I sat next to a retired couple on the flight home. For four hours I tried to sleep, amidst the screaming child sitting behind me. For about an hour I chatted with the gentleman sitting next to me. We talked a lot about housing in the SD county area and we talked about retirement. I said to him "What do you do all day when you are retired?" He laughed and said something about going for walks, reading books, watching tv, fixing lunch and cleaning up after lunch. I couldn't figure out how these activities could fill a day... But the one thing he said, and I will never forget this, is "you won't miss the job." I believe him.
I'm not going to miss the job. And, they're not going to miss me when I'm gone. It's like the hole you leave in a bucket of water once you pull your finger out of the water. Nothing. You can't see that anything is missing. I returned from my vacation and one of the secretaries serving at the college for 30 years retired. She's gone. Someone new is in her position. What was her name? Haha. I still remember her name, but for how long?
My husband still misses his mom. Don't tell anyone, but... he still talks to her on the phone on his way home from work. He doesn't use the phone, but you know what I mean. This was the time he spoke with her every day near the end of her life. It was their special time. This hole remains in his heart. When my mom passes, I'm sure I'll be the same way. But in the mornings, on my way to work. I'm sure it will take a long time for that hole to fill in, if it ever does.
We give so much to our jobs. So much time. So much energy. So much thought. I know it's important to do your job well and care about your product of work. Of course you should do a good job. Just don't give it all to the job. We use the word "family" so freely these days. "The people I work with are like a family." "He's like a brother to me." "She's a sister to me." This is well and good, but don't replace you actual family with friends and co-workers. Make a genuine connection to your blood family, if at all possible. Don't let petty grievances get between brothers and sisters. Or parents and children. Fight for the relationship with family. I believe it is worth it.