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Work, Episode 1

Somewhere in the back of my mind I still remember the things that I used to do. Improv, play music, paint. These things have been replaced by… well I’m not really sure. My time just disappears. I go to work at 9, stay until 6 and find that the rest of the evening flashes by my face so quickly that it seems that I have no life outside of my work. I’m kind of confused how this has all happened. When did my professional life eat away at my personal life and how could I have let it happen?

So, I’m putting together a powerpoint presentation of ways I can get back to the things I love.

I’ll have it on your desk by Monday.

5 replies on “Work, Episode 1”

TUTT post 20051018

I remember when I was much younger, and way more “Damn The Man”, if you will… I used to tell mysef that I’d never become “One Of Them”.

They seemed so dead inside. I was quite opinionated and very judgemental. I could never imagine myself working a 9-5, and leave behind the life I had. I thought I’d just make my art, do theatre (and hopefully music someday) and pursue anything else that slipped in to my mindspace. I felt like I had to be true to myself or die. It never even felt like a choice, it was just something that I knew inside.

Fast forward ten years, I’m ALMOST 30 (29 to be exact) and I’ve been working 9-5’s (well more like 8am to 7pm and OnCall24/7 to the network) for what seems like an eternity. It all started out with a sllghtly artistic role, but quickly turned in to straight up network support. I felt like a sell-out. Ultimately my ninja-style computer/network kung-fu skills propelled me in to a career that I began to really enjoy. It was/is challenging, but very demanding. It was something I seemingly just stumbled in to, but being that I grew up surrounded by technology, and had a thirst to learn, I was well suited for this work, and I quickly realized that.

I used to try to justify my long hours and demanding job by telling myself that it helped fund the things I love, like art and music, etc… but many years went by and I never touched that stuff. It’s funny how back when I didn’t have money for supplies for my interests I still pursued them with such passion and always found a way, but once I had an income (and a disposable income at that) I couldn’t find the time or energy to pursue these things.

This killed me for years. I pushed it all back and pretended like it didn’t bother me but it came out in terrible ways, and always hung over me like a dark cloud in an otherwise sunny world. I was miserable for years because I felt like I had nothing left in me after putting in those crazy hours and pounding my brain at my job.

It was only recently, as in the last few years, that I’ve really started to pursue these things again. I stopped feeling sorry for myself, because I really do have a great job. I started to realize that I love what I do, but I don’t really do what I love. It took way more than it should have for me to make a turnaround, but I am still trying to this day. It’s a delicate balance, but one that I have to manage for myself.

I remember little things, little bits and pieces of ideas, thoughts and opinions that people told me over the years that relate to this topic. Specifically I remember something from a guy I met on the first day of my stint with a travelling improv group. We were all sitting in a circle, facing each other, and we were asked to introduce ourselves to each other. The leader of this group told us all to reveal something about ourselves. We went around this circle and one by one we all introduced ourselves, and shared something about ourselves. I remember I was last and right before me this guy Rhen, who was in his 30’s (which was a sharp contrast to me, who was about 16 or 17 at the time.)

He said something like this: “Hello, my name is Rhen, and I hate myself. I’m 30(something) and I’ve wasted my entire life. I always wanted to pursue acting and performance but I found myself working, partying, and hiding from my own desires. This has ruined my life. From this day forward I’ll never betray myself again. I’d rather die.”

This stuck with me through all these years. Today It probably seems very melodramatic, and even hokey to some people, but at 16 years old, something like that hits you hard. Almost 15 years later I still think of him, and the look on his face when he was telling us all this.

I knew that I wasn’t listening to my heart for so many years. I ignored it and silenced it with drinking and what-not. What I now know today, after cleaning up and waking up, is life is a series of choices. Everything we do or don’t do is a choice. If I choose to work and not pursue my own interests, I’m choosing to hurt myself. Ultimately you answer to your own heart and voice in your head. What will I end up with if I don’t listen to my heart? I’ll end up sad and full of self-hatred.

There’s no way I could choose to be miserable again. I spend practically all my free time working on music and art now. I use my Mac like it’s my gateway in to the creative world. I record music, create things, and I’m constantly inspired. I find it hard to unwind after work, so everyday I get up couple hours early so I can spend time working on music and what-not. It’s “Jackson” time, if you will. I use it to explore the things I love, but obviously don’t have time to do during the day.

Unfortunately this morning I spent too much time reading music blogs and listening to podcasts. I was going to work on a song that I started last night, but alas, I’ve spent my time writing these silly words.

I understand where you’re coming from. Maybe my story sounds too much to relate to, but rest assured, there’s plenty of people with the same internal conflict. Unfortunately I suspsect that the percentage of people who listen to their heart and pursue their interests is much lower than it should be. I just can’t imagine throwing away all my dreams for a nine to five.

Miserable,

Thank you so much, not for only taking the time to write that, but also putting into words much of my feelings.

While I am strapped for time, I am pursuing things I love as well. It's just that my balance is off and I need a vacation… I am booked every evening, or so it seems. People have to arrange diner dates with me a month ahead of time to get near my schedule. I need more "me" time as new age-y as that sounds.

I feel like a high flying executive, but I'm not.

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