Friday, January 25, 2008

Those Days Off Are Going to Kill Me

I took yesterday off from work and most everything else to just sit at home and relax and recharge. I hadn’t had a day quite like that in a while, and I felt as though I deserved it. So I took it. For the whole day I did nothing but play video games and watch shows and talk to friends.

Unfortunately, that was the problem.

I had forgotten what it meant to do nothing. While it’s enjoyable, I fall quickly and deeply into a sort of self-destructive ennui that is staggering in its depth and complexity. And I can’t explain why. I just know that when I set aside time to do nothing, I do nothing and I feel myself slowly start to dissolve into nothing. Time passes, I exist, but it … feels very hollow and dangerous. Like a gaping maw reaching out to claim me.

Over the summer I spent 10 weeks doing nothing, and I wonder if perhaps this is not just a dim memory of that. There is a kind of strange existence that comes when you have absolutely nothing to do and nobody to watch over you. It’s a state of nature where all obligations seem to not exist or matter any longer. Motivation is an idea, not a real thing from outside. The various processes of our lives are stripped quickly down to a simple Maslow-like hierarchy.

And today I’m back to work, and glad to be. One day reminded me of all those others, and what they meant and what they did to me. Alone and adrift, motivation is difficult to carry out. And I still haven’t succeeded yet. What that means for my eventual future of self-employment is hard to say, but I’m learning. And I feel the lack of motivation during this recharge period I’m going through. I can feel the need to find it again growing in my mind.

But work isn’t the solution. It’s a distract, a time-eater, that allows me to gain money and thus to be endured. The real solution is something much more ephemeral, much harder to find. That solution escaped me still, but I need to keep grasping for it. When I find it, things will change again, I’m sure.

No comments: