I was up early this morning. I just woke up, as I often do. I tend to have early meetings on Mondays, so I have gotten in the habit of waking myself up early. That’s changing, though, and my Monday mornings are being pushed back a few hours, so there’s no need for me to be up before dawn.
This morning, as I lay in bed, looking at the still-dark window, my head was going a mile a minute. This is classic for when I’m tired. I had a pretty active weekend, and I wore myself out. Didn’t get as much rest as I needed, but I did have a great time. Now I’m paying for it — I’ve got some time blocked off later this afternoon to do my breathing and get some rest, so I’m not terribly worried about being able to keep up. But seeing the workings of my head going full-speed-ahead as the sky is just starting to get light… well, that’s classic fatigue-driven adrenaline-pumped gears churning.
With all this Occupy Wall Street stuff going on, I’ve been pondering lately what it is that we’re doing with ourselves…? Where is this country going, and how is it that there is such a disconnect between the protesters and the people who work in the buildings where they are demonstrating? Having worked in finance in the past, and having once been part of one of the big companies that people are so actively faulting and blaming, I wonder at the disconnect between the way “the bankers” are portrayed, and how they really are in real life. I’m not making apologies for anyone – as far as I’m concerned, it’s corporate policy and assumptions about what constitutes “good business” that are to blame, much more than individual people making such-and-such amount of money. But that’s another post for another time — probably never, actually.
Perhaps more pertinent to my own situation… What am I doing with myself? I have a job, I have a house, I’m pretty far behind in many respects, and I’m nowhere close being able to afford to do the repairs on the house that it needs. But I’m not about to go out and protest about what others have done “to” me with their policies and priorities. Maybe it’s just me, but in all my years of all my difficulties, I’ve never had trouble finding work. And I wonder about the people who do. I can’t speak for them, but I’ve always been prepared to do what needed to be done to put food on the table — and that involved a lot of really degrading “below my pay grade” work over the years… which I always parlayed into something else.
Now I look around me, and it seems like I’m sorta kinda running out of options. It’s not that I’m in danger of losing my job — I feel a little like I’m slotted into a position that doesn’t have a lot of room for advancement — or the advancement it offers isn’t something I truly want, or that I can even do. I work for a company that’s global, and the people who are rising, do a lot of traveling. I don’t have the funds — or the time — to be spending shuttling back and forth across the oceans. The company reimburses you everything, but I literally don’t have the $500 to front for hotel and taxi and other incidentals till I get reimbursed. That old adage, “You have to spend money to make money,” comes to mind. But I’m neither able to do that, nor in the mood to throw money around. I just don’t feel like it. Nor do I have the time to go flying around, getting jet-lagged, hob-nobbing, etc. I don’t feel like doing that, either. Seeing the world is all very well and good, but I’d rather do it on my own steam, on my own time, in my own way — not as part of a rushed business trip.
So, on a Monday morning, here I sit in the early morning light, pondering my fate. We’re moving offices in less than two weeks, to a place that’s twice as far from home as my current office. More time in the car. More gas expenses… I don’t feel like doing that, either. I just don’t. Part of me just wants to settle in to a simple life, plant and tend a garden, make things with my hands, watch the seasons come and go, and just be. Pursue a dedicated life of contemplation and service, with a nice daily ritual to keep me on track.
But when I think about it, maybe that’s what I have already. I am just so busy looking for what’s better, that I lose sight of the things around me that are immediate and real and have the very qualities I seek in my ideal life. I have valuable knowledge about what conscious breathing can do for me, and I have the ability to get to a state of peace, calm, and balance, by focusing on my steady breath for 5-10 minutes. For all my imagining about how much better it would be, if I could extract myself from my current work situation, the fact is that the things I think that would get me are actually available to me on a daily basis, regardless of my employer. That means that my job is NOT keeping me from whatever peace I desire. And although the money isn’t there to do things like travel for my job, it isn’t keeping me from interacting with my overseas counterparts on a regular basis. That’s what email and the phone are for.
So, what this morning really boils down to for me, is that it’s not the external situation that is keeping me from living my life — it’s how I relate to it — if I am engaged, if I am open to what it brings, if I am willing to put myself into it and do those things I think a “simpler” life would offer — service and contemplation. Nothing around me is preventing me from having those things right now — the only one stopping me… is me.
That all being said, I know what I need to do — find the Monday morning in my heart as well as my head, and get right with my life as it is — here and now. It’s pointless to run away from what’s waiting for me. It’s also pointless to think that a drastic change in how I live my life would really solve anything. My ways of doing things would follow me wherever I go, and knowing myself, even the simplest, most contemplative life would end up a complicated mess, if I let myself have free rein.
So, there we have it. It’s not Monday that’s the problem. It’s not my job or my employer or my office that’s the problem. It’s my attitude, my desire to perpetually kick back and do nothing at all. It’s my fantasies about how much better things would be… if only.
But time’s getting away from me. I need to prepare for a conference call. Life, if I take a close enough look at it from the right angle, is perfectly fine and good.
Monday is here. And so am I.