It’s 2 am on a Thursday night (or Friday morning) and the only reason I’m still awake is because I don’t have to work tomorrow. I despise this, as I am always at my most creative after 10 pm, and even though when I finally lie in bed around 1 am I am still quite hyper, my routine will not allow me to forget that I have to be up at 7 am. That is, I can choose to stay up longer but I will eventually and unavoidably pay for it the following day. The best work schedule I’ve ever had was when I taught at a language school and my classes ran from 3-10pm. Exhausting though these hours were, teaching children from the age of 9 to 22 (yes, I do mean 22-year old children), I remember going out almost every night and meeting friends for drinks right after (the bar being within walking distance from work might have helped). Eight years later I’m doing something I don’t particularly love, having to wake up at the most barbaric of hours to do it, and I am fed up by the time I get back home.
So my question is, why am I doing this?
Excuses are everywhere nowadays: times are tough, jobs are nowhere to be found, what am I going to do for money, why leave something stable, something will eventually change, maybe I should wait a little while longer, and my all-time favourite… as soon as I do/finish/accomplish this. Whatever this is. But that’s where they get you…
There is always something. Isn’t there?
I read somewhere years ago that people will eventually have wasted endless hours of their life waiting for the bus, or in a queue somewhere in order to get something done. But this is something we cannot avoid or control; plus, there are always things to do in such situations, read a book, interact with other people, listen to music, etc. But what about all the other wasted hours? When have we considered those? I have found that it is as scary to give them a moment of thought as it is to admit to our fear of actually doing something about it.
We keep telling ourselves that our job is not who we are. In fact, us Greeks take pride in professing that we work to live, not live to work. That is all well and good, but the fact remains that we spend more than half our waking lives working. So it should mean something. Right?
There are people who have actually accomplished this, and there are those who believe that it does not really matter, as long as you spend the rest of your day doing things you like. And then there are people like me… who have not attained the first, and cannot accept the second.
Don’t misunderstand me, it’s not that I feel I have not done enough. I am very proud of what I’ve accomplished so far (both personally and academically), but all this cannot compensate for the gnawing sensation in my gut that this cannot be it. My society tells me I am at my prime, but I have yet to feel it. To live it. To taste it.
And I need to taste it.
As 3 am draws nearer I consider these questions. But it is time I stop, and begin to contemplate the answers.