Vail Daily Editor Don Rogers: A ham and egg question |

Vail Daily Editor Don Rogers: A ham and egg question

Don Rogers
Vail, CO, Colorado

So, do you work to live or live to work? It’s an important distinction, a philosophy for life.

A lucky – or unlucky – few dodge this question entirely. They do neither. They never had to work for a living and so never confronted the question. Or maybe the fact of not working puts them in the camp of “work to live” since living for work would tend to carry past that need to earn a paycheck.

I’m accused sometimes of living

to work. The impolite term is


I’m not so sure about that, though. It’s not work I’m addicted to. It’s more that I chose work with a higher purpose for me. It’s all about the mission, not the habit.

If not consumed with the role, I’m sure I’d be firmly in the other camp.

I’d be a snowboarder or maybe a writer who holds a day job to make it work.

Or a father and husband who does what he must to support the family. Wait a minute. That’s exactly what I am.

Only I’m not grinding out what I have to do, not by a long shot. I was lucky – or unlucky – enough to have real dedication to firefighting and later journalism, which surprisingly can be a lot alike in some key ways.

Turns out I’m smart enough to pursue passions and dumb enough not to consider that other pursuits pay a little better.

No quarrels with the folks who go for the job that provides the best living, even if they aren’t so enamored with the work. They probably are better balanced than I am, for starters. Maybe they have more fun with bigger homes, longer vacations and time for their pursuits outside of work.

I just don’t have that life where there’s a separation. The work informs my personal life, and the personal life ties back to my work, my calling. I’m told I can get a little carried away with this. (Usually by the missus.)

It used to be, before firefighting and journalism, that I was a sailor and surfer who tended bar in Waikiki to pay the bills and make my “real” life possible.

And that has to be the difference. Are you a skier or, say, community-service advocate supported by that bill-paying job, or are these sidelines from your real purpose, that career?

It works for me to have it all in one. I feel lucky seeing friends whose work does not satisfy, even as it produces the means for them to quest in other directions. If only they weren’t so tuckered out or dispirited from work.

Others just have a great balance even if the career leg isn’t their No. 1 passion. I envy them even though I don’t quite understand how that works.

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