Sandcastles, work and meaning

25 Feb

There’s been a lot of talk lately about sandcastles. About how the things we spend time lovingly creating, like kids on the beach with buckets and spades, could be swept away in the tide one day in the near future.

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Image: Priuschat.com

It can be tempting to play the cynic and say ‘Ah, what’s the point in caring? It doesn’t really matter and it’ll be gone in a year.’ But isn’t that point about it being gone soon true of lots of things that are worth doing?

Everything will be gone, eventually. That’s how life works.

Knowing this, we carry on building, regardless. The certain darkness at the end of it all doesn’t stop us building sandcastles or regular castles or relationships or careers or families or amazing record collections, does it?

There’s meaning everywhere, if you look hard enough or if you create it yourself.

Why should work be any different? We don’t have to look at what we do as a waste of time because of its inevitable demise. We can choose to find meaning in whatever we’re doing. A beautiful sandcastle is still a beautiful sandcastle for a while. You enjoyed making it. At the time, it seemed important to finish it. And even after it’s been kicked down or swept away, people will have memories of that sandcastle. They might have been influenced by the way you arranged your shells, or thought your moat was pretty cool, or admired your daring three-turreted approach, or loved the fact that you really believed a princess was about to move into the castle. It matters. Find out why it matters, and keep creating.

Knowing it may all be washed away tomorrow doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter now.

So what if the sea is coming in to sweep away our sandcastles? I’m not bothered. I’m still going to make those shells into a pretty pattern. I’m still digging the deepest moat I can.

I know the tide is coming in, and I’m okay with that.

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