In Houston, we have a name for roads that run parallel to freeways: we call them feeders. Non-Texas folk might call them frontage roads, or may not even have them at all.
Freeways are always highways, but we have a few highways that aren’t actually freeways.
It all makes perfect sense.
I usually take the feeder instead of the highway because I hate being in a rush. I pretend that they’re safer, even though I know that they aren’t.
When I commute for tutoring, I have to make a left turn from the feeder road onto Dairy Ashford Street. I hate that intersection because although there are three left turning lanes (two mandatory and one optional), people in the second lane keep going straight instead!
Those who turn left from the third lane are almost caught in a head-on collision with the second-lane folk who decide to keep straight.
It’s happened to me more than once.
The first time it happened, the driver barely missed me. It happened so fast.
The second time, I was furious.
The next time I took that route, I chose a different lane.
Work (and marriage, I imagine) can be like this.
We can be blind-sided.
We can stay– and become self-righteous and indignant.
We can step away, claim a position of privilege or security, and then observe and reflect.
It’s been more than six months, and I’m still angry.
When I started there, it seemed all too familiar. Similar title, similar tasks, similar stress. I thought I’d enjoy the busy-ness and looked forward to some autonomy. I thought I’d have a chance to right the wrongs from the job before that. To prove to myself that I could keep the pace: be thoughtful, be efficient, be impactful, and be satiated.
What we pour into work— it very rarely gives back (at least not in the way we might need).
We need work.
We need to sustain ourselves.
We need to (or believe we need to) have a purpose.
We can position ourselves in an advantageous way—one not without risk.
We can position ourselves in the most expected position—with fewer risks and potentially greater rewards.
We can identify the problem from another vantage point.
I ran into a health scare last month, and, quite frankly, I’m not sure if I’m out of the woods just yet.
It’s been difficult to do almost everything– walking, eating, sleeping.
We have to decide if we’d rather be married to our work, to our partners, or to ourselves.
We can value the relationships that were solidified at work.
We can value the projects we completed and the progress we made.
But we work for IT. When we are sick, work cannot comfort us. When we despair, work cannot put us at ease. When we grieve, work cannot mourn with us. It can bring us wealth and purpose, but it has its own interests at heart.
Work is not a marriage.
We need work, but we also need something more.