But now that I actually do work to live, I realize that back then I was obsessed with relentlessly following the conventional path to achieve the prevailing definition of success: more money, more of this, more of that. As Seinfeld said in the "On the Plane" episode, "More of everything!"
And I got it wrong. Way wrong. I was stressed. Tired. Resentful. Angry. Most of this was never manifested (I think most of my friends and family would tell you I always seemed like a happy guy at that time), but rather was simmering beneath the surface. Suppressed. Ignored. The elephant in the corner I never wanted to admit was there. But growing bigger every day.
Now I realize how big it had grown because I've taken a different path. With the luxury of hindsight, I see now what I had become and I'm thankful I found my way.
Many of you reading this post probably figured out a long time ago what I have finally learned: We've got one chance down here on this earth, and it's silly to waste it in the relentless, dogged pursuit of "more" - unless you are pursuing more of the right things: time with family, time with close friends, time doing things you love.
I still work hard, but I can genuinely say I work to live.