Last Friday, I was surprised to discover that I wasn’t the only one that hated what I do at my workplace. Of course, Friday alone was reason enough to despise my job, as I was made to work through not only my coffee breaks but also lunch break without stop. Alas, I said nothing, after all, I’m not the only one – my superiors too were scrambling at the sudden amount of extra work that seemingly fell from the sky due to poor planning – who am I to complain if managers barely had times for breaks, right?
At the end of the day – after nine hours of continuous work I discovered something not all that shocking.
Mindless chitchat with one of my coworkers had me thinking – why don’t we do anything else with our lives if we hated it this much? I had told him my sentiments, that ‘Sometimes this job makes me feel like this is all I’m good for’ (which I know is simply not true, but after the work marathon my psyche was anything but sound) – my coworker, a man nearing his half century, fell silent for a moment then nodded in agreement. He then told me that he’d considered this job of an ‘in-between’ variety and that he ‘plans’ on doing something else before retirement knocks on his door.
The problem is, he doesn’t know what to do with his life – he says. He says he’d love to do something that interest him, and yet he doesn’t know what that specific thing is, hence this mindless plugging at our current workplace.
Immediately, a few quotes popped up in my head – one from a blog post I’d come across sometimes ago on the subject of neurasthenia (found: source ) the quote: ‘Afraid we can’t do everything, we do nothing.’ rang in my head and then, I thought, perhaps, he, like I had ruminated over the problem until he became paralyzed by the simple fact that life is simply too grand, his potentials were endless (yes, even nearing fifty, I personally see potentials as something that is infinite as long as we’re alive and desire), he could do anything he’d liked if he truly really wanted to – but paradoxically, that feeling of freedom is paralyzing. As for most of our lives, we’re led to believe a structured life involving working until we’re old and gray is rewarding.
Change cannot be immediate: we lack the tools to bring forth immediate change. Among those tools, I concluded courage was the most vital piece of the puzzle: standing alone when everyone else is sitting, be the one to go against the grain as opposed to along with the tide. Courage is something that is diluted daily as we try to appease ourselves with what we have built on shaky foundations. By playing lackluster roles that in essence mean very little to us, we are simply put, waiting for death as time ticks away.
Yet, we all have that something that keeps us there – for my coworker, it is the comfort in knowing his salary is consistent and that as long as he came to work he would be paid. Truer in his case than mine, as the paychecks meant more to him than I. While I could go without it for a few months as long as I swallow my pride and ask my parents for help, a man nearing his fiftieth year has no one to depend on but himself. For me, the reason is less essential, superficial even – as proven by my closet full of premium denim collection that a twenty something year old with my current income really shouldn’t be buying, yet somehow I managed, not because I couldn’t live without them. Rather, they served as a visual reminder that without my job I wouldn’t be enjoying this luxury.
And of course, let’s not forget, Rome was not built in a day and true success is forged by blood and sweat – which bring me to the next point. ‘The trouble is, you think you have time’.
Age aside, what differs me from my coworker? Not a whole lot I don’t think. As we both recognize there’s a major problem yet we haven’t any answers to the solution hence we brew in misery on the daily, indulging in our respective vices (for me, that means acquiring designer fashion pieces to sooth my frustration with life) just to get through the days – and sadly I can see myself in his position should I continue to do what is ‘expected’ and what is ‘safe’. Because here’s another scary thought, while I was doing my spring cleaning around the house yesterday I found my school records, I was astonished but also saddened by my stellar grades back in the day – why? Well first, I’d believed it when society sold me the idea stellar grades paved a bright future and bright futures in my books is a life that I enjoy – a stark contrast to my present reality – I realized I had went along with everything for far too long, my inner voice muffled by white noise of expectations and responsibilities. For far too long, it’d been this way and I’d forgotten how to be happy. Second, it countered my self defeating statement on Friday, ‘this is all I’m good for’ – no, I am worth more than I realize – not in the monetary sense as I am not a commodity, I am a person and my value is not some number following a currency sign. And then I reached the conclusion: life should be measured in experiences – the good, the bad, the awkward.
Precisely at that point, the metaphorical light-bulb went off in my head and a plan is conceived.
To be continued.