I’ve recently started working in an office. This is a mixed blessing. On one hand I am getting valuable experience and making a fair chunk of much-needed money, on the other I am understanding something soul-crushing about this world that we live in.
My days have become formulaic due to the rigidity of my schedule. I wake up at 7, leave by 7:30, get to work by 8:30, clock out at 4, and get home by 5. By the time I’m home, I’m so tired and worn out I don’t want to do anything but eat some dinner and relax and hit the hay.
And now I understand something so depressing about this world: what I’ve just described is most people’s day to day life. For me, this job is temporary. In six months, I go back to the beer-chugging, reefer-smoking, sleep-till-noon college lifestyle. For everyone else in my office, this job is their life.
And if they have children, there is not a chance that they have any time to themselves. There is only toil and responsibility. They work themselves to the bone to provide. Lord Tennyson illustrates this beautifully, better than I ever could, in his poem The Lotos-Eaters:
“All things have rest: why should we toil alone,
We only toil, who are the first of things,
And make perpetual moan,
Still from one sorrow to another thrown:”
We do this to ourselves because “That’s life.”
Well, I don’t think it has to be. I don’t think a person should spend the only life they have to live doing stuff they don’t care about just to make money. And I suppose that’s why so many people my age stress about their future, because they want to find a job that they love to do.
But I think that’s just a fairytale. I don’t think there is such a job that a person can do for forty or fifty years without growing bitter and hating it. And while there are bound to be exceptions, it’s fair to say that most of us will end up hating the jobs we have.
The question that I’m posing is why? Why do we subject ourselves to such miseries? Why do we waste something as precious and rare as life?
My short time working this job has already made me realize the life I want to lead. I don’t want a white picket and 2.5 children. I don’t want to wake up every morning, throw on my suit and grab my briefcase. I don’t want to kiss my wife on the cheek as I walk out the door, only to come back 8 hours later haggard and a day closer to death.
It may be selfish, but I want to live my life for me. I want to sink my teeth into life and set the world on fire. I realize now that the traditional lifestyle is not for me, that I don’t want to waste my life working. This does not mean that I am never going to work again, but I am certainly not going to let my work get in the way of the life I want to live.
I’m probably crazy for feeling this way, but life is far too short to worry about whether or not you’re crazy.