What was your first thought this morning? If you are like most people you were mumbling about it almost being Friday and how you can’t wait for your day to be over so that you can be done with work and one step closer to your day off. If you’re like most your grumbling and sassing your way through a crappy day of work just wishing yourself closer to death.
I remember the first time I realized that. It was about 15 years ago and I was working some customer service job watching the clock tick away. I was wishing those moments would disappear so that I may get on to something really important… like going home and watching TV.. yup.. my life was exciting. I couldn’t wait to get out of my own life and go watch someone else pretend to have a more entertaining life than I did.
Wow.. how pathetic is that when I say it out loud?
It has always amazed me the things that people are willing to put up with out of convenience. It has also amazed me how miserable people can feel over minor inconveniences. Some people have hard labor jobs, they are cleaning, or building, or hauling.. they work their bodies to the extreme and run themselves ragged for very little money. Other’s have boring jobs in which they sit at a desk all day and work with computers and talk to people and they make very little money… both spend their lives complaining about the pitfalls of their jobs, both are exhausted at the end of the day… both wish they could do anything else.
Then there are others who work hard labor jobs, they are cleaners, or builders.. they love being active, they love their accomplishments, they love creating or conceiving what ever it is that they do. They don’t care how much money they make because they are happy that they get to work moving their bodies and feeling as though they have made a difference. Other’s sit at a desk in an office working on a computer and talking to people all day and feel privileged that they don’t have to do labor, that they get to be in climate controlled environment and don’t have to break their back to earn a paycheck.. some even feel as though their work has merit and meaning.
Our lives have become a competition, not of who is the most successful, but of who has the most to bitch about. We create more and more conflicts in our lives so that we have something to talk about, something to one up another. “Oh, you hate your job? Well, I got laid off, at least you have a job”.. “Oh, your husband doesn’t help around the house.. mine cheated on me” and so on. We get ourselves into drama or monotony just so we can banter and whine.
When I asked myself why I stayed at the job where I was counting away minutes till my death I had basic reasons.. it paid, adequately, I had friends there, it was easier than getting something else. And there you have it. Complacency. It’s easier to be miserable and commiserate with other miserable people than it was to make a change.
That is not how I wanted to live my life. That is not how I wanted to waste the 50 or so years I had left on this planet. I looked around at all the friends around me and I wondered how any of them would actually feel if I started to succeed. Would they be happy for me or would they be resentful if I broke the chain and made something of myself… and if they wouldn’t be completely ecstatic for me.. were they worth me being miserable to keep them?
If in order to keep the life I had and be with the people that I had come to call my friends I had to slowly wish my life away was any of it worth it? Was it really so scary to write up a resume, to call for an interview, to make a change? Was stagnation really the best that I could hope for in life? Mediocrity. Relationships without compassion. A career without excitement. A life without passion.
I decided right there and then that I would never stare at the clock and wish for me to be 15 mins closer to death. I have had struggles in my life since that moment. I have had major losses and unemployment and even loneliness at times, but I have never once felt like I was settling. I have never once felt like I wasn’t working on making the life that I want and the life that I deserve. Of course nothing is ever perfect and nothing is ever easy.. but it can’t be great without risk.. and it can’t be amazing without abandon.