Barnwell Chapel at Berry CollegeIt was in a litany a few years ago that I first recall hearing the phrase “a good kind of tired.” It caught my attention.

Not all work is enjoyable. Some tasks just have to be done. And most of us, unless pampered throughout life, remember jobs that were mostly dread.

At times we labor only out of need; there are bills to be paid. At other times we find the work of our hands and/or our minds to be gratifying.

A “good kind of tired” comes when stepping back on a Saturday evening and admiring a completed project that was a mess that morning. Or reading something that flows and evokes feelings after staring at a blank screen just hours earlier.

For those who work with their hands vocationally, the good kind of tired often comes from quiet, creative expressions. Conversely, those of us who sit and tap often find joy in breaking a sweat and creating with our hands.

At Berry College, my alma mater, the familiar phrase “worthwhile work well done” speaks to this same issue. About 85 percent of the students work in a variety of on-campus job. It is a wide variety.

Some are skilled positions like the two I held long ago: Putting ice in glasses in the old Ford Dining Hall and opening the front gate at the main entrance to certified students.

Sometimes I hear people say that wake up every day eager and excited about their work. They are probably lying and hoping their bosses hear that sentiment. I can’t imagine anyone enjoying every aspect of every moment of their work — something often said with crossed fingers at retirement.

But there can be great gratification in worthwhile work well done — whether it is one’s vocation or avocation. And there is a big difference in being worn out and in experiencing the good kind of tired.

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