemic reminded us that there are some things more important than vocational progress. Friends with children came to see that living far from family meant that they did not have a social network that could help them when school and life logistics became difficult. Covid-19 showed us that when systems break we need people. . . . Being at home helped many people realize how lonely they were before the pandemic and how few people they could really turn to in need. The pandemic has reminded us that life is more than what we do. It is about whom we spend our lives with. We cannot hug a career or laugh with a promotion. We are made for friendship, love and community."