Tag Archives: trials

The Struggle to Identify Your Struggle

I had an interesting Twitter debate this morning after someone spoke of a Starbucks kid who screwed his store over by twice not showing up as the “keyholder” to open the shop.

The debate came from completely different perspectives — I’m getting on in my 30s, spent 15 years in retail, dreamed of a better day working in “real” jobs, but eventually realized my job never solved any of my problems in my life; meanwhile, the other debater’s in her early 20s, dreaming of a better time in a real job, and probably believes the same as I used to, that life really gets better with a different job.

Trouble is, one day you wake up and you realize that all you did was put on different clothes and cash a bigger cheque.

You dreamed of the trappings of success, but never realized it was really just a trap till it really had hold of you.

Deep down inside, the smarter-older you realizes the job has fuck all to do with your true happiness — it just gives you better means to avoid the issue and hide from the truth.

Anyone blaming their job for unhappiness probably needs to think twice.

I can’t tell you the hell I put myself through believing it was my job that was costing me any happiness in life.

I thought, “Oh, it’s a do-nothing, go-nowhere job. It’s why I feel so held back in life. I don’t make enough, I don’t do enough, I’m not special enough. I know — I’ll quit! I’LL SHOW EVERYONE!”

After two years of trying to get by in an endless parade of bad-fitting jobs, part-time work, and self-employment, I realized the job was never the problem.

No matter what I did, that current of discontent still ran through me. I was my problem.

Let’s face it, not everyone’s going to have a job that speaks to who they are. Not everyone gets to work in a career that radiates their true nature. We need labourers and waitresses too, you know.

There comes a point where the job just doesn’t matter.

If you think a career’s all you’ve got going in your life, then, yeah, okay, I can see how you might be in for a world of suck.

But that’s your choice. You’re the fucking idiot that’s decided some dude with a wad of cash has that much power over who and what you are. God help you if you ever lose that job, y’know? Be MORE. Expect MORE. Live MORE than just your job.

I’m not my job and I’m not my bank account.

I’m the chick with a way with words who really digs thinking and living a contemplative life of slowness and relative quiet. I’m the chick who can find god on a riverbank and think there’s nowhere else I should be, and no one who should be with me. That’s me. When I leave work, I contribute to my end-of-life legacy with things that speak to me and who I am. Not as much as I could… that troubles me. I want to do more. But I’m further than I was, and do more than I did, and these are good things. And I know the things that call to me, that I should do, and that I know are going to be done. My time, my way.

My advice?

Don’t look at your relationship or your job as your source of unhappiness. I betcha dollars to donuts that the source is inside you. Things you’re likely not doing or facing, and it’s easier to use life situations as “obvious” blames than it is to do the hard emotional work of realizing a lot of answers lay within.

Running’s easy. Standing and fighting? Then you get a cookie. And some bruises.

Good luck with that. It’s so not the 2010 way — avoidance is an artform. We got yer pills, your cars, your portfolios, your adventure vacation packages, yer smart phones, yer funky gadgets… shit, we even got Lady Gaga. Is she a chick?

Is that ALL there is? Isn’t there more? We’re the wealthiest the world’s EVER been — so why the fuck are we all so empty?

Rip the fucking scab off. Prod your wounds. Do all the things that scare you. Find more to satisfy YOU in life, and stop blaming your inability to do so on your spouse or your job. It’s a choice and a matter of values. Make it happen. It’s quality, not quantity, so think about it.

Hiding behind time demands as an excuse for a life half-lived is a sissy 2010 thing. MAKE CHOICES. You can’t BE everything or DO everything, so CHOOSE. Offend people and don’t go to a few engagements. Big fucking deal. CHOOSE.

Seriously, if I could sit every 20-something down and say, “All this angst and sadness you have? Your shitty retail job isn’t the problem — your reaction to it is. Everything you need to know about life, you can learn here and now. If you want.”

And if I could sit every 40-something down and say the same thing about their office jobs? I would.

Because you’ll never learn about people better than in the workforce — their capacity for evil or infinite goodness, their irresponsibility and unexpected nature are all unavoidable, daily.

Don’t cop out and blame your job for unhappiness unless you really know you’re happy everywhere else in your life. If you quit and get the rude shock at another job that you’re still going home empty inside and, gee, that place has assholes there, too, then you’re in for a really crushing emotional defeat.

Trust me, I know! Been there, done that, the t-shirt didn’t fit.

Stay with the devil you know. Try a new sport, find hobbies, do things you love. Remember to take time to do things that make you a better version of you. When you feel you’re on the way there, then you can make other changes.

Otherwise, you’re likely just doing more harm than good.

Changing should always be done on the inside before you attempt the outside. If you’d like to see it take hold, that is.

Pfft. I don’t know, I’m still on my journey. But what I DO know is, I’m happier here, “on my way,” than I’ve ever been — and I don’t have a job or savings or security. I have more inside me, though, than I ever have, and I credit that to the really hard choices I’ve made to learn about myself and all my damage, over the last 3 – 5 years. I made some mistakes along the way and I’d rather others learn from that.

