The idea was to go back to the kind of work you could turn on and off at the drop of a hat. When 5PM hits, you stop what you are doing and leave it there. When 8AM arrives, you pick it back up. On weekends and holidays, you don’t think about it at all.
The relentless need to solve problems starts to seep into your subconscious until you are trying to solve dream problems all night long. You wake up exhausted and anxious, worried that you haven’t finished your work, but you aren’t quite sure what that work is.
I feel sometimes like I am doing time, or at least doing penance for all of the previous bad choices I made. I feel like I am repeatedly starting over.
Here I am, living in the same area I lived in during my first year down here, driving in through the same traffic to work downtown, and encountering the same office personalities, drama, bs, etc. This time, I have a wife and son, and I entertain no dreams of making it big in Austin so that I can move on to NYC. I am going to die here, that much is clear.
I would like to tell you that I am a much more mature and enlightened person at 41 than I was at 23, but I am never 100% certain what that means. I had something special at 23 that I no longer have–a connection with the world as an empathic person. I also had plenty of negative characteristics that I have minimized, like drinking myself to passing out every night and raging over minor infractions people caused me. I had a sense of entitlement that I no longer have. The world owes me nothing, if anything, there is so much that I owe that I may never be able to pay back.
What do I owe the world?
Aside from my financial debt, I owe the world a child or two who can at the very least be productive, responsible citizens. I owe the world much positive energy that I have selfishly consumed while thinking the positive energy was 100% mine to possess and do with what I willed. I owe the world some time of remuneration for all of the resources I consumed. I guess I feel like I pay some of this back through donations to charities, but I doubt that I give enough.
Maybe I feel like I am paying for my karmic debts by doing all of this writing, and putting the writing out there, as if somehow adding a tiny little drop of information into the vast ocean of human content will ultimately make a difference.
But, I am hopelessly fixated on myself, and set in consumer mode. It’s like a switch has been set for life–I must consume and make every last little thing be about me. Meanwhile, I rationally know that the world goes on about it’s business very well with or without me. I recognize that to make a difference in the world means that you have to completely change your mindset to be focused on what others need and want, and not on what you want.
Yet, I am afraid I am too old and ingrained in my old ways to change.