Justin here. This Sunday is a day of rest for us here today. Bit of a lazy day, frustratingly. It’s too cold to be outside, and our budget is too thin to take Lilith out somewhere this month. We don’t go nearly as hard on the holiday shopping anymore, but we do still set ourselves back some because it does feel good to give, as much as we don’t want to associate our love strictly with gifts, toys, money, etc. I wonder how “boring” days will compare for us when we are living on our planned homestead, as I imagine we will have much more to do. Today, we have done much reading, discussing, and meditating as well as playing with Lilith, but beyond that we are playing the waiting game to sell our condo and to figure out where is best for us to go in the interim for saving our finances for the move when we are logistically ready to do so.
With not much going on today, I wanted to share some of my writing from a lunch break I had about a month ago, when I was working on a Saturday for another long week of overtime. It was therapeutic for me to write, and it helped me cement the realization that my days working a dead-end job like this have to be numbered. I can’t do this for another 30+ years. I can’t afford retirement here from a financial standpoint, and my spirit has already had enough of wasting away and rotting in exchange for money and the false promise that if I work my ass off I will have the big house and the fancy car. When I stepped back and thought about it, I don’t even really want the big house and the fancy car. I don’t need that, and it doesn’t validate me as a human being to have that. That’s what other people want for me, and that’s what was planted in my mind, as it may be planted in yours, as what I needed to do to be considered successful and gain approval. I only need my own approval now. People may think I’m weird, but that’s ok. For the first time, I feel a real sense of my purpose in this life, and that makes me feel genuinely happy.
Here is some of that introspective writing that helped me gain some clarity in my life:
I fall out of bed, somehow on my feet, but not quite awake. It’s dark. I’m sleep-deprived. I check my phone. Its light is blinding, but I see it is 6 AM. The moonlight is beautiful shining in the room. A rare gift of nature to behold, but I have no time to admire it. I’m a half hour behind schedule. I wanted to get in extra early so I could get out extra early. I stumble and bumble in the dark to get dressed. I hate every passing second. Lilith is still asleep. I won’t get to see her. Another Saturday lost to “The Man.” Stupid fucking debt. I disturb Lace from her sleep with a kiss good-bye. “Have a good day,” she manages to faintly exhale before falling right back to sleep.
It’s crisp cold outside. Leaves crunch beneath my feet and smoke blows from my mouth. I’ve been out of bed maybe 5 minutes now, and I’m about to operate a vehicle. The car costs me $350 a month in payments, gas, and insurance, all so I can get to work to make money to pay for the car. The tires are low on air again. I just renewed the registration on the car, and it’s due for an oil change and state inspection again. More time and money to be slaved away. Lace’s car will need it soon, too, so she can drive Lilith to and from school as well as grocery shop.
Bright headlights pull up fast in my rear-view and pass on the right. The car loudly expels fossil fuels into the atmosphere, in the name of getting to the next red light faster than me because they are more important. We’re the only schmucks on the road at this time. It’s still dark out as I pull up to the facility.
This nursing home is rated one of the best. The décor is made to look like an outdated hotel, but it’s still an institution. I look up at the window to the rehab gym from outside as I’m walking to the building. Two workers are already there on the clock. They couldn’t wait to get to work. Genuine workaholics. Same mentality I was raised to have. Your value as a man is equal to the overtime you earn. They each have an hour longer on their work schedules than me on this day. I’m glad my day isn’t as long, and I recognize my progress in life, as 6 months earlier I would have been pissed at having an hour less. I would’ve taken it as a personal affront to my value. On this day, I have a full day of overtime pay ahead of me, in any case. I’m getting closer to being free from this, and having an hour less means I can be back home with my family an hour earlier.
The other workers talk to each other proudly about how they’re on the clock seven days a week, working long days at multiple jobs. They accept that this pace is what it takes to survive financially here, and one mentions how he went out to some expensive restaurant the other night for tacos. These people work hard and take pride in their work. They take ownership in their jobs. Their careers are their identities. They seem to think their degrees and licenses make them more valuable than the next guy. They don’t realize that they are really seen as interchangeable parts to the major corporation, much like worker bees. They can be replaced tomorrow by a new time of prideful, hard workers who will also think that they are so appreciated and valued by the corporate powers that be for their insane level of commitment.
I clock in at 6:35, already counting down to clocking out for the day. Still dark outside, I read Lace’s blog post while pretending to work. Her post is long but captivates my interest, and when I’m finished reading, I look up and see the sun came out at some point, finally bringing some daylight. It’s another beautiful day to be a slave, pining for the life I really want. But I know we’re getting closer to having it.