Thursday, March 11, 2010

Let's just move to Detroit!

Yesterday I came home from work feeling a little defeated. Why? Because a scant 2-and-a-half months into my new job, I've come to a realization: I cannot stand sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day! Which is what I do! Which, therefore, is the end of the world! I realize that I am just like 98% of the people in this world, but I'm more sensitive than most. Most people can just suck it up and accept their fate, sit at a desk all day and get stuff done. After about two hours of the stuff, my brain starts to freeze up and I find myself perpetually refreshing my Twitter feed, praying for some catastrophic world news or a funny Onion headline to break up the monotony, and beating myself up for being such a worthless sack of crap.

At times it even feels like I can hear myself slowly dying.

I started this job with all the enthusiasm in the world. I know that at 30 I'm way too old for idealism, but I can't help it. Even though I know everything is meaningless, I want to believe in stuff. So I came to work at a non-profit. I help raise the money that keeps this operation afloat. But the youthful (read: delusional) idealism I brought to the job has quickly faded as reality has set in: modern life is absurd and ridiculous and, yes, meaningless. I still believe in being helpful above being a dick, but that's hard to remember when I find myself sitting at my desk at 3 pm fighting the urge to just give up alltogether and stare blankly into space.

So I walk into the house yesterday and find my boyfriend working on a freelance article. Then he starts talking. "Well, today started off strong. I did this, this, and this," he says. "But...then I took an hour-long nap and watched Fletch." I knew he was thinking I'd be horrified by his wasting of time. Mostly I was just horrified at his choice of movies. But as soon as he got out the words "nap" and "Fletch", he started spewing out a very specific list of all the productive stuff, large and small, he'd done as a defense. And I thought, "So, I'm not the only one who feels a little lost at times as to what to do with myself AND beats myself up for it! Sweet!"

I then went on to tell him that I've now decided my dream job is some combination of farmer, professional student and misanthrope. "I've decided that I'm going to stop trying to be a productive member of society!" I declared.

"You do that?"

It would appear not. While I did graduate college in December of 2002, I didn't get a "real job" until, well, January of 2010. I define "real job" as the kind my parents would want me to have--the kind that comes with health insurance and doesn't make people think your child has a drug problem. In other words, not waiting tables or writing for an internet-based business with four employees who all work out of someone's loft in downtown Dallas. My work history is very, let's just say, counter culture. I spent many years thinking that this was somehow causing me misery.

Nope! Turns out I'm just a miserable person! And, hell, if I'm going to be a miserable person, I might as well do something that gives me all the mental and emotional space needed to be miserable without the threat of getting fired!

Today a friend put through a Facebook status update saying that he's comforted when his friends write blogs about how they don't know what they're doing with their lives, either. So, this one's for you, Donald! When I saw that, I thought, "Okay, I get it. EVERYONE, if given the option, would probably be doing something other than what they are doing. EVERYONE has a bit of the old insecurity about what they're doing with their life. Nan, don't blog about this because, at this point, the topic is redundant." I thought that last bit about halfway through this and, quite honestly, don't want to waste the copy. It left me thinking, though, that maybe the key is to accept my fate and just try to focus on the parts of my life that make the drudgery bearable.

But then I think, "Hey, if life really is meaningless, why not go ahead and give this whole misanthropic student farmer thing a try?" If everything is nothing, what have I got to lose?


  1. Accept your fate? Oh no! I use to work for the suit and all. Worst job in my entire life...made me feel as if the walls were closing in. I quit properly after being there for way too long and have not looked back. Now I am a freelance photographer making half of what I did before but loving each day I wake up =)

  2. Oh, trust me, L...this whole professional student thing is totally going to happen. Now I just gotta go plant a tomato plant in my backyard...

    It's nice to know other people don't like this stuff, either. It's funny. I tried the freelance writing thing and found it just stressed me out financially--but, then, I had the discipline of a 25-year-old at the time, so what could I expect? I think I just have to have a new plan on one of the burners at all times in order to feel satisfied. I can see myself doing this job for a while, but forever? Nope. Then, I can't really picture myself doing much of anything forever.

  3. I just went back to waiting tables so that my cubicle would stop sucking the fiction writer out of me. When I graduated a few years ago, I would have never imagined I would be so stoked to be back working in a bar. And I've gotten some considerable criticism over the whole thing. But fuck it. You gotta do what makes you smile, darlin.' :)