Thursday, November 12, 2009

The meaning of life

posted Sun, 28 Nov 2004

I am never quite sure where the muse will take me when I sit down to write (or sit to write – those darn prepositions – most of them are redundant when paired with intransitive verbs). I have been thinking that this weekend has been so wonderful – four straight days of not having to go to work! I could so live like this every day! Is this what it’s like to be rich? The not working part, I mean. I still haven’t experienced the surfeit of money part.

Everyone needs a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

And then I remembered that I fell into an existential crisis on Thursday. This is a fairly regular occurrence for me. I cycle through existential crisis about once a month. Why am I here? What am I doing to make the world a better place?

Wendi Wright, aka wsquared, had a good post on this today, wondering what would happen if the angel in It’s a Wonderful Life were to review her life. I ask myself the same questions all the time. What is the point of it all, after all? And then I realize I am more prone to asking these questions when I am not busy, i.e., when I am not at work.

So. If I were rich, I would have to do something. I would not be able to sit around the house, sleeping until 6:30 a.m., and then lazing about with the newspaper and a diet Coke. And the edges of the brownies I made for the IT guy who found the file I accidentally deleted. And the rest of the cranberry cheese. And almond butter on slices of apple. And leftover mashed potatoes. And the toffee pieces in the freezer.

I would have to have some sort of job, not only to give me something to do with my time, but also to keep me from eating all day.

I would also need a job to give me something to write about. Good art comes from suffering and there is just not enough suffering in sitting around doing nothing. Look at my posts since Wednesday: I wrote about cooking for Thanksgiving, a bridal shower that took place a few years ago, and high school. Can you say desperate for material?

I have asked friends and colleagues what they would do with their lives if they did not need to work for money. It’s an interesting thing to think about. My boss was floored by the question. He absolutely did not know. I think he would still do this job.

My former boss used to come to work even on vacation days. It was some macho thing he and another guy had going. They would take a week off because they had the vacation to burn, but then – they would come to work anyhow! Only they would tell everyone they were on vacation. But still at work. Like that was supposed to prove some huge devotion and dedication.

I thought it was stupid. And, as it turned out, it didn’t help their careers. They were both fired. One of them deserved it, but my former boss did not.

If I did not need to work for money, I would still do some sort of volunteer work, but I would not work 50 hours a week. I would commit to maybe 25 hours a week — maybe 20, then maybe take a class, spend time with friends (an essential part of this not working for money life is that your friends also not need to work for money), work out enough to get into killer shape (that means no saggy butt – my Holy Grail), and whip my garden into “Yard of the Month” shape, even though I know the contest is rigged.

I would be really good at being rich.

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