I bet no one else experiences mental rumbles caused by all the stuff surrounding holidays. Reheard an old saying from my errant (lazy?) youth: Hard work is its own reward. Hmmm. I do not like sweating, or boredom. Hard work sounds like both.

One thought emerged from the morass, What is Reward/What is Pleasure? Are they the same, dressed in different clothes? I choose to ignore Work. For the moment.

Turns out Reward is rooted in old German meaning to regard or look at, watch over. Kind of like the word, tend; as in to tend a house or garden. Modern usage refers to Reward as a return or result from some behavior or action. It often infers monetary compensation for special services.

Let’s put all that in the word cauldron. Stir, while heating to a low boil. Simmer until a coherent idea glosses the top of the liquid. Pour into a shallow container and let sit until it congeals.

Wait, no, I’m mixing up images, again. One of these days, cooking will stay in cooking, knitting will stay in knitting and words, well, let’s just say, mental and oral vocalizations will Know Their Place. Or not. Rather like well rested toddlers, they imagine their place to be Out Here. See how they hijacked a perfectly reasonable discussion? Heavy, heavy sigh.

Back to the issue. It was here a moment ago, right in the middle of my desk. Once I move the Christmas cookies/candy/gift list…ah, ha. There it is.

Reward. A result of action. And most people see reward as a good thing. It gratifies, satisfies deeper than a momentary impulse. So the satisfaction I get from knitting a cap for a grandchild is a reward for me. Seeing the yarn go from a simple ball to something the kid desires is fun for both of us. And I get the pleasure of seeing him wear the cap.

Painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling had to be the biggest pain, physically and mentally for Michelangelo. But the end result, gratifying in a huge way. So even grand art, or composing or any of the art forms requires work. Hmmm.

What I think of as mundane, boring actions are only mundane in the moment or the result? I know that in knitting, reading, the stuff I enjoy but I learned to enjoy those things because I wanted the sweater or how the story ended or the information on how to do something.

Hmmm. There’s a funny little conflict arising. Sort of like raisins you thought were chocolate chips, in a cookie. Why does no one warn me of this? My tongue was set for chocolate and this was, aaauuuugggghhhhh, not chocolate!

So, work Can be its own reward? But, wait a minute, everything in my culture argues not so! Live for the weekend, do as little as possible, if it’s not fun, don’t do it. That other stuff isn’t my job anyway. I don’t do dishes or windows or vacuum. It’s boring.

Sorry. That last rant was a replay of an overheard conversation. Somewhere. Will have to chew on the Reward thing. Buried in this idea is how a Reward works internally so I feel good about myself. It nourishes rather than demands feeding. I feel a good bit of contemplation and experimentation coming on.

Or a nap. Whichever comes first.

 

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