I Overcomplicated My Life With Work


Day 22 of Feeling Alive, Medium Writers Challenge Work

My neck cracks. I twist and turn it. Look around the room. Softly the room turns pitch dark. With my eyes gently closed I recite back into my inner world. Pitch black, yet filled with liveliness.

I can clearly hear my thoughts running through my mind. I can feel my emotions vividly coursing through my body. I frown and focus on a particular feeling I am experiencing. From my chest, up to my throat, I feel a sense of tension. Pressure. Uncertainty. Anxiety. Tingling.

All these different sensations point me in one direction. I shake it off. ‘I don’t want to think about it.’ is what I hear myself thinking.

Facing The Problem

‘Why are you turning away from your problem?’ I think to myself.

‘No!’ I answer to it as if the two voices I hear are two separate parts of myself. I feel insane for fighting my own thoughts. After all, they both live in the same place, don’t they?

‘What do you want to do for a living?!” One of the voices all of a sudden asks.

‘There it is, that’s your problem.’ The other voice says. ‘You don’t know what your purpose in life is, what work you want to be doing for a living. You are lost aren’t you?’

‘Stop it!’ I answer. ‘You are only making things worse. I don’t want to think about it.’ I don’t notice how all muscles in my body are tensed. Something is going on within me, something I can’t push away. Something that needs to be spilled right now, or else it will consume me.

‘What do you want to do for a living?’ Again that question. This time I decide to listen to it and answer it truthfully.

‘I don’t know’ I answer.

All of a sudden I noticed how dark the world was with my eyes closed. I felt a rush of anxiety, of deep sadness rushing through me. I felt lost, lost, and adrift. Floating on a sea full of possibilities. Yet all those possibilities of what I could become were more daunting than comforting. For what if I chose the wrong thing? What if it wasn’t my purpose in life? My destiny?

‘I have to find my destiny, the one thing I am passionate about.’ I think to myself. ‘That’s what I must find indeed.’

At the very same time, I sink deeper into the ground. My back slouching and my head hanging. I sigh and begin to cry. The soft tingling feeling of a tear rolling down my cheeks is the only thing that comforts me. I feel my lower lip beginning to shake. I just don’t have the energy anymore to resist it, to act tough. Another sigh and…

A Broken Identity

Everything feels to be breaking apart. My identity, my goals, everything. I allow myself to be flooded by the idea of being lost. I allow myself to drift without a direction. Unsure of what I want to do for a living. Unsure of my purpose in life.

Those two things seem to be the most important things in a young adult’s life. It’s what all the adults talk about and ask me about. ‘What do you want to do after college?’ ‘What work will you be doing?’ ‘What do you want to be doing for a living?’ Those are the usual question most young adults get at birthday parties. It seems to be the only topic everyone is interested in.

And then there is this entire wave of people talking about purpose. Destiny. Some vague thing in our lives that is supposed to give all of our lives meaning. Something to live for. Instead of just finding something you like, you all of a sudden have to have a purpose for doing it. And… Well… I am caught in the middle of it.

Another sigh and my body sinks down even deeper. All the energy to fight is gone. ’That’s what I hate about it all!’ I think to myself. That it’s not my own choice. None of it is. I must have something to do for a living that I am passionate about, and at the same time, I must find something purposeful, meaningful. ‘I just don’t get why?’ I softly whisper.

‘Why are we so consumed by work? As if it is all there is to this life? We can’t just live life, can we? Without the need to find or attain anything. Oh, I would love that…’ I think to myself. ‘I would just go on living, enjoying each day. Letting life harmoniously find its way back to me, instead of the other way around. Oh, how I would love that. I wouldn’t have to search, or achieve, or reach for anything. I could just live my life and that would be enough. All of it would just find its way to me. Hasn’t life been this way all this time?’ And then I open my eyes.

‘It has…’

I Feel Enlightened on The Topic

All of a sudden I feel enlightened on the topic. I see clearly now what I’ve been doing. I’ve allowed this whole idea that work is the most important part of my life to become a dark consuming void. It took all the life, all the vibrance out of my world, out of my life. ‘No more!’ I say to myself.

‘I cared so much about finding my purpose and at the same time something I would be passionate about that all the rest of my life was wasted. All of life had to be focused on work, instead of work focused on all the rest of life.’ I laugh a bit. ‘The insanity.’ I think to myself.

