I’ve been at work full-time for a year now. I suppose that qualifies as a milestone considering how difficult it was to find a proper job after university – both because of my poor health and because of my decidedly average skills. It was a relief to land a job, not only because having work provided me with a sense of self-worth, but also because it made it possible for me to get out on my own again.
When I moved into an apartment this past April – an apartment within walking distance from my workplace – I was convinced it would make me happier. I thought the trimmed commute, the extra exercise, and the independence would make life more enjoyable. To a small degree they have, but I was, like an idiot, expecting my happiness to be ratcheted up by much larger degree.
Instead, I now find myself mired in a life that feels so trivial. I have a job and I have an apartment and that’s nice and all, but I feel like I’m not working towards anything momentous. Instead I just foresee more triviality. And that’s not because I don’t dream of doing valuable things or having valuable experiences, but because I hardly have the time to do valuable things or have valuable experiences. And while the value of this blog is debatable, writing in my blog is something I enjoy, and I haven’t had the time to even do that in almost two months. That lapse in practice is why this post is rambling and generally crap.
My work itself has its fulfilling moments, and it lets me create some nice things, but I’m not really making the world any better, and I’m not doing anything helps me swim out from a sea of banality.
So I don’t have an ideal job. Fine. Few people do, and I get that. But if my job is just a job, I’d at least like to make better use of my time outside the office to work towards the ideas and beliefs and causes I hold dear. That’s not happening. My evenings are spent picking up freelance assignments to help pay the bills, doing chores around the apartment, and keeping up appearances with people with whom I feel indebted.
Aside from sacrificing needed sleep, how do people juggle so many things in their lives and still seem happy about it? How do people hold down jobs and commute for hours and care for their needy children and go grocery shopping and do the laundry and clean the bathroom and spend time with other people all while still managing to watch and bitch about trite television shows?
And going a step further, how do those people feel happy about having such an unimpressive existence? How do they delude themselves into thinking they’re special? How do they suppress the guilt of not doing more to help the unfortunate individuals who are screwed every day by the world we’ve created? How do they do it? I have no idea.
Maybe my societal mores have hardwired me into thinking that I need to be recognized to be happy. That if you’re not famous, you’re nothing. That Instagram likes and Facebook shares and Twitter followers are the currencies of self-worth. They shouldn’t be, but I often feel as though they are. Not so much because of what they are on the surface, but because of what they represent – influence. The ability to steer the masses, even if only slightly, in a certain direction.
But hell, I’d like it if I had more recognition. I’d like it if people knew of, and appreciated, and were impacted by my work. I’d like it if I had more time to create something, anything, that would help me garner that recognition.
When I was sick and/or recovering from my bowel surgeries, I would think about how great it must be to be “normal.” Now here I am with more of a “normal” life and it just fucking sucks. That’s not to say I long for the days of bloody diarrhea and burning peristomal skin and nasogastic tubes, but this life, one that’s devoid of meaningful impact on the wider world just seems so futile. I can still find happiness in little things, but that shouldn’t mean I have to settle for doing little things for the rest of my life.