I’m not sure if it was a moment of clarity or partial insanity.
One particular afternoon, I snapped. It had been building up for a while, but before long, I decided to quit working at an office desk. And I had a pretty nice desk, in a funky office, in the area of town I always wanted to work in. How I manifested that is a story all on it’s own. It was exactly what I had wanted at the time. But, no matter how many times my title changed over the years, along with my jobs, or how many new computers or new programs I received – I wasn’t happy. How couldn’t I be? Isn’t this what I had worked tirelessly for? But, one afternoon, I decided to give up what I had identified my Self with for so long.
Or, was it my Ego I identified with?
For the last decade or so, having two computer monitors, a decent online presence, and important meetings all day, made me feel like I WAS something. Status, status! I want STATUS!!!! Also, I want something cool to put in my Twitter profile description.
This is in no reference to my previous gig, from which I was able to build my skill set, vastly improve my writing, work under pressure and inherit a whole bunch of fond memories and friendships. Really, I can say that about most of my positions over the last decade or so. Wow, I’m getting old.
But, slowly but surely, the monotony of sitting at a desk, staring at a screen on a time frame dictated by the rest of society started to pick away at my soul. My mind felt like it was in a cage. Not to mention, having a dollar value attached to you – which, for the most part, stays the same no matter how many extra hours you have to put in. If you’ve lucked out, it might be a good number, but for most – it’s enough to keep you coming back because the alternative looks pretty bleak or is bound to be way outside your comfort zone.
I felt like I was sitting life away, staring into a glowing screen on the hopes that one day when I’m 85 I *might* be able to retire and enjoy the fruits of my labor by taking my withered up body on a nice long vacation and have some fun for the last of my years. That’s if my vision isn’t totally shot from staring at a computer. We call that, “security”.
Fuck security. The only thing secure in life, is death – and in between, well anything can happen. Trying to make it from one pay check to the next (where the numbers are always the same) without any major catastrophe happening in between to mess up my ‘system’, is probably the least secure thing I have done.
Side note… It’s no wonder why we have so many health issues – most of us are down with the sickness of being sedentary. I began thinking about how I sit in my car to get to work. There’s always the bike, of course – although somehow I always end up in poison ivy on that thing.
That’s followed by sitting at a desk in an enclosed space for eight hours with a few five minute walks and several bathroom breaks. By the time 5pm hits – your exhausted and just want to sit on the patio with a glass of wine. Or sit on the couch and turn off your brain by staring at another glowing screen. But, before you do that, some make sure to hit the gym for an hour (which does zero for offsetting all the terrible things that happen to your body from the other 16+ hours spent sleeping and sitting).
I would crave to work on my own artsy endeavors because it feeds my soul – but the last thing I would want to do after thinking and brainstorming and writing and sitting and answering emails all day is more of the same. I didn’t want to use my brain, for anything. I couldn’t find the creative space in my mind either, because I exhausted it all drafting up a last minute report and I was too worried about prepping for tomorrow’s meeting.
I couldn’t do it, anymore. Done. Finished. So, I decided to do something else. What? I really didn’t have a clue. I just knew what I couldn’t do.
I was offered some physical labour in the construction field with an opportunity to earn based on the amount of work I did. I would be self employed. I was completely freaked out by the idea of working in a male dominated environment. I had been doing the same routine of walking into a room and sitting for the last decade or two (if you include school)… and I really didn’t think I could hack doing anything different. Even though my soul was uncomfortable, being in an office was my comfort zone. No sick days? No holiday pay? Just me, working for me?! No high heels? No dress pants? No skirts? No fancy bathrooms? No refrigerator? Being covered in dust all day?!
But, I also started to wonder what it would be like to learn some practical skills. Up until now, the bulk of my knowledge consists of knowing how to do things with the use of technology. If I ended up in the middle of nowhere and had to figure shit out without the use of Google, I would be, well – screwed.
So, with MUCH hesitation, I decided to do it.
Do I love it? No.
There are a number of things I have noticed, that I do love. Despite feeling physically tired at the end of the day, I could feel myself having more energy. Being able to see tangible, physical results, I found myself feeling a sense of personal satisfaction. On the mental side, I started to feel significantly less stressed. Even my dreams became much more vivid and frequent. It felt like my mind entered a heavy duty detox. Undoubtedly, the greatest part, is the ability to create my own hours and leave when the work is done – taking none of it home with me.
And the other greatest part? After a day of work and moving my body, there is nothing like sitting down with a glass of wine on the patio and brainstorming some creative ideas. This has also allowed me to still stay in my field of writing – on a freelance basis – and also for my own personal endeavors.
Maybe, just maybe, I decided to regain everything I had worked for.
Maybe everything that you want is on the other side of comfort.