March was a rough month. Despite the fact that I left my job at the end of February, filled with excitement and passion for the blank slate of the future, I crashed and burned very soon after.
My biggest problem was that I still really didn’t have any idea of what exactly it was that I wanted to occupy myself with. Even though I received a much larger payment than normal (because of excess accrued leave), there were also much larger expenses that I needed to make – three kittens to get spayed, two bent rims on the car to get fixed and a tyre to replace.
After paying most of these, I realised I could actually only afford to get one rim fixed and not even a tyre replaced before I start going very far over budget.
I started thinking about the things I own that I absolutely never use and might be able to sell for a bit of extra cash. The only one that came to mind immediately, was a Marshall amp that I haven’t even plugged in since 2009 – ideal candidate.
Except… That’s roughly when the stress started settling in. Even though I’m trying to follow Leo Babauta’s tips for simplifying my life and getting rid of things that just clutter up the place and that I never use, there’s this stigma attached to selling your things in order to have money to survive. It smacks of desperation and calls to mind some sort of serious addiction. I was feeling like a dismal failure…
I started developing pretty bad desynchronosis which just got gradually worse. Aside from my own “work” dilemma that I had to deal with, there were also several other personal issues that jumped out of nowhere and demanded immediate and undivided attention. As they say, it never rains, but it pours.
Pretty soon, the end of March was approaching, with no salary to look forward to (barring the small stipend I was still awaiting from the previous job for a side-project I did for them). This money was not even enough to cover my rent. Or my debit orders. Never mind both.
My messed up sleeping patterns also had further psychological implications.
I wasn’t able to do anything. Even though I knew that I had to get up and get going to survive, the burnout, the overwhelming amount of stress and all the personal trouble all ganged up on me to continuously beat me down every time I would even think of getting up. The only things I could engage in, were extremely passive activities, like watching movies, or sleeping some more (mostly during the day).
I still had the excitement inside of me, but I think because the passion was there but had no direction, it started causing more harm than good. There was all this energy to put to work, but everything seemed to conspire against me to keep me from releasing this energy to do any good. Which is a really bad thing…
Last weekend, I managed to get hold of Melatonin to try to correct my sleeping patterns, as I realised that this was one of the biggest problems and compounded with everything else, made life seem nigh impossible to cope with. On Wednesday night, I was on the verge of a meltdown. And I’m not sure why – if it was because the Melatonin finally started kicking in, or if I came to some miraculous realisation – but the next morning, I was fine. I woke up and realised that I had been here many times before. At this exact crossroads. But each time before, I would get so frightened by the unknown beyond, that I would turn around and run screaming back to my former comforts, regardless of how much I’ve come to hate them.
It’s easy to forget the bad things in our past when we’re suddenly confronted with a need to cling to the good ones. And this fear that was confronting me almost seemed a good enough reason to give up my quest and skulk back to former territory.
But I knew that nothing would change. My life would revert to what it was – a daily drudgery and resentment. I would perhaps find another job that lifted me out of all financial distress, but would give me no satisfaction. I might be rich, but I would be unhappy. I might have “stability”, but I would be utterly depressed. So what good would that do?
What’s the point of living a life in which your only goal is to survive and make rent? I want a rich life of fulfilment and joy, where money might be a means to an end, but should never be the reason for why I do things.
So, I got up and kept singing Alanis Morissette in my mind: “The only way out is through.”
While I still have no clear idea of that elusive one thing that I would like to do for the rest of my life, I have become slightly less critical of all the ideas that I have. I’m just going to try whatever feels like it’s worth doing, and if it doesn’t work or doesn’t make me as happy as I would like it to, I’ll move on to the next one.
I’ve taken up a course in Moral Philosophy which I’m absolutely thrilled about. I look forward to each new lecture and even the assignments.
I suspect whatever route I end up taking, writing and philosophy will form a very big part of it. Even if I don’t become a writer or a philosopher. It is very important to me to include these things in all aspects of my life.
But most importantly, despite the fact that I am utterly broke at this point, I realised that there is nothing for me if I turn back.
Then again, there might be nothing ahead either… But I’ll never know unless I go and explore. Because there’s a damn big chance that everything I dream of is on the other side of this intersection.
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch