Sunday, 10 March 2013

Keeping Inspired in the 9 to 5 World

That damn alarm first thing in the morning is absolutely my worst enemy on this planet. There is no birds-are-chirping-it’s-a-beautiful day-in-the-neighbourhood crap upon hearing that horrible fucking thing come to life in the early a.m. My hatred for it cannot be overstated.

I have made attempts to improve my “morning alarm experience" by setting songs that are alive with raw attitude, such as McClusky’s “To Hell with Good Intentions”, to play just as the time arrives for me to emerge from my dream state and re-enter the cold, shitty real world. Sadly, it does little to help. In fact, I have come to hate “To Hell with Good Intentions”, now forever associated with those rude, unwanted wake-ups.

For the first few hours after my alarm, my outlook usually remains dour, especially when it comes to the horrors I will inevitably be facing outside my apartment on any given weekday:  crammed buses, street-walking sales people, junkies attempting to bum change, and, most prominently, endless office drones, looking more like extras from The Walking Dead than actual living, breathing human beings, mournfully making their way to one of many office buildings spread out across the city - it’s all painful, soul-crushing stuff. Oh, and speaking of soul-crushing, let’s not forget about that little destination we're all hurriedly making our way towards - work. Ah yes, work - the glorious, time-killer/life-waster that for many of us, usually takes place between the hours of nine to five.

I'm sure I'm not alone in saying this whole "work" thing I just made reference to really only serves a single purpose: paying the bills (barely). That is where my interest begins and ends. Beyond that, it only keeps me from spending my days doing anything I actually enjoy.

The depressing daily grind can really get to you, especially if you're not really designed for the line of work in which you now find yourself. Many, like myself, no doubt stumbled into their respective jobs as a means to an end, a stepping stone, or a temporary source of income until something better and more promising came along. But time has a funny way of disappearing into the ether, and before you know it, you will have been sitting at the same desk, working in the same factory, or waiting the same tables, for more years than you care to remember (or admit to).

Worse, getting bogged down working a thankless job can lead to your real passion fading into the abyss, long before you even realise it. Then, one lonely night, sitting on your couch, watching Conan and enjoying a quiet nightcap, your mind will randomly flash back to a better time, a happier time, and for a brief, sad moment, you will remember that you were once a much more interesting person.
I have found myself in the very same position, on more than one occasion... It is a strange feeling to suddenly recall and miss something you hadn't realised had even gone away, until that painful moment when memories of the real you come rushing back.

Hopefully, this quick flashback to a better version of you will be enough to kick-start you into once again getting yourself back on the right path. If a little more motivation is required, trying thinking about what the eighteen year old version of yourself would think if he or she were ever unlucky enough to somehow look into the future and catch a glimpse of the present-day version. Would they be happy, or would they not think twice about taking a dive off the nearest roof and ending it all right then and there?

What also works, as I recently found out, is an honest, no-bullshit, just-the-hard-facts style talking to / lecture courtesy of a concerned - and understandably frustrated - friend. It may feel like a cold, hard slap to the face, but damn if it doesn't work. Bottom line, if you're not in a job that is your passion or your dream; one that fills you with an absolute joy for life, then at the very least try spending a few hours outside of said job doing something that is. It will make one helluva difference to your whole outlook.

All this is easier said than done, though. Whether your bag is painting, volunteer work, bondage nights, or writing a shitty blog that no one reads, keeping motivated enough to continue pursuing that special something you actually enjoy – the reason you feel you were put on this earth - while spending five days a week in an air-conditioned nightmare, can prove quite the challenge.

Let's take my typical working day, for example - Usually, it will take me until around about eleven
am to reach a point I would consider “fully awake” (again - not a morning person). Then, around one - post-coffee, post - lunch, when the blood is flowing and focus finally returns, inspiration will finally begin to kick in - not for anything actually work-related, mind you, just the post-work activities I actually give a shit about. The important stuff.

From here, the struggle will be to then hold onto this inspiration until the clock strikes five, and even after this, there will be further hurdles, the most glaring of which will be the strong desire to partake in a little post-office relaxation time. Avoiding the couch, in particular, is far from easy;  it's pretty damn tempting to head straight to a comfortable three-seater after eight straight hours of soul-crushing, mental ass-fuckery.

On the days where I am personally able to pass the "couch test", there are still further considerations – cooking dinner, washing those dishes that are now stacked all the way to the ceiling, doing something about that pile of clothing that has somehow grown into something resembling Everest.

After all those obstacles are out of the way, it will finally be time to focus on my passion profect. At this point, however, it will likely not be early, and by the time I am finally on some kind of a roll, the unwanted realisation will hit that it’s now about five hours until I have to get up and do the whole "work" thing all over again. This is the part I struggle with the most - cutting myself off to get a little shut eye before doing it all again the following day.

If I am motivated enough to stick to this schedule,  I will find myself growing more and more zombie-like as the week progresses until, on Friday, I will enter through my front door to collapse on my couch to catch up on the sleep missed over the course of the last four days.

Surely there's a better way to pay the rent and follow your dreams right? Perhaps that is a better questions for Anthony Robins. As far as I'm concerned, there's really only two choices: 1) Quit your job, live like a true artist (poor and starving) and commit full time to your life’s dream, or 2) Stick with your job and learn to live with a complete lack of sleep, happy in the knowledge that you are not wasting the moments that truly count, the hours outside of 9am - 5pm.

For me, it will need to remain option two, at least for the time being, because livin’ ain’t cheap, and fuck it, sleep in overrated anyhow.

Besides, no matter how sleep deprived you ultimately are, or how much of a struggle it can all prove to be at times, it's a hell of a lot better than the alternative - finding yourself sitting alone on your couch late one night, well rested but desperately unhappy, reminiscing of a time long since passed, a time when you actually gave a damn about yourself.

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