Love and Work
Nothing makes me madder than people disrespecting my work. Well, that’s not completely true. Injustice and cruelty and abuse make me really mad. In my personal life, however, nothing makes me madder than someone saying to me “You know if you do this it’s going to require a lot of focus and attention and some time to be put in every day.”
I hear this all the time. For some reason people look at me at the age of 73 and imagine that I’ve had an easy life. In fact, a dilettante life. While I would agree I have been extremely fortunate in my situation throughout my life in terms of not having to worry about money, I would also say that I have received the most happiness from the work that I have done successfully.
I was born in an era when half of my friends went to work and half of us stayed home. Those of us that stayed home did not have better lives than the ones who went to work. In fact, I believe the ones that went to work had an easier life. They went someplace every day where they could do work that interested them and they were given rewards, praise, criticism and a focus on something other than whose wife they were or the accomplishments of their children.
I remember one man asking me if I had a career and when hearing I did stated, “Oh, that’s so nice you have something to do in the daytime.”
Work is one of the most important things in life and is side-by-side with love. Sigmund Freud made that statement many years ago and I think he was right on the money. You can have love and it can be a deep and abiding love but without something to occupy your mind you can be lost. I am so grateful for the work I did and for the feedback I received from that work.
I have to thank my husband who is no longer my husband for encouraging me to have a career. I think I was driving him crazy. Every night when he came home I was desperate for adult conversation but he kept giving me briefcases. I think I was finally up to four briefcases when I realized what the point of those briefcases was.
Once, on the way back from Stinson Beach in a very fast sports car I owned for a brief period of time, I heard my enormous dog perched on the seat beside me start to make the dog sound for throwing up. We were on a stretch of the road which was very twisted with no place to pull over and there were a bunch of cars behind me.
I can be very ingenious when I want to be.
I happened to remember that on the floor below the seat was one of those four briefcases which was completely empty. I leaned over while driving, popped open the lid of the briefcase and slipped it up on the seat right under Freddy‘s mouth. Exactly at the moment he threw up.
I popped the lid closed, snapped the snappers and put the briefcase back on the floor. It was one of my finer moments.
I will say that everyone needs something to do in life beyond their world at home. It doesn’t matter if you’re a painter or a photographer or a writer or a poet or a business person. You need someone to love as well as find work that is rewarding.