The Most Unforgettable Sentence Of My Life

Are We Working to Live or Living to Work?

Sonia Chauhan

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-sitting-on-chair-while-leaning-on-laptop-3791136/

Back in 2011, at my first job, I was a mad worker. High heels and pencil skirts. All nighters and desk dinners. Weekend work and team huddles. I did it all and I loved it all.

Or did I?

I guess I never really thought about whether I loved my life as a corporate employee. I just followed the path laid out for an above-average college graduate.

I used to feel like I was a part of a certain corporation. The office, my desk, my computer, my CISCO phone — everything felt like an extension of myself. It was where I spent most of my days. For years, I did that. And for years, I felt a real camaraderie with my corporation. Like I was a part of something bigger than myself.

I was in the middle of leading this massive project. We’d been working for two weeks without a break. So, one morning, I walked up to a colleague’s desk. He looked very chirpy and fresh. And somehow, looking at him, I just sort of felt a bit jealous of his relaxed aura.

He patted my arm. “Busy, eh?”

I creaked my neck. “You don’t know. It’s crazy over there.”

“Hmmm,” he gave a gentle smile. A mysterious smile.

“Why’re you smiling like that?” I asked.

His smile widened.

He said to me, “Imagine you get up from your desk and walk out of this building. And you never come back. Do you think all of this matters?

Years later, I handed in my resignation.

The boss still wanted me to come in over during the weekend and work. She called and pleaded with me that it was an urgent project.

I politely refused.

Without saying a word, she hung up on me. This was a company where I’d worked tirelessly for years.

I sat on my bed, feeling a bit guilty. My colleague’s words rang in my ears.

It took me ten years to realize the essence of that question.

If I walk away right now, would it still matter?

Because if it doesn’t, why am I still doing it?

I need to leave and go do something that truly matters. To me.

I use this analogy for everything I invest my time in. When I’m fretting over that perfect cup of tea. When I meditate for 15 minutes before I write.

I do it so when I finally leave the Earth, I’ll go with the satisfaction that I made meaning while I lasted.

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Sonia Chauhan

I eat diamonds for breakfast | Corporate Lawyer | TW - Quora | Author - THIS MAZE OF MIRRORS (Amazon Pen To Publish Awards 2022)