Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Wistful pondering

I am so damn tired tonight, and I have no idea why I'm sitting here now. I'm so tired I don't even want to haul my body to the shower. My eyes don't want to focus. They really don't even want to stay open, and yet here I am, trying to read, trying to write, trying to think about something other than details, deadlines and unmarked to do lists. I'm trying to claim a bit of this day for the things that make me me, not just some drone filling a job.

I work with a woman I deeply admire, and for her, her job is part of her life's mission. It's an extension of her core beliefs about the needs of this world and how one person can go about making a difference. Its challenges are perfect for her ability to solve problems. The daily changes to product and service knowledge require her intelligence. To do her job well, one has to have charm and drive as well as ability, and she has an abundance. In some ways, we're very similar, but for me, this is just a job. I admit I envy her, not for her talents, but for creatively combining her profession with her sense of purpose in life.

I came home tonight wiped out, the details of my day swirling into some mental vortex where they will spin unheeded but not forgotten until tomorrow. I left my office twelve hours almost to the minute after I left my house this morning. It's something millions of people do every day. It's something I've done more times than I can count. It's no big deal. I'm wondering though how different it would feel if I felt more of a sense of purpose in my job. I know that I provide a needed and valuable service. This job does provide more than a paycheck, which is good, especially since the commissions have been terrible lately. I've had jobs that made me feel pointless. I've had jobs where I was so disrespected every day that I nearly lost all respect for humanity.

My sense of purpose, mission and calling won't be fulfilled by my job anytime soon, maybe not ever, even though I've wanted to combine those all of my life. Not having that has taught me the hard way that I am a lot more than my job which is definitely good to know. I am more than my job. I'm more than my looks. I'm more than my geographic setting. I'm more than my income. I am more than a wife, a mother, a daughter or any other role in my life. I'm secure in these things, proud even, but saddened at the same time that I'm still defining myself by some sort of perceived lack or weakness.

I want to think that tonight I'm just tired enough to be experiencing the truism that you can have everything, just not all at the same time. Spirituality and my writing, for whatever it's worth, provide me with a sense of mission, purpose and fulfillment. So does motherhood. Despite the struggles in my marriage and our separation, I know that I've been deeply loved in my life. I've loved deeply. I've had romance and passion. I've enjoyed material success and gone without. I can bitch and moan all I want about the daily struggles, but all in all, I've had so much in my life. I need to remember that, and I also need to sleep. Tonight, I think I can.


Blogger Gannet Girl said...

...I've had jobs that made me feel pointless. I've had jobs where I was so disrespected every day that I nearly lost all respect for humanity...

...for her, her job is part of her life's mission. It's an extension of her core beliefs about the needs of this world and how one person can go about making a difference...

I've experienced all of these in my present job. Same job. Different worldview?

September 20, 2006 5:23 PM  
Blogger alphawoman said...

I think we all have felt that way a time or two in our work life. My job? Everyone takes it so seriously and I just am laughing inside thinking "Its only pop!!" but my lively hood depends on it at this time. but, its such a sham. If I find myself in the marketplace looking again, I believe that I want to work for United Way, Cancer Fund Raising, Red Cross..somewhere along those lines where I will fell what I do makes a difference, not a profit for Fortune 500 company.

September 20, 2006 5:29 PM  
Blogger Theresa Williams said...

Sometimes it helps to look at other writers' lives for support: think of poets like Ted Kooser who had their "day job" and kept writing and perfecting their poems. Kooser worked for an insurance company! When our son got sick this year, I nearly fell off the planet and for a few days thought I'd never write again. But then you get yourself back together and tell yourself you're a writer in spite of your life or even because of your life. You just have to steal away a few precious moments to give yourself over to observation and wonder, and let your right brain do its work. It's a struggle, no doubt about it. You're a fantastic writer, Cynthia. You've just got to believe in what you're doing, that it's as important as every other aspect of your life, and you can't let it slip away. You have to feed it. The ONE thing that has to be consistent in your life is this: "I am a writer." This is a great post. I've been in your shoes, and I still struggle every day to keep my priorities straight. It's kind of like enlightenment; you don't get it all at once and hold onto it forever. We live in cycles of falling apart and coming together. If we can keep writing, no matter if we're falling apart or coming together, then we've got it figured out.

September 21, 2006 12:25 AM  
Blogger Globetrotter said...

"I've had jobs where I was so disrespected every day that I nearly lost all respect for humanity."
Boy, can I relate to that as well! I had to reach the point where I could no longer work and no longer continue to be abused by others in order to realize that it was not me- it was them.

This was an incredibly powerful entry, and you've said so much here that other good women can identify with. Your co-worker is lucky, yes, but you are perhaps much more fortunate in that you've found satisfaction through a much deeper well.

September 21, 2006 7:22 AM  
Blogger Nelle said...

I feel exactly as gannet girl stated. Often it's where we are in ourselves that form our perceptions about our work environment. We all struggle at various times in our lives. I think you are sorting things out and that is something that continues throughout our various stages of life. Wishing you peaceful thoughts and restful nights, Nelle

September 21, 2006 11:22 AM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

I have often fallen into the trap of letting my job define me. It's just what I do. I noticed something, though, when I started back to work just after my sister passed away. Suddenly, all the daily bullshit didn't seem to matter anymore, because I had spent two months doing REALLY important work--attending my sister as she slid toward death and "being there" for her family. For a few months after my sister's death, until I fell back into that work-a-day worry trap, having a job was a whole lot easier.

September 21, 2006 9:57 PM  

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