This morning I saw my friend Walt on the bus going to work and had a great little chat. For anyone reading this who doesn't know Walt, a diving accident at age 17 left him paralyzed from the neck down, so he gets around in a state-of-the-art tube-powered wheelchair, and he and his wife Wendy have two adopted children from China. They are a wonderful family with great strength and faith, and they're very inspiring people.
Today Walt said something which didn't really resonate with me until I got off the bus at the end of the day coming home...just sort of hit me. I had asked him how work was going (which is something guys always ask each other for some reason), and he admitted there were some awkward changes going on with social workers and the government, etc....but he topped it off with "that job's been a gift for 20 years." Now I've had moments when my job at the school seems unfulfilling and thought to myself how I wish I could do something full-time that would help me grow more as an artist and use my talents more, like working in animation or as a full-time writer, or something. But wise sages like my wife and pastor have often helped me to remember to appreciate the opportunities that my job does give me, and rightly so. But this time, just the way Walt worded it, about a job as a "gift" just resonated with me in a different key. Before too long it will be 10 years of my life I've spent at VanArts, and by staying there, I've been able to travel, meet famous animators & historians who I admire, get married and start a family, and still make films, write books, and animate by freelance on occasion! So it's a pretty good trade-off for some of the stress I've had to deal with at work at times. Like any gift worth having, you take the good with the bad, and things always change and grow into different opportunities worth waiting for. I may not always feel that way, because feelings change depending on how you roll out of bed. But these feelings of gratitude always tend to blossom after those periods of whining...it's the way of the world.
So I leave you with that little morsel of soul munchies, in whatever you do as your daily grind, try thinking of it as a gift and see how it changes your perspective.