Monday, November 21, 2016

Work, Life and the Pursuit of Happiness

This past weekend, I watched the documentary film "The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness." The film centers around director Hayao Miyazaki, as well as the goings-on at Studio Ghibli during the production of two animated features: "The Princess Kaguya" and "The Wind Rises."

While I found the inner workings of Studio Ghibli fascinating, the most interesting parts of the documentary by far are Hayao Miyazaki's views. At one point, he spoke about how he didn't believe that one's own happiness should be the goal that people aim to achieve. He talked about how filmmaking was tedious, implying that it didn't in fact make him happy. If that is the case, then why does he continue to make films? Why does his most recent retirement statement start with the sentence "I hope to be working for 10 more years"? (He has since announced that he is coming out of retirement again to work on another feature-length film.)

Hayao Miyazaki really got me thinking about my own happiness. I have a great family, wonderful friends, and many activities that I enjoy doing. I also have a job that allows me to live comfortably.

The part about my job is what puzzles me. I don't really have an idea of what my "dream job" would be exactly, but I can say that what I do now isn't it (at least not yet). Is that okay though, as long as I can do the job well, and as long as it lets me live the life I want to live outside of work? Or, should I be striving for something more? How important should my career be to my overall happiness?

I attended a conference recently where a speaker talked about how work and life shouldn't be separate since work is a part of life. I understood what he meant, but I find it important to have a clear line of separation between the two. When the work day is done, I turn my computer off and leave it at the office, and I don't check my email when I'm home. Perhaps if my career became an added source of happiness in my life, I wouldn't feel so strongly about keeping work and home life apart.

I am, however, quite fond of the separation. Maybe what I have now is enough.

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