Some time ago, I wrote a post about how I’d realised that I had been using music a way of hiding my true emotions. I also wrote one about having a strong work ethic, which I attributed to my upbringing.
Maybe I’ve been looking at things wrongly, and the first post holds a clue to the second. Just as music helped me deal with my emotions when I was a teenager and beyond, what if work did the same?
Thinking about it, why would I be so happy doing 80-plus hours a week if not to avoid thinking about things, or to avoid being at home? Why did I spend summers in a different country to my parents? Was it to learn how to be independent and to sample different ways of life, as has been discussed at length at home? Or was it to enable me to deal with (rather, that should be avoid) what I now know are negative influences?
When I was older, and married, I used to put in long weeks, often working 15 hours a day, 6 or 7 days a week. When I realised that was physically bad for me (and, to a lesser extent, my relationship) I did something about it. (Admittedly it was my ex who pointed out how that level of work was affecting our marriage and my health.) But was I working ridiculous hours in those days because I was subconsciously unhappy in my relationship?
Is this just a version of the fight or flight response, where throwing yourself into work becomes “flight”? Did I really develop a powerful work ethic through the example my parents set, or did I develop it in order to spend less time at home? As I get older, I’m tending to think it is the latter.