What Is Enough?

“How’s work going?” my father asks me during Christmas dinner. 

I kind of shrug and tell him the truth: I like it well enough. My co-workers are fantastic. The pay is great, especially in comparison to my old jobs. It’s just that I amount of money or friendly colleagues will ever make the law interesting to me. It’s a slog almost every single day. 

“Sometimes I have an existential crisis about it,” I say, “like ‘what am I doing with my life’?” A little dramatic, but sometimes there’s no other way to express yourself. 

“You’re there to provide for your family,” my father said, “just focus on that.”

And this is true. But is it really enough?

Work is where a man spends the vast majority of his waking hours. Providing for a family is almost a compulsion–I certainly have nothing against stay-at-home-dads, and I was one for several months while I was unemployed–but I always knew I wanted to be the breadwinner. I had to. 

And it’s not like we really have the opportunity, or need, to go out and hunt or fight or anything. So desk-jockeying is the closest thing many of us have to “providing.”

So when said desk-jockeying is neither intellectually stimulating or particularly difficult, it does call into question what one is doing with one’s life. 

In other words, it’s clear proof that extrinsic rewards (pay) aren’t always enough. That intrinsic piece (meaning) is missing. 

Yes, this is a “first-world problem.” But it’s something worth thinking about because much of the reality of modern civilization feels so damn unreal

Our time on this earth is limited and starts ticking away from the second we are born. As we use this life to prepare for the next, or just try to get as much out of it until the end, most of us want to think that our existence actually mattered

Yes, we matter to God (if that’s your thing), but there is also the here and now which can’t be ignored. There is still work to be done in life. 

Providing for a family is one of the greatest things one can do. But does it have to be a slog?

No wonder many people have hobbies that border on the point of obsession: sports, hunting, video games, photography, painting, cars. In my case, these are music and writing. 

Whenever we indulge in these fulfilling activities, we’re accused of having a “midlife crisis,” as though outside pursuits are unhealthy. 

And look at this term: “Outside” pursuit. Almost as though what we do for a living is who we are, and everything else is just fluff. 

Funny…I never introduce myself as “Alex the lawyer.” I don’t even use Esq. unless I’m sending official documents related to a case (“Esq.” is also exceedingly douchey.). 

Now, this is the part of any good blog where I’m supposed to offer a lesson or an insight or something, a nice bulleted list of action items that YOU can use to start improving your life TODAY!

But as discussed previously on this blog, I’ve got nothing

Actually, that’s not entirely true. The only “advice” or whatever I can offer is keep dreaming. Our minds are all we’ve got, really, and will always remain free. Never stop thinking big and pondering the impossible (I still dream of being a professional musician or composer someday…talk about a pipe dream) because this just may be the only thing keeping you sane in today’s unreal reality. 

And so I’m still left with my basic question–“What is enough?” I’m muddling through along with the rest of humanity. 

Follow me on Twitter @DaytimeRenegade and Gab.ai @DaytimeRenegade

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2 thoughts on “What Is Enough?

  1. A friend of mine once told me,

    “I think about quitting my job every single day. Then my son looks up at me and says, ‘I’m hungry, Daddy.'”

    The idea that we should find fulfilment in our careers is modernist bullshit (pardon the language, but it’s applicable). It’s an idea that was literally created by corporatists to encourage us to be good little cogs in the machine. In the modern world, it’s mostly been fed to us by feminists (backed by corporate money) to instil the belief in women that work outside the home as a “human resource” is more valuable than the work they used to do inside the home.

    It’s a lie.

    Stop trying to find fulfilment in your work. I know about three people, literally, who actually find it there – and they all work for themselves in truly fantastic jobs. 99.99% of us will never, ever find it there. There’s a reason, after all, that they call it “work.”

    You will be far happier when you adopt the mindset that work is what you do to fund the things that fulfil you. Your father is partially right – your family should be high on that list. But they don’t have to be the only thing.

    Also… start now on the path toward structuring your life so that you no longer rely on “work.” Save. Pay down your debts. Find alternate streams of income. Many small streams of income are better than one large stream of income because it’s more antifragile. Build up a nest egg of “f- you” money so that you can afford to not put up with the workday BS.

    You won’t get there overnight. But if you don’t start, you’ll never get there at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Daytime Renegade says:

      Thanks for the comment!

      Yes, it is largely a b.s. notion. I’m not asking for a job I *love* per se, just trying to deal with the sheer tedium of it all, like the time that could be used on other useful things is ticking away.

      And I absolutely agree on trying to make it so that one doesn’t have to rely solely on one’s job. I’m dutifully trying to do the “pay down debts” part, though the holidays don’t help.

      Like

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