This is probably a really illogical post, but hear me out.
I have long had a problem with balancing out the beautiful parts life with the boring realities in a way that is socially acceptable.
For me, it is very difficult to see sense of the proverbial long-term slog whilst watching the plump and luscious fruits of spontaneity fall to the ground and rot for want of takers. I despise that convention cautions me against putting my hand up. It’s almost criminal, and sits very badly with my conscience. This leads me to my second point: I have no discipline, nor the inclination to cultivate it.
I skip work fearlessly to nap on a whim. When in the office, I’ll stare out the window for a full half hour listening to a beautiful piece of music on my I-pod regardless of my co-workers and responsibilities in general. University work takes second place to the charming stories of Woolf, Austen and Rowling. I will give my full attention to animals, regardless of social expectations that I also make polite conversation with their owners. My room is a realm of dreams and closely guarded treasures, and disgustingly messy. My car is a fellow adventurer and loyal friend, and an utter affront to the human eye. Sometimes I don’t make it to the ironing board and conduct my professional day in jeans. Happiness is high when work attendance is low. A career is a choker around the neck of burgeoning creativity. In short, I’m largely guided by my own sweet will and hate “sucking up” life’s less palatable realities.
Part of it is because I’m part of gen Y, and I want everything now. This is a concept that my patient, hard-working baby-boomer parents struggle to grasp. But it’s the truth. Why shouldn’t I get what I want when I want it, within reason?
This attitude however isn’t entirely a case of greed or ignorance as to “the way things work.” Rather, I put it down to loving the beauty of life and its possibilities too much, and therefore struggling to embrace the duller, more necessary parts. I posit that a life full of perceived exquisitely beautiful experiences is destined to struggle with the counterbalancing “bread and butter” day-to-day happenings. And that’s what I do. Feel the magic and then lament the reality. To take your understanding further into the realms of Julie Loka (my world), I draw on the following universal experience:
You have gone away on a holiday after months of tough slogging, only to come home feeling bitterer than when you set out. This is because you connected with something joyful and sublime and entirely non-boring on your holiday, and resent coming home to once again resume being easy lackey to “the man.” You then feel guilty that instead of radiating joy and vitality at having 2 weeks away, you’re experiencing horror and dread towards the 50 weeks you now have left at work. This leads you to stare vacantly at stationary items on your desk and wonder what your purpose in the organization, if not life in general, is, and why you can’t be more like Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy from Little Women.
This analogy can be expanded to include massively great life experiences vs. massively boring life experiences. It is this grey feeling neither of elation or gloom that really bugs me. For me though, this feeling is not characterised by disillusionment, but rather, the remembrance of a separate sensation so sweet and profoundly satisfying as to make apparent its absence in all other areas.
It then begs the question: what is this feeling, and why must it be restricted? Can is not be expounded, bled from its source so it may be viewed in its entirety and made to last longer?
Here I am, sitting at my desk in the office, bathed in computer glare and surrounded by desk dividers and staplers and folders, but elsewhere, my thoughts are soaring into the great unknown, and I do not know when they will take rest and nor do I want them to.
I do not mean to colour grey those circumstances in my life which, withstanding comparison, would be considered fortunate – education, a job, a home. I do not mean to appear so entirely self-absorbed and glass-half-empty that I do not see the forest but for the trees. Of course not. But if you were told you could never see the ocean again, would you not pine for it, glorify it even? If you have experienced beauty even for a fleeting moment, does it not make it harder to plug away at that job, save those funds, trod that well-worn path?
I should not do my life the injustice of continually measuring its tolerable sum against the few fleeting yet sublime encounters I have had with beauty. It is neither fair nor wise. But I cannot help it. Once a person has journeyed to a foreign country, their homeland never seems quite the same again, whether for better, worse or indifference.
I mentioned earlier that I feel the magic and lament the reality. Ok, I can see how lame that sounds. No one wants to be that gasping, starry-eyed person. So, to make the most of it I do what I can to change reality a little. I wear jeans to the office and play hooky so I can go nap or read; I luxuriate in the accumulating filth of dream-filled bed room, drive a crap car I adore and delight in the uncomplicated nature of animals versus their annoying owners. I swear no allegiance to my responsibilities, shirk convention where possible and wilfully view circumstances incorrectly. It’s resistance at its best and is ethically, socially and morally repugnant and boarders on being totally unacceptable.
And you know what? It works for me.