I had a near panic attack today. I was driving along, happy as you please, and it occurred to me that…I was not earning money!!!!! Yes, it was a weekday. Yes, it was between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm. Yes, I was healthy and able to leave my bed.
But I was not in an office, at a computer, doing work proscribed to me by a so-called Higher Up in order to secure an agreed-upon amount of compensation (less taxes, insurance, etc.) in return.
This hit me like a slap in the face, and I actually felt myself begin to hyperventilate, right there behind the wheel.
Mind you, our money situation is okay. Our bills are paid. We have food, shelter, transportation, clothing, and extra for little niceties. We are in no danger of SUDDENLY RUNNING OUT OF MONEY AND BEING FORCED OUT OF OUR HOME AND OMERGERD WHAT ARE WE GONNA DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO????
But I felt that way. Because I was not earning a paltry salary at a job that was killing me with stress, like I’ve been brainwashed to do my entire life. For a brief moment, I felt like the entire universe was going to collapse in on me, and it was all my fault.
Then I took another breath, and it went away. I took another breath and asked myself, why are you so freaked out about earning money? Yes, within reason, having money is a good thing–a very good thing. It allows you the freedom to do what you like without being a financial burden on your loved ones. It comes in very handy at the grocers and the laundromat and when it’s time to pay for the utilities.
But beyond that, why are we so freaked out over the accumulation of money?
Because we’re afraid. Because we’re taught to be afraid from very early childhood. Because money is set up as the ultimate Wooby, that go-to paper superhero that solves all our problems, makes everything possible, and keeps the streets safe for Truth, Justice, and the American Way.
And because we’re afraid of just about everything, we reach out for anything that will comfort. We reach out for our Paper Wooby, because it’s easier than just being in that fear for the moment. Being in that fear takes effort and trust, something that isn’t all that easy to do when you’re exhausted from the constant grind of accumulating the MoneyWubby.
But give yourself a few days, maybe a couple of weeks to rest up, and it gets easier.
It gets easier being rational. It gets easier seeing the wholeness of things, how life fits together, and how we can relax even when we don’t have the answers. And that is pretty damned cool.
Good night, my friends. I hope you get a chance to relax and enjoy the uncertainty of it all.
I’m slowly adjusting to the newness of this life. I’ve been 9-to-5-ing it for so many years, this freedom to set my own hours for a while has been…almost unnerving. I keep waiting for the time off to end, for the dread to start growing in my stomach, for the clock-watching to remind me I have to go to bed in order to drag myself off to work for 8 am.
For the most part, it’s only been a relatively small thought in the back of my mind. I don’t talk about it much. I don’t think, “OMG, I’m not working!” at random points in the day. I don’t even feel ridiculously happy not to have to deal with the stress and BS that were a regular part of my day on the job.
Today, though, as I was driving around doing errands, there was a moment. It is a beautiful fall day here in Kentucky–the sky is blue and clear, and the temperature is just cool enough to be perfect. For a moment, just a moment, I was back in my desk at The Day Job™. It hit me, hard like a punch in the stomach. I could actually feel myself in the desk chair, a computer in front of me, white noise choking me, that trapped feeling all lab rats get when they become momentarily aware of their real situation.
From my desk, I could see out a window onto the parking lot in front of the Chinese buffet next door. Rain, snow, sleet, or sunshine, I would look out of that window countless times a day. My eyes would drift away from the screen and the work and the reality and fixated on that Outside place. Outside, where people were running errands and meeting friends and working in their yards. Outside, where time was just time, and not a weapon used against you.
And I remembered, like it was happening, the ache I would get sometimes, on days just like today, when I would look out and see the clear blue sky filled with sunlight and cool breezes. I called those days my Alpaca Days, because I would have rather been doing anything – even herding alpacas – than stay inside that cold, stale office. In my mind, I would just grab my purse and leave, without even telling anyone, without even turning off the computer. I’d get in the car and pick up my sweetie and we’d drive without stopping until we hit an ocean.
Today, I realized that I didn’t have to raise alpacas. I didn’t have to run away from home.
I was out there, in that sunshine, on that perfect day, doing what I wanted to do.
And I realized, “Wow, I don’t have to go to work for a while.”
Love to you all,
There are some words that just don’t have an equivalent in English (but should). If there’s one word we should all comprehend, it’s the German word schadenfreude. It means, roughly, getting your jollies off of other people’s trouble. To put it in sports terms, it’s your team having a bye week and watching the rival’s game in hopes they get their asses handed to them. That glee in seeing your “enemies” fall.
We are none of us innocent of this.
But politics are not sports–at least, they shouldn’t be. So imagine how disgusted I felt with myself when I felt a twinge of illicit glee when a certain Southwestern governnor was recently indicted on two counts of abuse of power. After several years of watching this man attack and attack and attack, I have to admit I felt good seeing him on the other end of the stick for a change.
That’s perfectly normal, you might say.
But it’s not right. Not for my soul, and not for the country.
Yes, some of us lean left, some of us lean right, and some of us are waaaaaay out in BFE. But we are all still Americans, and when one American leader is corrupt, we all suffer. There are no winners and losers in politics–either we all win, or we all lose.
This doesn’t just apply to the United States. Governance has become a blood sport, pitting country against country, region against region, and ethnic group against ethnic group. There are no winners, only victors. And the victors never stay on top for long.
Until we realize that the sole purpose of governance and politics is to benefit the governed, and until we work to remove competition, antagonism, and schadenfreude from politics, we will continue to inhabit a very dangerous, hateful world. Until we truly embrace the fact that we are all human, despite our differences, and that we are all in this together, things will never truly get better.
So I speak to that vile little snot inside me who is quietly gloating about another GOP governor getting hoist on his own petard when I say, “Get the hell over yourself.”
We must choose love. We must choose compassion. We must move beyond the pettiness that is killing our world. Otherwise, we will be stuck in this stupid game forever.
It’s not hard. Just make a choice. Today, I will be kind. Today I will not find joy in another’s pain. Today I will create an atmosphere of love and acceptance.
Do that, and then pass it on.
P.S. If you read an early version of this, please forgive me. I got so wrapped up in trying to embed a stupid video that I forgot to proofread. Mea culpa.