Monday, April 21, 2008

Faster Goes the Clock

A recurring daydream I have involves not reporting daily to an office. Not being tethered to an 8-5, day in and out, for 35 more years. When I examine the dream in more detail however, it occurs to me that there's no clear picture of what I'd prefer to do instead. Like a child in the middle of a tantrum, I JUST DON'T WANNA, but I am clueless about alternate realistic realities.

When you get right down to it, work gives me a purpose. I know why I get up in the morning, I know why I do the laundry. It also gives me excuses for why I can't do other things. No, I don't have time to write a short story, I have to go to work. No, I can't sleep in late and go to the gym when I feel like it, I need health insurance and a steady paycheck.

Is that compromising? Or is that just life?

I've made my peace by squeezing the meat of what I want into my off hours. And I jealously guard those hours, from all distractions except the siren song of happy hour. But there's always more to do in less time to do it.

I'm convinced the older I get, the faster goes the clock.

Every moment is a choice. A fork. Not a spoon. And I keep revisiting this daydream and thinking: but what? What would you do instead? There's only so many hours you can sleep, so many episodes of the Golden Girls to watch. You'd get bored; you'd get lonely. You need the structure and purpose a day job provides.

This is to say, I don't have an answer. But maybe it's not about aspiring to leave the day job -- because I like what I do -- but to strike a balance between all the different pieces. And never use work as an excuse not to do what needs to be done.


wsb said...

This jumped out at me from our blogroll feed and I had to comment. (1) Yes, time really does go faster. The mathematical explanation was to me a relief: every moment is a smaller and smaller percentage of your total time on earth. Once that a-ha hit, it stopped being so disturbing. (2) Regarding finding a way to not be tethered to 8-5 ... it can happen and it can strike almost out of the blue. Our means of 'escape' certainly did. It was the truest example of "do what you love and the money will follow" that I could ever have seen (though it was nothing I could have foreseen). At some point, of course, a leap of faith is required, but to get to the jumping-off point, just do what you love, because you love it.

Christy said...

I appreciate that. It's motivating to hear about your success, doing what you love. And it's admirable that you've built up and reinforced an entire community identity. That's really something.

I think the most valuable thing a person can do is lead by example, so your comment is especially meaningful to me.