Fix you, and the universe will follow, seems to be the lesson things have been teaching me. Jobless? Moneyless? What I got you don’t buy, you don’t get given, and you don’t take. You earn it, slowly. Self-knowledge, faith, belief, and you learn it by going crutch-less and not dishing out blame.

Yep. Fix you. The universe will follow. It’s a fucking amazing thing.

PS: Sometimes your job really is a steaming pile of shit and you should run for the hills. But, you know, just make sure of that.

It’s Not You, It’s Me

That phrase is among select company in the statements none of us wants to hear in a relationship we value. It’s gone beyond being a standard line given when something inexplicable has gone awry in a relationship to being a pop-culture joke of reknown.

In Seinfeld, George Costanza freaks out after being dumping by a woman, saying, “You’re giving me the ‘It’s not you, It’s me’ routine? I invented ‘It’s not you, it’s me’. Nobody tells me it’s them not me. If it’s anybody, it’s me!”

But this time, it’s the Guy.

He needs some time, he says. Life’s hard. Between the rehabbing, working incessantly, being completely out of sick time for the next ten months, the frustrations of life being different from what it was, the fatigue, the lack of freedom and fun, the residual depression that comes with… It’s proving to be a hell of a reality cocktail for him.

Apparently, the future of the relationship is in jeopardy. As a result of all the things going on for him, he’s been left feeling flat and emotionless, and it’s eating him up.

I’m worried that it’s over. My worries are valid. A decision won’t be made yet, there is no timeline. Space will be had. Things will be revisited. We’ll see what’s next on the horizon then.

The strange thing is, we both care for each other a great deal. I know it. He knows it. We’re a great match. On paper, we have so damned much going for us, so how it’s here, how it’s this way, neither of us can figure out beyond just really dumb fucking luck.

I’ve had reservations since the get-go with his badly broken leg that he suffered only a couple weeks into our relationship. I should have played things differently. I should have pulled back more, made myself scarce, but I didn’t. I wanted to pretend things were fine, too. Delusion is a great plaything.

Unfortunately, I know exactly what he’s going through. I should have known better. I’ve been down that road – coming home from work so fucking tired all you want to do is die a while, cry a while, whatever it takes to reset. The last thing you want is having to deal with people of any kind, because you haven’t even got the energy to deal with yourself anymore.

Am I feeling negative about it? Yeah. Because although I’ve come through those injuries and know that he’s at his lowest point right now – there’s a false optimism when you get that first update on the prognosis from the doc: “Progressing nicely” – because it’s never as easy as you hope it will be. In fact, it’s harder. You throw excess overtime and challenges into the mix, and then you’re sent spiraling into a hole you think’ll take you all the way to China.

And one day, things change. One day, things get better, and you come back to yourself, and things carry on as you wish they would’ve a long time before.

The only question is whether I’ll be around to see it. Whether I want to be. And right now, I don’t even know the answer to that. I know he doesn’t want to hurt me, but I’ve been pushing little hurts and neglects aside for a couple weeks now, with a realization of what he’s been enduring and cutting a little slack as a result. I’m not sure what my breaking point is. I had a vision for this relationship, and that break broke more than his bones.

I have no cards to play. I get to back off, and that’s all I can do.

That’s adversity for you. It’s why hard times are so consistently responsible for trouncing relationships. In the end, we all close our eyes and become prisoners in our own minds. Lovers seldom can truly break through the walls we raise between us and the world. We try to let them in, but there’s a place inside they often just can’t reach (and sometimes we can’t, either), and when things like these happen, those places grow cavernous and dark and dank.

The thing that makes this really hard is, I want the Guy in my life, but if this was to end tomorrow, I’m not sure he would be. I’ve never stayed friends with an ex-lover. I don’t have it in me. Just like I can’t do random, casual sex; my emotional capacity doesn’t work that way. My reservoirs run far too deep to just turn the valve off and change pressure modes for comfort’s sake. I can’t ignore matters of the heart, and I can’t pretend they’re less than they are. “Friends” are nice, but when you’re wanting a lover, there’s not much sense in pretending you’re not the person you know you are, or that you don’t have the needs and desires you do.

I sometimes hate how life can change in an instant. (Ironically, mine seems to be changing two ways in an instant. I’m so fucking torn.) There’s so little power any of us has over our circumstances, and when the going gets tough, we have to hold on to the things we have and struggle to keep ourselves in the game.

Only this time it just isn’t that easy. Nothing is.

It’s a waiting game now, and my suspicions last week about overtime possibly being a dire contributor to this relationship have proved true; I saw it posing a bad shift in balance between the me time I have far too much of, and the time he’s had virtually none of. I don’t blame him for the overtime, he’s had no choice. We all know what responsibilities to the workplace entail, and we’ve all sacrificed our private lives to an extent for it.

I just wonder if either of us really knew what was on the table.

Now we do.

Am I optimistic? As I write this, not particularly. And I fucking hate that. I have no question that he wants it to work with me. He’d be a fool not to want that. I just don’t think he has it in him right now. And if he doesn’t, then I probably won’t have it in me to be anything outside of what I’ve been thus far for him. I wish I wasn’t, but it’s how I’m built. I foresee things being hard to overcome if it goes that way.

For now, we wait. We hope. We wonder. Then we see.