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Get To or Got To?


The differences seem subtle yet substantive. Get to. Got to. One reads like a to do list. Feels more like an obligation or a duty to perform. I’m constrained by my schedule. I show up because it told me to. I do it because it reminded me to. It seems a bit rote and mundane. Obligatory. I’ve got to. I don’t have a choice. It’s just my lot in life. A necessary evil. The daily grind. A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. Guess I just have to do it, huh? Have to.


Get to. I get to. You get to. We get to. That not only sounds different, but it also feels different. Rather than compulsion, we have a chance to do something. An opportunity rather than an obligation. A privilege rather than a pain. Something to look forward to rather than be avoided. Something to anticipate, not dread. Get to's are life-giving and replenishing.


Today, I find myself reflecting on the contrasting aspects of our daily lives - things we get to do versus things we've got to do. These two categories represent distinct spheres of our existence.


"Things we get to do" encompass activities that bring us joy, fulfillment, and purpose. These are the kinds of opportunities we embrace and welcome because they are typically driven by our passion and deep interests. Hobbies. Quality time with loved ones. Personal growth endeavors. Exciting adventures. Such moments nourish our souls, invigorate our spirits, and highlight the beautiful aspects of life. Our "get to do's" provide a sense of freedom, choice and empowerment.


On the other hand, "things we've got to do" refer to our responsibilities, obligations, and commitments. These tasks don't necessarily align with our desires or interests but are necessary for our personal and communal functioning. Professional responsibilities. Household chores. Financial management. Exercising or working out. Seeing a counselor. These kinds of activities may not always be as enjoyable as the things we get to do, but they play a critical role in maintaining stability, order, and a sense of measurable progress in our lives.

The contrasting nature of our get to's and got to's highlight the delicate balance we strive to maintain between the two spheres. Too much focus on the things we've got to do can lead to feelings of monotony, stress, and a mechanistic perception of life with little or no sense of personal agency. Conversely, focusing solely on the things we get to do without addressing our obligations can result in negligence of the critically important aspects of our lives and hinder our long-term growth and development. Too much fluff, not enough stuff.


Therefore, it is vital to navigate the two realms consciously and create harmony between them. One is not better or more important than the other. When we prioritize and manage our responsibilities, we can potentially create more space and time for activities we cherish. Moreover, infusing elements of joy, passion, and purpose into our daily obligations can potentially transform the mundane into opportunities for growth. Rather than dreading our have to's, what if we enthusiastically addressed them first in hopes of creating margin for our get to's? Conversely, what if we did our do's with a sense of 'get to' rather than 'have to'?


Got to. Get to. The dichotomy between "things we get to do" and "things we've got to do" reflects the multi-layered nature of our lives. Balancing both aspects allows us to lead fulfilling and balanced lives, embracing the joy of exploration while fulfilling our duties. Attitude and appreciation are critical factors in determining the potential satisfaction received in either sphere. By appreciating the value of each category, we can strive for harmonious existence that nurtures our passions, supports our responsibilities, and contributes to the overall happiness and well-being of ourselves and those with whom we get to experience community.


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