Once upon a time when I worked in an office with others, I daydreamed out loud about longing for a day when I didn’t have to work anymore. One of the ladies sitting nearby said, “I’d be so bored sitting around doing nothing all day.” Seriously surprised by her lack of imagination, I responded, “Who said I’d be sitting around doing nothing all day? If you’d be bored that’s your problem.” I mean, seriously, there’s so much to do in life, but work makes me too tired and takes up way too much time.
But then there’s always been that I have to work to make money to pay bills and to do other possibly fun stuff problem. Oh, you confounding circle, why do you taunt me so?
I still hope for a day when work is not a have to, but it really doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that I don’t want to do any kind of work. I actually like to work. Really I do. I even like working hard. I especially like seeing the wondrous outcomes of my efforts [cough, cough]. It more or less boils down to something like just leave me alone, let me do my own thing, in my own way, at my own pace and then pay me for it. Is that really asking too much?
What brought this on, you ask? Welllll, this one guy I work with sent me the one billionth email that said “URGENT!!” in the subject line. This is his modus operandi. I would venture to say, with only slight exaggeration, that 99 percent of his emails to me contain the word urgent in some way. Then there’s the person whom I won’t hear from for months who all of a sudden wants something “today”, even though it’s late afternoon and my kids will be home in about 10 minutes. Then there’s the one who… well, I should probably stop before I get on a big roll down a giant hill.
Being on other people’s it’s-an-URGENT-RUSH timetable simply drives. me. crazy. I can’t rush everything. It reminds me of that line Miracle Max says in “The Princess Bride”, “If you rush a miracle, you get rotten miracles.” But if you pull off a miracle often enough, people expect a miracle always. It’s very tiring being a miracle-puller-offer.
It doesn’t help, I suppose, that I’m someone who has never quite figured out what I really want to do with my life. With no particular ambition or direction, I just more or less fell into the work I do. Even so, that doesn’t mean I want to be at the whim of other people’s lack of planning or sit around and do nothing all the time. Sometimes, admittedly, I would LOVE to sit and do nothing, but not all the time.
I also feel a little guilty about the growing hostility I feel towards my work. The freelance work that I do allows me to stay home, something very important to me since the kids came along. And despite my times of frustration, I actually really like the people I work for. But… oh, I don’t know… I just don’t want to do it anymore, but then there aren’t any particularly good alternatives at the moment so shouldn’t I be more grateful about the situation I have? Another confounding circle.
Adding to all that, I honestly don’t understand how other women do so much — work full time away from the house, return home, spend time with kids, take their kids to activities, sports, parties, etc., cook, clean, do laundry, wash dishes, tackle yard work, beautifully decorate, volunteer, study, pray, be kind to neighbors and strangers, make time for friends, help the sick, work out, look great, spend quality time with husband, sleep — and do most of this with a smile. I am completely in awe of other women and I mean that sincerely.
Don’t get me wrong though, other women’s ability to do everything bugs me only when I think about what or how much I “should” be doing in comparison. Then thankfully I somehow learn one more time, as ironic as it may seem, that I feel much better and accomplish so much more when I slow life down. I simply cannot live at the pace this world seems to demand and I stumble and fall when I try to keep up with how fast others are running.
I haven’t quite put a finger on how to slow life down and meet my responsibilities to work, family and other things. It’s particularly hard when the ones who pay me are clamoring urgent! rush! I find the right pace every once in a while and try to remember how I got there, but each day brings its own scenario. In the meantime, I look to my daydreams to keep me sane and give me hope for a day when the have to will end and the want to will begin.