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Things have been different around here lately.
If you’ve read some of my other posts you might have picked up on the fact that I was job searching for a while. I had decided I was tired of the bartending life; I was ready to trade in my night shifts for day shifts and my cash tips for health insurance and a 401k.
I was convinced that stability and consistency would be the best and most logical next step for me and my future as an adult person in America. But to be honest, I’m not so sure anymore.
I found a job. A pretty good job with all the benefits a taxpaying American could want – insurance (even vision and dental), a retirement plan, paid time off (accrued), they even encourage you to take those two fifteen minute breaks you hear about being legally allowed, but you never really get. It seems like a wonderful company with a lot of really great people, some of whom seem super passionate about their work. I’m just not sure yet if it’s the job for me. But that’s normal, right? In the early stages of a new job?
“It wasn’t that things were harder than you thought they were going to be, it was that they were hard in ways that you didn’t expect.”
― Lev Grossman, The Magician King
I mean of course there are going to be hurdles and trepidation when starting any new endeavor, especially at a new place with new people. And most likely that’s the entire basis for what I’m feeling. But it seems silly to not recognize the fact that there might be something deeper happening here.
For example, I’m not feeling very creative at all lately (which is awful and it better end soon, because I have another short story challenge coming up). Could it be possible that the lack of creativity has something to do with the monotony of a traditional eight to five lifestyle? So far my work is fairly predictable and my routine is becoming steady, so I suppose it makes sense that I’m not bringing much in the way of excitement and therefore nothing from which creativity could flow. But was my life ever exciting before? No… Just not as monotonous perhaps.
I suppose there’s also the possibility that I’m just struggling to get used to this new routine – that my body and mind need to figure out the rhythm and when it does, I’ll find peace and balance and story ideas abounding. Maybe?
But I gotta tell ya, adjusting to the rhythm of a strict eight to five has been rough. Really rough. And not just the getting up early and going to bed earlier than 2am part. But the “When the hell do people have time to do anything with their life besides work?!” part. Seriously. 8 hours a day. 5 days a week. 261 days a year, approximately. That it SO MUCH time. So much time spent doing a job for someone else and for what? Health insurance and a plan to stop doing that when you’re 65? I don’t know man… it just … seems like a scam.
“Maybe this is the way things are supposed to be but it doesn’t feel right.”
― Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Speaking of time, I haven’t had time to read as much as I usually do. Reading is important to me. And of course, so is writing. And going to the gym, getting enough sleep. And all of those things require ample time to really get the most out of them. I guess I never realized how much I valued my time until I felt like I wasn’t in control of it anymore.
It is hard. Hard in ways I didn’t expect. But maybe this confusion, apprehension, and overall discomfort are just symptoms of growing up or maturing. Or maybe I just haven’t found the right fit yet. Only time will tell I guess. For now, my plan is to wait and feel it out; to continue learning and experiencing my new environment. And who knows? Maybe I’ll end up loving it. Maybe the things I’m uncomfortable with now will push me to succeed in new ways I haven’t yet considered. Or maybe I’ll go back to bartending, or find a totally different kind of job… Only time will tell.
Have you started anything new lately? How are you dealing with the unexpected struggles?
I used to be creative. I know it left me somewhere along the way. Was it work, marriage, kids, brain damage? Sometimes I entertain the delusion that that part of me will return when I’m older, wiser, and have more time. Meanwhile I’m trading a today with a steady paycheck and benefits for a theoretical tomorrow. Scam indeed.
That is the perfect way to put it! “Trading a today with a steady paycheck and benefits for a theoretical tomorrow.” Perfectly said, but a sad, sad truth.