A Friday night evaluation shows me completely disengaged and unmotivated. The boiler firebox is full of cold ash. There are a handful of things I could be doing, projects I could work on, things on a to-do list to knock off, but the fire is out.
A train engine doesn’t serve to drive itself across the landscape; it serves to pull a load, to do work, to carry people, to shuttle rolling stock around the railyard. Without the interaction of the passengers, the customers, the engineers, the brakemen, the switchers, the yard bosses, the engine itself has no reason to move. No reason to shovel the coal, to stoke the fire, to fill the water tanks, to build a head of steam, to open the valves, to roll out.
Without people in my life, without an attachment to a shared goal, without being bound to a duty, there’s no reason to work on my projects; they’re all in service of myself. I need to be in the service of others to have a reason to leave the roundhouse and chug along to the end of the line.