Whirlpools and Life Perspective

I was reading an article this morning in which this IT manager described how she hated her job, was overly stressed, couldn’t rest, and couldn’t see doing that for the rest of her life, so she quit said job and traveled around the world for a year. The most common whining statement in the comments section was essentially, “It must be nice to be able to do that, but I can’t for these six billion reasons!” And I don’t care whether or not that’s true; I’m not even here to say that it’s the best solution to the job burn-out she was experiencing. Sometimes it only takes a few days to recharge, but there are good and bad parts to any job detox, and that’s what I am currently experiencing.

A few weeks ago I went on vacation through an apocalyptic version of the desert. I just spent this past weekend at a friend’s house. I will likely spend most weekends at this friend’s house until the end of October because we are total Halloween nuts and horror movie fanatics and need all the scare time we can get. I am also writing more, and this project feels different than anything I have written before. Being away, being with friends, and being creative all in the same time frame really sort of slaps your conscience around. It gives you this mental step back where you can say, “My life is a tall glass of poop juice!”

This is good and bad. It’s good to have that perspective, but what if you cannot change things right now? This realization only makes your life that much more miserable because you’ve pulled out of it for that moment. We can become so mired in our own misery that being pulled out of it only serves as a painful reminder of the life we would like to lead. But it can give guidance, too. It’s like barely treading water toward no certain destination, weak and wounded, then being lifted up onto a small rock, only to see that there are boats and islands and coral reefs and wildlife (of the non-chewing on you variety), and you’ve been stuck in a whirlpool, struggling to not drown. But to get out, you have to go back in the water, and it’s easier to stay in the current situation than to change anything, so you swim in more circles, keeping your head out of the water, thinking about that island you saw on the not-so-distant horizon.

That’s what this period has been like. I have dragged my little butt on that rock several times. I have seen my destination, but life intrudes and I have to get back into that lazy whirlpool. And there I sit. All these things—vacation, friends, creative endeavors—can serve as things to make you float, can make the whirlpool not so bad, but you still have to kick, to fight against that cruel current to finally break free. The whirlpool is constant, it is mild, it is where you have been for a very long time, so it’s comfortable. Swimming free—being with friends, trading the old shackles of your job for new ones with cushions, breaking up with that ratty old bastard, moving from the hovel you reside in, sitting at your damned laptop and finishing that chapter—takes effort and strength and willpower. You can’t just wish yourself out of the whirlpool.

Anyway, that’s where my mind is at the moment. It’s on the island. It hasn’t left the island in some time, and though there will be wild animals and pitfalls and large bugs—for no place is totally free from danger and/or discomfort—there is greenery, change, the potential for happiness, and possibility for relaxation and growth. I just have to kick a little. Start it going. Try. And there is nothing like perspective to start that going.

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~ by Darren Endymion on September 22, 2014.

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