Loving the drudgery? A debate.

20 Jul

This article is part of the series “31 blogs in 31 days” during July 2017 on howtofab.com.

“The test of a vocation is the love for the drudgery it involves”

(Logan Pearsall Smith)

I recently stumbled across this quote and it has since been going around in my head. Instinctively, I agreed with it, but then a question mark kept appearing. Do I really agree with it? Is it also applicable to other areas in life – relationships for example? Is it more true in one case than in another?

What this quote seems to imply and what I would support is the statement that it’s easy to love the good, fresh and exciting in something, and that’s it’s much harder to find love for the mundane, boring and everyday. That seems true as a general statement and also with a view to work and love. The thrill of a first day at work / first date seems much more appealing than fighting through the daily flood of emails / doing the laundry.

But what is this “test” about? Am I testing capability, suitability or lovability? Am I only really fit for something (or is something only really fit for me) if I love absolutely everything about it – also and especially the not-so-great stuff? I’d say no to that. In romantic relationships, the love factor of course plays an important role – but do I have to LOVE doing the laundry, washing the dishes, visiting unpopular in-laws or making the bed – what I would call the drudgery of a relationship? I can certainly find pleasure in some of them and I can LOVE the result, but the process? And at work, do I really have to LOVE everything or actually even anything about my job? Research tells us that we are better at things when we enjoy them and the more we enjoy, the easier we can get ourselves through the other bits. Of course, if we like the people we work with, it’s easier to get out of bed in the morning. But LOVING them…? I’d even go as far as to say if we seek to love also the bad bits, we are putting ourselves on a path to potential misery.

If Mr Smith didn’t really mean LOVE but ACCEPT or FIND SOMETHING JOYFUL instead, then I would agree with him. There always is an element of drudgery at work or at home and we can’t reframe absolutely everything into something positive. Why would we? What’s wrong with finding some things in life boring, annoying or plain stupid? If I expect to LOVE the drudgery, in the literal meaning of the word, I will either get disappointed or I will start to disconnect from my actual feelings. Some things in life are ok at best – and I think that’s ok. We love some things despite other things – and I think that’s ok. Accepting and finding something positive in things we don’t naturally enjoy, is already a big step for many people and in many situations. But I don’t think that “the test of a vocation” has failed if I don’t love the drudgery. The same with relationships – it can still be magical, wonderful and totally right even if there are a few things that drive me up the wall. And that drive the other person up the wall. Surely, the positive should overall be more prominent than the negative – but if we don’t have any negatives / mundane / boring / drudgery, we may find it a lot harder to actually find the positives and the excitement.

Picture: Geisteskerker via Pixabay / CC0



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