Well, of course, I don't want my life to be defined by my job...but that is not what I mean.
At my office, most of us are compelled - or at least committed - to line up our "to do" lists, and then work through them methodically. At the end of the day, our goal is to have removed those items into the "done" pile, and begin to build a new "to do" list for the next day. That is what is expected of us, that is what we are paid for, that is what a day at the office is all about.
Life is not like that. I have seen so many people (and I have done it myself) try to line up the "to do" lists of life...and work through it methodically.
It just does not happen that way. "Jurassic Park" the movie has a central theme - "life happens." Chaos is lurking in each and every moment, waiting to take our finely tuned plans and our "to do" lists and turn them into butterflies flapping their wings in an electric storm.
But that is still not what I mean. The "day at the office" mentality causes a type of soul lethargy. So many go around with the feeling that they can't get around to the stuff they really want or have a passion to do, because they have to tick off the "to do" list of things they are responsible for. They view life as "work" - or at least as a day at the office. Here's my list of "to do" things that have to get done before I go home...I get paid to do them, I will be evaluated on whether or not I do them and how I do them, and my job and my future depend on my doing these things.
I guess, at the most primitive level, that is what work is all about (though I think we can change our thinking about work as well). But certainly, life is not like a day at the office. Not only only does chaos intervene, but so does choice and serendipity.
You will never, ever, ever get your "to do" list of responsible things done - so don't put off your dream list, or your passionate purpose, until the day's end. Being able to pursue your dream and live your passion is not your reward for doing all of your chores. Not at all! You are alive to pursue your dream, live your passion...not do chores. You were not created to be a chore machine. OK, yes, chores come with life...someone has to clean the toilet and wash the clothes.
But don't put your soul in a catatonic state by saying..."I can't live my dream until I do the laundry." There will always be laundry, there will always be dust, there will always be chores...and hiding where you can't see it, chaos waits to make a grand entrance.
Live your dream and pursue your passion...and do the chores when you can. If your "responsibility to do list" stays uncompleted, or grows...it's OK. You can let go alot of those things, and let them return to the natural state. For example, dust will always win. You dust and wipe and clean...and it will come back. It's everywhere, and when you die, not only will it still be there, you will become part of it!
Don't let dust get in the way of the pursuit of your dream. Don't say things like "OK, I will take a walk and learn photography and paint a picture and travel a trail...after I win the battle against dust."
My recommendation is to leave your "to do" list and that way of thinking at the office. In such an environment, that may be a good operational modality. But leave it there. Let your life be about your dreams, your passion, your soul.
Life is not a day at the office. Thank God!