Sunday, November 30, 2008

ok nevermind, yay welcome back

So I tried blogging somewhere else, but I lost steam. The how's and why's are not important, what's important is that I decided to start blogging here again. Here is where I feel most at home.

Today is my one-year anniversary with Mera (once known to this blog as Mahavira, but I'm tired of typing all that out). One year ago today, I was sitting at the Crow Bar sipping a shot of Jaegermeister with a Black Butte Porter back and waiting for the mysterious Mera to appear. It's been a whirlwind ever since.

We're marking the day with... well... basically nothing besides frequent reminders of our mutual love. Mera's in the midst of finals and has spent the bulk of the last several days sitting in her office laboring over papers and research. I've kinda just had the rest of the house to myself. I've done a lot of reading. And cleaning. And bathing. And thinking.

Details of these activities as follows:

I've been reading: Dostoevsky's "The Devils" (also translated as "The Possessed" and "Demons"). Dostoevsky is my homeboy. I've also been reading old copies of the New York Times book review that are kept (ahem) in the bathroom, and the latest edition of the Nation which I got for Mera but which she is too busy to read.

I've been cleaning: mostly dishes every few hours as they accumulate. And I took out the recycling.

I've been bathing: daily. Nice hot bath for at least an hour, just an excuse to read without interruption. No bubbles, in case you were wondering.

I've been thinking: about all sorts of stuff. I started out thinking about all the stressful things in my (mostly work) life and trying to figure out ways to restore some balance. Then I started thinking about how there were all these other, older versions of myself (the young poet, the lazy student, etc) who I kinda liked better than this person I'm becoming now. I was thinking yesterday about how fun my job used to be a couple years ago, when I worked swing shift or weekends (depending how far back we're talking) and I used to dress like a hobo and sit around at the desk playing the guitar and making inappropriate jokes. I was an overachieving slacker back then, intellectually ambitious (aspiring to and then attending law school), but reckless and lazy. It was fun.

Now I'm a manager and I'm afraid I may be on my way to be the top manager at my workplace. And that's a big deal. A big, scary deal. And even if I don't become the top manager (depends whether my boss gets the job she applied for) I'm still a different person: not dressing like a hobo, not sitting around with the guitar at the front desk, not making inappropriate jokes anymore to ANYbody. It's lame.

The lamest thing of all is that I've suddenly realized I'm on this weird track I'm afraid I'll never get off of. I started out with a committment to not living a mainstream life. Not dressing mainstream or shopping mainstream or working mainstream hours. I was a medium-strong anti-consumerist and I lived for a lot of years on a very little income. I worked weird hours and spent lots of time either reading and writing or drinking and playing pin-ball depending on which era we're talking about. Even after I graduated from law school, I couldn't bring myself to enter the ranks of the suit-wearing office people. I kept my easy job and everybody thought I was nuts.

But then all of a sudden out of the blue I take this day job, this managment job, and even though I'm still nowhere near the mainstream (I work in a program where the day's problems range from: person A set her shoes on fire by accident to person Z shat in the elevator to person Q tried to sell heroin to a staff-person she didn't recognize -- my version of "professional dress" involves jeans without holes and Doc Martens, etc, etc) -- I still feel like a sell-out.

Dolly Parton wasn't lying -- 9 to 5, what a way to make a living. It kinda sucks the life out of you. But anyway, it's a dumb thing to complain about. The rest of Dolly's song doesn't apply to me at all. I make decent money right now (way more by far than I've ever made before) and I've got a lot of freedom and I definitely have plenty of opportunity for upward growth. In fact, I feel propelled upward a little too fast at the moment. I just realized today that I can't complain because it's a good job and there have got to be other ways to improve my identity besides lounging around at work and being inappropriate.

I guess the ultimate conflict I have just identified is that I like to be lazy, I require a certain amount of laziness (which includes freedom and time) to be creative, but I don't have time right now to be lazy and I still want to be creative. I want to consume literature, follow the trail of my intellectual interests, write something other than a blog (and I can't even write a blog regularly these days!) -- but I can't do these things the way I used to try to do them. I used to have more time for laziness and thinking. Things could just fall together, inspiration could take me because I often didn't have anywhere else to be. Now I'll have to work harder for it, I guess. I'll have to figure out a way to do it without laziness. Or maybe I can figure out a way to be intentionally lazy...

6 Comments:

Blogger honey said...

I'm glad I didn't remove this one from my reader, since I gladly followed you over to your new blog.

I think adjusting to a new job takes just as long as adjusting to a new city. It's taken me almost two years where I'm at now to stop feeling stressed out all the time about how my job represents my place in the world. Sure, it's where I spend a lot of my time, but it actually doesn't define who I am. These feelings come in waves, and luckily Agent gets through to me when I'm feeling particularly frustrated with the track I chose that I am now, in many ways, stuck to for life.

I guess you're right - you gotta find the balance and be honest about the amount of laziness you need to be happy. Then you gotta be okay with a possible decrease in productivity, be it creative or otherwise, if you need more laziness to be happy.

9:44 AM  
Blogger zuhn said...

Yay, you're back. And you referenced Dolly.

However, this distress about your rapid upward mobility really needs to be put aside as there are many who would cherish that opportunity.

5:49 PM  
Blogger reasonably prudent poet said...

honey -- (feels funny calling you honey... honey) thanks for sticking with me, you're awesome. and you're right too, about all of it.

zuhn -- you're right too, where do i get off complaining about what otherwise looks like success. i'm just a spoiled shit i guess. :-)

8:59 PM  
Blogger roro said...

Happy 1 Year-aversary! And welcome back to your blog! Like the others, I never left. Because I fear change.

9:32 PM  
Blogger Dale said...

Yeah. Everyone thinks I'm nuts for leaving my programming job at IBM and becoming a massage therapist. But I needed the touch, and I needed -- above all -- I needed the time. I have a couple hours to read and write every day, now. Can't do without it.

(Of course I could do without it, and would if my family couldn't get by otherwise. But it would be much less of a life.)

It's a hard call.

5:54 AM  
Blogger heather said...

happy anniversary!

one part of me agrees with honey. it's good to give yourself time to adjust to the new job, maybe even the new you, time to figure out how un/happy you really are.

the other part of me agrees with dale, that you should really listen to your core, and if the core says you need to do something else to retain *you*, then you should move on.

good luck -- and welcome back :)

2:03 PM  

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