Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body. —Seneca
Happy Labor Day!
You may not realize this, but the very first Labor Day Parade was not a national holiday—it was a strike. In 1882, many American workers were toiling for twelve hours a day, seven days a week in physically demanding, often unsafe conditions.
In response, organizers held a parade in New York City. Over ten thousand tradespeople marched from New York’s City Hall to an uptown park, where they held a picnic.
It Still Didn’t Become A Holiday….
It took another twelve years of parades, strikes, and conflict between workers and police officers for Grover Cleveland to name Labor Day a national holiday.
The activists and workers of the labor movement gave us something invaluable—the one commodity that no one has found a way to manufacture more of: time. We now have leisure time to pursue our passions. Of course, many of us wish we had more—much more! But twelve hours a day, seven days a week of physical labor would make writing (and even tidying the kitchen) virtually impossible for most of us.
Of course, for some of us, writing is our labor. Recognizing that we’re lucky to do this work doesn’t mean that it isn’t challenging, isolating, or intimidating. It can be all of those things. But it can also be fulfilling, meaningful, and enriching, and it can make the world a more connected, loving place. We are lucky to do this work.
I hope you have a wonderful Labor Day! Here’s to another year of gratifying work.