What a strange illusion it is to suppose that beauty is goodness.
3am is the only time true words are said. Losing sleep while gaining perspective or something like that.
I have been told more than once that I work too much. That I need to learn how to detach. That I shouldn’t try to be a superhero. I have been told by more than one person to lighten up. That I need to act my age. That I don’t get enough sleep. People tell me multiple times a day to take care of myself. To take a break. To not expect so much of myself.
I don’t agree with any of that. I smile and chuckle and say I do, but I don’t. I let them keep saying it though, because putting the real response into words is difficult and time consuming. The truth is, I like trying and failing to be a superhero. It makes me feel okay about the world. I have never acted my age and I will not start now. Sleep is rendered unnecessary if you have adequate amounts of caffeine and looping thoughts. I take care of myself by not taking breaks because when I take breaks, it is really difficult to get started again.
Charles Bukowski once wrote that you should “find what you love and let it kill you.” Now, I am the first to admit that Bukowski tends to lean towards the melodramatic side (which is probably why I love him so much. It’s the same reason I love The National). Still, that quote makes a lot of sense to me. The problem is that what I love is feeling like a good person. I love feeling like I am doing something that matters. I don’t really see the point in anything else.
I don’t care about nostalgia or memories or money or what I should do on Friday nights or being liked or being hated or much else. I care about being able to sit with myself and not being disappointed when I do.
The constant search for something that doesn’t feel pointless, that’s my life. I told you that I was melodramatic. Anyway, I said that I love feeling like what I do matters. And I do. I truly feel like what I do day in and day out matters. So, I work. I work a lot. I work a lot more than anyone who knows me thinks that I should. And I am not sorry.
Sure I wish that I was good at singing and maintaining relationships with people, but I’m not. I’m good at working and offering crappy jokes literally any time someone asks for a crappy joke. I am good at getting things done.
I want to do so many different things but I don’t know if I can for a number of reasons. I want to be a doctor but I don’t think I possess the balance. I’d end up working myself to death and then I wouldn’t be very useful. I want to make whiskey but I’d end up an alcoholic. I have seen what that looks like and I am not interested. I want to teach economics but if I think about it for any length of time I remember that I hate the U.S. educational system. I want to be an indie music legend but I only know 4 chords on the guitar.
So, instead I go to work at a job that I love most days. I go and bleed myself dry for my coworkers and my friends and the students that hate me. I go to work tired and I leave exhausted. Then, I go to my hammock spot and I answer emails and answer questions about medication administration. I put out more fires. Then, I go home and study whatever has my interest at the time (currently Behavioral Economics) and drink and work some more. Sometimes I go out with my friends to dinner or poetry slams or to the beach or Waipi’o. But mostly, I work. And I like it. I am good at it and it makes me feel good about myself.
Even still, sometimes I can’t do any of those things. Sometimes I sit in my apartment and stare at the walls. I wonder how far I could run before someone realized I am gone. Sometimes I am reckless. I say things that I don’t mean and do things that I shouldn’t do. But at the end of the day, I am this person. The one who goes to work. I am the master of staying distracted because let me tell you, there is nothing more terrifying than clear headspace.
It has taken quite some time, but I can honestly say that I am okay with the person I am right now. I don’t have a conventional life and I am certainly not happy all of the time. I have a million things about me that are not even good, much less perfect. However, I can say with full conviction that I am okay with the person I see in the mirror.
School didn’t do that for me. Friends didn’t do that for me. Romance didn’t do that for me. Hawai’i didn’t do that for me. If you think about the big picture, work didn’t do that for me. Work is just a means to a temporary end. What makes me okay with the person I see in the mirror is a great deal of time not being okay with that person. I spent a lot of time figuring out what kind of person I would be okay with seeing in the mirror and I strive to be that person all of the time. After a while, it became a bit more natural and I don’t have to strive as much anymore. But I am always waiting for the day when I am once again not okay and then I suppose I will have to start this process all over again.