Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Accomplishments of Manual Labor

Despite having a profession that is almost the antithesis of manual labor - sitting in a chair in front of a computer all day does not exact the same physical toil as bricklaying, for example - I find myself with a natural inclination towards the values of doing something physical. Although none of them are yet published, I have completed four novel-sized works, and published smaller works, so there has been a certain sense of accomplishment with those. And yet...

And yet.

Somehow the greater sense of satisfaction comes from work that requires physical effort. Lifting something, cleaning something, shoveling something (in this case snow - and lots of it), anything like that provides a more visceral and more immediate satisfaction. Therein lies some, if not all of it, I am sure. The ability to accomplish something tangible in the space of a few hours provides much of the satisfaction that only seems to come from physical labor. Putting a few thousand words on a page is also a few hours work, but somehow isn't the same as being able to stand back and survey a newly shoveled driveway, or a newly hewn pile of wood.

This also allows me to find a sense of accomplishment from cleaning house, too, which is of great advantage when it comes to doing any and all housework tasks. (This is also aided by my own inclinations toward neatness and order anyway. Few things bug me more than a clutter of unwashed dishes sitting upon the counter.) If I spend a few hours dusting, sweeping, washing, etc, when it's finally accomplished, even if nothing else has been done, it doesn't feel like a wasted day.

If I could find a way to transfer that to all my endeavors, I'd probably be a lot more motivated in all regards.

No comments: