More Than Enough

I awoke this morning to find myself desirous of infinite wealth. It has never been a need for money that has prompted me to want it, it was always been the desire to appease those less creative and understanding around me who have fallen in love with it and worship before the tree.

I woke up to an email from my insurance company wanting to know about any changes to my living situation. I have always found myself crawling to them each time I make a change because it has always felt like running in circles. My agent has never changed locations and has always been the same person. I, on the other hand, have maintained enough contact with them regarding which car and which apartment and who with that I’ve come to be on a first-name basis. I feel embarrassed by my inability to sit still only because of my accountability to those who do not move. I am offended by my legal obligation to spend more on what could go wrong than the car itself is worth.

It is this very mentality that leaves me wanting more money. I don’t want to buy a bigger house with it, because a bigger house means more to vacuum, and large houses aren’t particularly suited to hide and seek like they should be. I don’t want to buy a yacht, because a yacht is the least adventurous of all the boats, itself being an oversized mansion devoid of sails and anything that the sea should be. I want nothing less than more than enough, to no longer feel as though each person around me is demanding a pound of flesh. I want only to know that sometime before I die, I will have been able to give more than anyone could have ever tried to take.

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Nihilism in the Morning

I should like to suggest we start each day with a touch of nihilism. I find myself most adept at managing my day when I wake up and question my breakfast, what it stands for, who it works for. This starts out as skepticism but turns nihilistic when I realize I have been questioning my breakfast, which, in the end, is futile. I suggest you try it, though. Is your breakfast really attempting to nourish you, or is he really just trying to extend your subsistence, ever dependent on subsidy milk from regulated cows? Then decide how much you care about your subsistence. Believe me, it works.

Next, I’d like you to get into the shower. Not because you need to be clean, but because it feels good. Go dip yourself into what is the most mismanaged renewable resource on our planet for a bit. Let it dampen your hair. Let it tickle your tits, if you’ve got them, and tell me how that feels. I don’t know how it feels and I never will, but at this point in my shower I’ve already decided that doesn’t matter. I want you to ask your body wash what he’s doing in there. I want you to hold him accountable to his sulfates. If he doesn’t talk, squeeze him by the neck a bit, choke some fluids out of him, then bathe in them. Your shampoo, your face wash, your toothpaste, your conditioner – ask them, and yourself, how truly beneficial your relationship is. Ask them why they dress themselves in often-unrecyclable mixed plastics. Tell them you demand answers, then remember that all the while, you’ve just wasted gallons of what some little child just missed out on.

Exit the shower and look at the foggy clock that hangs in your bathroom. Acknowledge to the clock that you have not cared enough about this one to set it completely properly, and confess that it has been ticking a lie. The clock will argue back and say he’s close enough, but you know that he’s two minutes behind, and you account for this every time you look at him, and you get anxious because you know his inaccuracy only serves to further remind you how you wake up ten minutes too late every day.

As you helplessly waste your precious morning moments trying to wipe the dew off of your bathroom mirror, remember that you are looking at yourself much more critically than any of your critics. Your boss will not notice your new lipstick because your boss will barely even notice you unless you wore the right color of lipstick to your interview. Remember that your job doesn’t matter anyway, which is important, because if it were, that would make your boss important. Your boss, however, never talks about his home life at work because it is his greatest misery, and in the vain attempt to be optimistic about life, he has conditioned himself into a luxury sedan that whispers positive messages through an audio system designed to scream. He goes home and cries, just like everyone else. He gets furious about how his employees just don’t get it, much how you get furious about how your boss is so inept. He was staring in the mirror, too, thirty minutes ago, but he gets to work early. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t know what else would make him the boss.

You’ve now managed to toy with the ideas of eating real food, ditching your sulfate shower gels, and not reporting to work, but you know that it is not your best option because Margaret.

Margaret is your favorite coworker because she says funny shit sometimes, the kind of funny shit that could get you fired within minutes, whereas any performance-related shit would take you months to get fired. Margaret is just about to eat her breakfast because she usually eats breakfast right after the shower, but she optimistically has decided a bowl of muesli will keep death away, which is good, because for all the funny shit Margaret says, she will never understand the importance of holding your shower gels accountable, and she will never start her day with a bit of nihilism.

