From where I sit.

Posted: March 9, 2005 in Headspace, Journal, work

I’m sitting next to the open window in the living room. Something smells strongly of Sweet Tarts.

I stayed home today to work on my research paper. Yes, I did work on it all day, and yes, I got pretty far along with it. I’m finding out some pretty darned interesting stuff about modern-day piracy, and I’m reading “Dangerous Waters: Modern Piracy and Terror on the High Seas”. Outline: done. Layout: done. Introductory paragraphs: done. References from several reliable sources: done. I’m hoping to get this done during the next week – it’s not due until March 30th, but I’d rather have it out of the way early.

I even did a few hours of work-work. My manager sent the organizational change announcement about my departure, and a few folks wished me luck. Frankly, it’s not like I was ever indispensable to the department, so I doubt they’ll miss me at all.

(Calvin just sat down next to me and told me the Sweet Tart smell is citrus blossoms. Being a Maine girl, I wouldn’t readily recognize something like that.)

I’m starting my new position in a few weeks, and I’m really looking forward to it – which is a strange feeling, because it’s been a long time since I’ve looked forward to anything work-related. My office will be physically moving, as well, which will give me the much-needed impetus to clean out the vast amount of files that nobody has any use for anymore. And will give me a full break from my past position, which will be required to stem the, “Well, but you used to work on this…” kind of drive-by requests.

I hate packing and moving, though. This will be the (counting) seventh (I think) move I’ve had to do since starting at AcronymCo, almost ten years ago. I’m hoping to keep my “stuff” down to one or two boxes. I think I can manage that – I don’t need to take any materials from my former position, so really it’s just my pictures and decorative whatnots. Which do add up to a hefty amount, yes, but at least I don’t have to pack an entire lateral file.

Calvin and I were in the bedroom a few minutes ago, and he heaved a big sigh as I handed him some Advil. “What’s the matter?” I asked him. “Oh, just two more to go,” he replied. Which got me thinking to how we all tend to wish our lives away, getting through the week from Monday to Friday. There has to be a way to enjoy life more during the week, instead of dragging ourselves through work and being plain exhausted at the end of the day.

The more I thought, the scarier things got. There’s so little time, and we spend so much of our time on this Earth wishing the days were over. Then the weekends are occupied with the crap we couldn’t get done during the week, because we were too busy.

Are we working to live, or living to work? We couldn’t have the life we have if we didn’t work, but there’d be a lot less to have to support if we didn’t live the way we live. Would it be better to live as we do, with nice clothes and a nice home and nice vehicles and nice belongings, but having to work our assess off all the time to maintain it all? Or would it be better to have nothing, but owe nothing, and live a greatly simplified life?

Our current life affords us to take the occasional vacation, which wouldn’t be possible with a greatly reduced income. But if we were living a simplified life, the lack of “away” vacations is compensated for by the amount of free time that is available just by living. Not to mention the lack of stress that negates the need to break away for a week or ten days, just to go right back to the grind at the end, and feel, within a day, as if the vacation never was.

So, I’m torn. Am I living, or just existing? Do I gain enough “quality” in my life so I will feel, at the end of it all, that I really lived? Certainly I won’t know until I’m a cranky 90-year-old, rocking away on my porch and chasing the squirrels off the bird feeder.

From where I sit right now, I am enjoying my life. Not to it’s fullest, though – a complaint that Calvin and I discuss on a regular basis. We want to create more memories, feel excited and look forward to things, have energy and motivation. It’s hard to say, now, “Remember that time that we sat on the couch and watched that show?” Um, yeah, it happens every night.

We want to work to live, not live to work.


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