All of life had to be focused on work, instead of work focused on all the rest of life.

The insanity I am talking about is the insanity of thinking that work is the most important part of our lives. It is why we go to school from a young age. Not to educate ourselves, and enjoy that educational process. Not at all. We go to school to eventually work. To find something we like doing, and do that the rest of our lives.

From the age of 5 to the age of 21 I’ve been in school. With the occasional summer breaks, but none the less I feel that I haven’t had any chance to explore myself, and the beauty of just living. So when I left college I felt that I had to know what kind of job I wanted to work in. Which was an impossible task. How could I know, because all I knew was school? All I knew was the college degree I attended to. I hadn’t tried anything at all. And I think that’s the problem here.

The problem of a young generation like myself that are completely lost in life. So many young kids don’t know what they want to do, and if they do they don’t do it because it has to have some sort of larger purpose. It ought to give them meaning in life. Both the old and the new philosophy on work are damaging and I experienced it first hand.

The old tells you that you must work. The new tells you that you must find meaning in your work. Both focus on finding something. Both are focused on work, making it look like work is the most important thing in life. Now we know that it isn’t because how often do you hear that time with friends, and family is more important than work. Yet we don’t live by those rules. For we have captured ourselves the false belief that work is the most important part of our lives.

Yet it is a waste of this beautiful life. It dulls it down. That is, if we keep seeing it this way, as something that we must do.

A Paradox We’ve Bought Into

I think we are focused on the wrong thing. We are focused on finding work we are passionate about, or that gives us meaning. Instead of being focused on the work of understanding oneself completely. You see, I have been focused on finding the work I love to do, and the meaning it has to the world, yet none of it clicked till the moment I shifted my focus.

Shifting my focus from the work I do for a living, to the work I do for understanding myself. It has allowed me to find what I am passionate about, and what in the end gives my work value. Now you see a big difference here. I first understand myself without any purpose for it. I just understand who I am deep down, and from that, I find out what I am passionate about. Then instead of saying that work gives my life value, I see that life gives work value.

All of it is the other way around. It’s a paradox, that I hope to enlighten with this piece of writing. This is my work. To write. Yet it is life that gives this work meaning. Without me actually living my life I wouldn’t have anything to write about. We ought to understand this. Deeply.

To see that we are not the ones who give meaning to life, that we are not the ones to assign work to ourselves. But that we live our lives and from that, we are given meaning and work to do. The real work I do in life is the work of feeling alive. Day in day out.

Life Supports Work

Now that sounds tiring. Which it isn’t. It sounds like doing the work of feeling alive feels like you have to do something, that it takes effort. Yet it takes no effort at all. Cause that work is more of a play, it’s enjoyment. Playing the game of life sincerely. With all of my attention.

This takes discipline, and it takes sincerity. All of life works together in harmony and we only need to follow that harmonious flow. Now what we do instead is force our will onto life. Which destroys the harmonious flow. But most of us don’t get this, we think that finding what we love to do, or finding our purpose is a good thing. Not understanding that any search, any strive, or achievement is based on the fact that life ought to be different. Which denies the beauty of life as it is.

Just look around the room you are in right now. I am not forcing you to do that, I am only inviting you. If you don’t want to, it’s fine. But the words you are reading, the room you are in right now, the world that is outside of that room, all of it. It moves together. The birds don’t fly out of themselves they work together with the wind. The trees don’t grow out of themselves, they work together with the sun, the ground, the air. And then there is us. Thinking that we work by ourselves, completely forgetting that all of life, everything on this earth, works with something.

And we are too, we are just not seeing this. Just tell me, can you do your work without the trees and corals creating oxygen? Can you work without the earth providing metals for your digital devices? Can you work without all of life happening right now?

What I am getting to is the point that work is overcomplicating our lives. Making us believe that we ought to control our lives and therefore must work to do so. When in truth life is as simple as feeling alive. To just go on living. That the work we do each day is to feel alive. From that work will come to us, but it won’t work as we know it. It won’t be forced. We don’t need to be on time each day. We will see that work is play. That when we say ‘I am working’ we are actually playing. We enjoy doing it, we didn’t have to find it or keep up with anything.

So let me ask you this. Does life support your work or does work support life? It is the answer to that question that will determine the way you live your life. I’ve made my decision, you can do so too.

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