It is 12:03 a.m. and I am lying in bed watching the ceiling fan whirl, wondering, for the 1,458th time, what I am doing with my life. I am wondering how many Monday mornings I have worked through. How many large cups of coffee I have imbibed. How many elevator rides I have endured looking at my shoes, the wall, my cell phone screen or anything else to safeguard me from conversation with the elevator’s other citizen. How many times I have asked, “How was your weekend?” or “What are your holiday plans?” I venture to guess I’ve uttered both phrases combined at least 100 times.
Sometimes, you feel uncomfortably wedged between your current state and the life you’ve always imagined. You look around and see people who are genuinely leading the very life you only dream of and you keep scratching your head wondering how the hell they got there. What is it about their background, their family, their finances, their sheer and utter luck that dealt them a royal flush? Some days all you do is look at a screen for seven, eight, nine consecutive hours, but when you get home, it feels like someone beat you over the head with a metal bat. Your life is damn near flat-lining, the weekends and evenings the only spikes that occur so that you do not require resuscitation.
But, there is more to life than being another cog in the machine.
There is the life you’ve always craved, a masterpiece that you could craft with your own hands if you were not afraid or drowning in student loan debt or a poisonous combination of the two. There is the life that you may have to build slowly, brick by brick, but you better fucking build it. It will not be handed to you on a silver platter complete with the trimmings. It will take more time than you think, more patience than you believe you have, and more work than you ever thought you could produce. But, you will build it. Otherwise, the machine will absorb you and eat you alive.
There is that very thing (not person) that drives you. That feeds you. There is that thing that makes you feel alive and meaningful and just plain good. For me, it’s writing. But, you’re not a blind monkey so you already knew that. I think in blog post titles. I itch to get home and plop myself in the middle of my futon, sweating out my thoughts one word at a time on to the screen. I wake up and think of new sentences. I jot down notes late at night before I go to sleep. Everything else seems periphery; writing is my life’s restoration. Wine is a close second.
If you want more than the insulated existence complete with 2.5 children, a white picket fence, a mate who loves you and a biweekly paycheck, the world will deem you selfish and spoiled. To not feel content with the status quo is to shit on everyone else who lives and breathes the status quo. You are a soured brat, your passions a magnifying glass peering over the chasms in other people’s lives that, perhaps, they never noticed. But, you are no less for wanting more.
It is 12:46 a.m. and I am staring at the ceiling fan whirl. I’ve made my lunch for tomorrow. I’ve ironed my clothes. I’ve fed myself a halfway decent meal and crawled into bed at a halfway decent time so that the 2 p.m. slump does not assassinate me. These are the cog-in-the-machine days. There are the days I grind, feeling like there’s no end in sight. There are the days I am making ends meet, my life’s trials an education in of themselves. But, I know these days will be limited because I will limit them. There is more to life than being another cog in the machine. Maybe I just haven’t found it yet.