Little good comes when I stew in misery and despair. I try very hard to remain as optimistic as possible, having some hope that the collective set of “things” will work out in good time. As of late I’ve found myself falling off the less travelled path, presenting less optimism than I should and, more worrying, doing less to try and make what sometimes appears to be blind faith a reality.
I’m hesitant to conclude that this is because of any singular factor in my life. Many things have changed over the past few weeks, months, and years but I can’t find a defining moment, or really any moments that stand out for that matter. I think a younger person (I know, look who’s talking), it’s much more socially acceptable to deviate from the norm. People call it “growing up” where you’re allowed, and in many cases expected, to do things that society doesn’t quite accept in order to learn new thing and gain new experiences. My limited impression has been that as time goes on those things become less OK and, in turn, require more effort to do.
As an example, after graduating college and getting my own apartment I now have a proper kitchen that I’m suppose to stock with foodstuffs, cooking supplies, and other edible items. I’m not interested in cooking most evenings, but I’m also not interested in sitting down for a large dinner at a restaurant. By-the-slice pizza places accommodate this quite nicely, but there’s no where I could go to grab a slice or two of chicken breast without having to cook a substantially larger portion. Nevermind sandwiches, whose ingredients are sold in quantities that really should belong in the bulk food stores. To me, a standard loaf of bread is really a family sized loaf that would last me until it’s moldy all over. Some nights I would like to use 2 slices to make a sandwich but to accommodate that I need to have a whole loaf standing by plus the ingredients to put on the slices.
Grocery stores and big box stores are another waste of time that I’ve found play a bigger part in my post-collegial life. There is no legitimate reason for me to stand in line to buy soda and paper towels, both of which I’d much rather order online and have delivered in a few hours without the hassle. I understand there are services that exist to do this for me, but they exist with a fee orders of magnitude higher than the cost of fuel to the store.
Professionally I find people have very standard definitions of the work day. There’s this shared expectation that you first need to go to some office location, you need to show up with 2 hours of 9AM and leave within 5 hours of 5PM. You’re not suppose to show up to this location on weekends, holidays, or evenings unless something is wrong. Personally, I prefer not joining in the commute traffic as much as possible and are happy to stay at the work location on evenings. I’d probably show up on weekends if it wasn’t so taboo just to get out of the apartment a bit and perhaps cross paths with people (though that’s unlikely).
I think back to my college days and often come to the conclusion I was more productive then than I am now. I didn’t have to stock my refrigerator fully since I could eat on campus daily. When I did have to shop, I could do it at midnight without having to worry about being up early the next day to get in the office. There was also, at least amongst the people I frequently crossed paths with, a general expectation of working approximately all the time. Not working was really the exception, not the norm.
If I had to guess, I’d say that people work the hours they do either because they have better things to do in the off time (raising a family is probably on that list) or that they don’t feel compensated for working off hours. I make a point of not thinking about compensation much at all, but I suspect the same philosophy isn’t shared by most people because society places a large interest in the amount of financial resources you have. Does that mean I’m clearly rolling in the dough because of my place of employment? Hardly. I just don’t see an entirely logical correlation between work performed and dollars earned so I treat that as two separate issues.
It is really popular for people at work to say (or perhaps guess) what it was like in Ye Olde Days. My guess is that things were a lot closer to the college experience I’m familiar with. As people got older many adapted to what society suggested: stopping work at dinner time to raise a family, not coming to the office on weekends, establishing a separate social circle where you could go out and escape the mess of work. The effects of those changes mean that if I’m hungry for dinner at 5:15PM I’m out of luck, my emails on the weekend will often go unread, and social activities are heavily planned and infrequent.
My attempts to restore an environment I’m interested in haven’t had much success, perhaps because everyone else is comfortable in the lives their accustom to.
Good night moon.