January 9th, 2016 by Jan

I’ve been looking back at old scribbles and half written stories. I want to continue to write something and was looking for inspiration.

I found one story written in 2009, that as odd as it sounds, is quite relevant to my story today. so, with a little massage, this story proves the point that the more things change the more they stay the same. Or could it be … I haven’t changed a bit.

This story starts the same way so many of my stories do… It begins with the words, Years ago…

Years ago, I worked at a newspaper.

I was a journeyman pressman and ran huge offset presses. I printed the morning newspaper in small Colorado, Oklahoma, and Kansas towns. At the end of my shift I would clocked out and take a paper home with me. The newspaper was proof of my daily labour and very often my reward for the nights work.

It was a short lived benefit though; by the next day the paper was landfill. I would go to work again, repete the process, and created another newspaper. The work was routine, the paper looked more or less the same each day and yet, was always little different. It was good, production work.

Today I look at production with different eyes. These days I rarely have anything tangible to show for the work I do.

This brings me to the discovery I made yesterday while reading some old notes. I saw a definition describing Qigong that I hadn’t known before. (don’t ask me how it got in my notes) Usually, I define Qigong as two words; qi and gong. Qi= energy, breath, vitality and gong, meaning work. I think this is clear, simple and true enough so that people who are just this side of interested can grasp the concept.

In my old notes, I read that the Chinese character for ‘gong’ combines the words “productive labour” and “strength”.

Right now it may look like the way I spend my day is lacking in productive labour.

Retirement suits me. I spend most of my day reading, walking, looking out the window, and sometimes I’m in the kitchen cooking or in the sewing room cutting up fabric.

It is amazing how just these few activities can swallow up a day. Before I know it, I’m brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed. This is also when I reflect back over my day. I question the use of my time. Was I productive, did I made any kind of difference in my life or the life of others?

Most days my answer is no.

My gong is not a tangible product right now. I don’t mind. Qi gong, reading gong, walking gong, sewing gong, laughing gong, have always satisfied any need I’ve have for productive labour.

I am again convinced that a purposeful life is over rated. I am quite content.

Unlike yesterdays newspaper, the way I spend my day has no place in the landfill.

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