Wednesday, September 30, 2009
It's Good To Get Out
I had to get out of the office all of yesterday and part of today to do some research for work, and it had unexpected benefits.
If I spend enough time working on my own, doing the same job day after day, I get smaller. Is it just me? My confidence erodes, my secret belief that my mom was right and I really am something special disintegrates, colors wash out, my spark contracts to a tiny, desperate click.
I see no reason for it; I've got a good life, I'm loved and I love, there are plenty of things to worry about but none of them are truly threatening. I can roll with them. Yet I feel less and less able to meet life's challenges the longer I play hermit. My job, because of time constraints, restricts me to interaction by telephone.
I re-energize after a day of productive work with people I find interesting. I'm not looking for new friends, I'm not sucking anyone's optimism. I just find that when my brain is engaged and I'm dealing with people, organizing a full day and creating a plan to create a project, it requires me to perk up on many levels and that effort makes a change in not only how I feel, but what I think.
After a good couple of days of interesting work that got me firing on all cylinders, I was more calm, more rational, more able to see problems from a higher viewpoint, and much, much more sure of my own ability to not only cope, but thrive.
So what is that all about? I at first wondered if it was simply the stimulus of other people, but I think it's more. I think it's about the kind of work I like to do.
I'm curious about a lot of things and I'm interested. Being a journalist is a good fit with those traits. But routine stifles me and feeling trapped by that routine is slow death by asphyxiation.
Are there really people who don't mind inescapable routine? I can't imagine it, unless it gives some people a sense of safety that makes it feel like the only option. I think if I had to work day after day in a windowless cubicle I would be dead in a year. I've worked in big offices; I even once temped in a major corporation's accounting office. I watched the world shrink to the size of a small conference room with a row of ten key calculators. But what if we want more from our lives?
Have we established a working culture where most of us are dying a slow psychic death in an effort to pay our bills? If so, we're doing it wrong.
My back's a mess and I probably can't split wood anymore. Is it too late for me to move off the grid?