Reading Again

Work was fast becoming overwhelming of late, so I have taken to quitting email when I leave work and not checking it again until I get back to the office to keep my sanity. And I’ve been trying to close my laptop up more and stay offline. For a short time, I feared I was addicted to the internet, but I’m pretty sure I’m not. I just like to read and I was reading a lot of stuff online. These days, I’ve started up my weekly (or every other weekly) visit to my local library. I’ve read a number of books and it makes me happy. Now that I’ve fully accepted that I should wear reading glasses, I’m happy again reading books.

This morning, I just finished on called “Resilience” by Eric Greitens. The guy is a former (are you not supposed to say former?) Navy Seal who is writing letters to a fellow seal who is having a tough time. This is the second time that I’ve read a book of letters and the format is growing on me. (The first was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society which I loved.) Anyway, the tag line is hard-won wisdom for living a better life. It’s basically a bunch of philosophy, but pretty easy to understand. And while I’m not nor ever had any desire to be a Navy Seal or even in the military, I thought it was interesting. Plus, I’m a sucker for anything that will “help you live a better life”, since I’m forever wondering if I’m doing it wrong.

What I wanted to note here were two lines from the book that really struck me. The first is this:

People who think you weak will offer you an excuse. People who respect you will offer you a challenge.

People who leave the military, especially those who are hurt in some way, are often never asked again to do anything for others. It seems like everyone thinks they’ve already given enough and shouldn’t ask any more of them. But this then leaves the former soldiers or sailors aimless. They don’t really have a purpose and no one is asking anything of them. The author says that this is why a lot of former military get messed up with drinking and doing nothing. I’m not that familiar with people in the military, but the line made a lot of sense to me (I love a good challenge, just ask my Mom.) and I couldn’t stop thinking about it for quite a while.

The other bit was a passage about work/life that he says he sees in the entrance to his building. He says it’s by an english minister from the 1930s. I googled it and found that it’s from a guy Lawrence Pearsall Jacks (or L.P. Jacks as he’s usually known).

The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.

I completely agree with this. This is why I’ve always said that I love my job. It’s really no different than what I’d be doing for fun. (Despite the recent onslaught of email I’m dealing with.) I’m starting to try to not to make a distinction between my mind and my body, which I think is good. My weeks of therapy on my knee are starting to pay off and I feel like doing more things again. I think I might like to print this out and hang it somewhere in my house. It makes me happy when I read it.