I played in a fountain today.
I was coming back from the gym, walking along Clinch, overlooking the World's Fair park, and all these people were out enjoying the weather. They were tossing a Frisbee around on the grass, or sunbathing, or playing in the giant fountain. And I thought, what the hey, it's not like I have anywhere else to be.
So I joined them.
I have discovered since I've quit work that I spend a lot more time just experiencing things. I go to the art museum. I take walks around the city just for fun. I watch flowers grow. I go outside for the sole purpose of feeling the sunshine on my skin. I volunteer. I read only the things that interest me. I sit in the park and watch children that aren't mine play on the swings. I play on the swings. And now, I take my socks and shoes off and stand in the World's Fair fountain.
And I love it.
Not working has been a constant tug-of-war of emotions for me. I feel guilty that I'm not working, but at the same time, I love the freedom of just being able to experience the things I would have missed while chained to a desk. I feel like I should work, but I really really enjoy not having to.
Our society places huge emphasis on working. The first question that anybody asks when they meet you is, "What do you do?" Our jobs define us. They're supposed to be who we are. A function of our net worth. Always has been, always will be. But, as I sit here barefoot under the shade of a tree, watching toddlers run through the spray and listening to the birds singing, I have to wonder exactly how much of ourselves we give up in chasing that corner office.
I know that eventually I'll go back to work. Truth be told, I enjoy working. I miss the challenge. But when the time comes to exchange the shorts and flip-slops for pantyhose and dress heels, part of me will also miss the freedom of just living in the moment.
And the sheer joy of being able to run through a fountain on a Tuesday afternoon.