It’s now time for you to get into your car. You loved your car for about the first five weeks of owning, but then started noticing the things that you did not like about it. Car manufacturers know better than to perfect their craft; you don’t know better than to keep buying new ones. Your next-door neighbor has one that is two years newer, which makes you feel inadequate, but he bought his because yours had made him feel inadequate, and this cycle will continue until you move into a neighborhood where everyone’s car is so much nicer than the rest of the world that you don’t care about model years any longer. You are about fifteen minutes behind comfortably arriving with a moment to spare, which means you will pace yourself at that four-miles-per-hour sweet spot where you know you will not get pulled over for speeding, but you have deemed the best way to take more than you deserve from the road. You are still going to arrive later than you should, but Margaret will arrive even later than you, and your boss, who actually was looking at newspaper ads for firearms while drinking his morning coffee, thinks Margaret would be the first head to pop. This gives him a grin he can’t explain, and a guilt that secures her position.

You sit down at your desk, and you know that you will spend the next eight to nine hours working with minimal efficiency, lauding yourself each time you have a gust of productivity. Your productivity will be measured in three months. Your boss will be deeper in his firearm fantasy than any of you will ever know. You know now that you will then know nothing you didn’t know at this point, and you will contemplate going rogue by reading a book or finding a new fitness center to show the world who’s who, to really stick it to the man, to really up the ante on your breakfast cereal, because as a well-conditioned adult, you daydream often and wake up each morning knowing not what you thought for the last six hours of sleep. This leaves you lethargic, and sometimes you even wake up feeling a bit nihilistic.

Book update

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited about life right now. I’ve had an amazing two months off, and even though it’s time to get back to the grind, I’ve gained a more complete appreciation of what I am and what my true strengths are. I don’t have to worry. Nobody needs to worry, really – I’ll be fine, and so will you, if you do what feels right.

I will continue to keep everyone updated here about the progress on my novel, as well. I hope you are as excited as I am.

First draft: [________|____________] 40% complete

Let’s talk about job hunting.

Some company, or a person, has this thing they need done because they’re either not willing to do it, don’t have the time, haven’t figured out how to negate the need thereof, or some combination of them all. Some person, who doesn’t have anything they particularly need to do, and has about 40 hours a week of time that isn’t already claimed by something, prods these people, asking if they can take on the challenge of doing whatever is delegated to them.

Why is this how job hunting should work? The problem I have with this setup is that it doesn’t really do any justice to the applicant, and it’s almost always based off of prior activity as opposed to aptitude. When was the last time you applied for a job because you knew you could do it without feeling automatically disqualified by some statement or generalization made by the employer? It’s a rough job market. That’s a fact. I’d definitely go so far as to say that a lot of the reason it’s a rough market is because we have the system completely backwards.

I’m constantly creative, I’m pretty good at writing, painting, and basically any art form you throw at me. I know that and my friends know it, too. I am in the process of writing a book, like anyone else from Portland – or any other LA immigrant, I suppose. Any time I have ever had a job, which has been most of my life since the middle of high school, I have always felt like I was not properly using my natural aptitudes. I think most people could say this about their job: it isn’t fulfilling. If you’re slaving away on someone else’s terms toward someone else’s dream, how can it be?

I’ve decided that I am going about hunting a different way, this time. I am certain that there is a high likelihood you’ll see a broken, humbled version of me warning you that it wasn’t worth it after all. I don’t care, though, because that version of me is at least one who will have tried a bit harder. I’m not going to work full time (which, in my book, is anything more than 30 hours a week) unless it is something I legitimately have a passion about. By limiting myself to just 30 hours of work or less, I’m guaranteeing myself 10 hours more time each week to work on something that I really care about. In worker’s terms, that’s 1 ½ “shifts” of writing, painting, and drawing, working on my own small business ideas, or anything like that. Gone will be the excuse of feeling overworked, right? I hope so.

It strikes me as odd that the worker bee mentality is the one that is so prevalent. We have somehow been conditioned to fear the lack of a steady job. The price of a steady job is, in my mind, quite a bit higher than the price of trying maybe just a bit harder at doing what you love as much as possible. I know, personally, that I would not be happy looking back on my life and seeing a lifelong pattern of slowly gaining at a rate determined by someone above me.

I think the moral of all of this is to know your own worth. Not everyone has a vigilante streak like I do. I also know that if anything I ever really want to do were to take off, at some point, I’d have to find my own worker bees. Just remember: if you aren’t going to be proud of it later, then don’t do it now.