According to a blog I read regularly entitled The Happiness Project, former U.S. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is quoted as saying that the secret to a happy life comes from "work worth doing". I'm intrigued. Intrigued because I agree but yet don't know what "work worth doing" means to me personally. I flat out want to know. Now. Please.
I strive for the mental state of happiness like everyone else I know, plodding along with an idea here, an idea there, some good days, some bad days, and lots and lots of just plain in-between days. Is the key really "work worth doing"? I have to wonder. I have to stop and really consider this.
I believe the former Justice is right. Her response is so concise, a 3 word answer, sufficiently non-specific, open to interpretation and absolutely gorgeous in its simplicity. Work. Worth. Doing.
I went to work today. Was it work worth doing? The work was obviously helpful to some, I offered expertise, oversight, review, commentary, and the all important written documentation to prove that I was there, working. Much of this work was rather boring and tedious today (that is the exception rather than the rule) and most of the patients would have incited a deep sadness in me had I let those emotions bubble up. Feeling that what I do is so small in comparison with the real need often overwhelms me. "It" is broken and I can't "fix it". Imperfect and incomplete; the nature of what we do in Medicine makes me question on a personal level if this is really the right fit for me; "work worth doing".
I remind myself that our work is way more than our paid or unpaid jobs and responsibilities. When what we're paid to do or what we must do to keep life flowing doesn't quite satisfy the "worth doing" qualification, we must look deeper into life and find the nuggets of joy that make our hearts soar with creativity. Perhaps it is what we love, those inner passions and gifts that we throw out there with abandon, hope, and innocence that constitute the "work worth doing". When you happen to make a living at what you love to do, that's all the better. But, it's not a requirement.
I'm still searching. But at least I'm sensing movement and opening my mind to the possibilities.