sep 11, 2023
it’s been almost a whole summer since i finished the degree and the whole school thing. when i was in school, everyone expected that i'm filling my days with studying, that i study to become something and find a better job because of it. it was quite easy to answer “how are you” and “what are you up to”, because i could use a random generic phrase and most of the time it was enough. studying, that was generic.
after an exhausting, heartbreaking year, i moved back home with my parents. in the beginning, i primarily wanted a reset – in tangible space around me, intangible space within me and my relationships surrounding it all. right before leaving, i wasn’t so sure about who i am without the city and the people who lived in it.
after all those years i finally learned to like it. knew where to find the best sourdough bread and ice cream, had various wholesome memories of cooking meals with friends, spending warm summer evenings in parks observing the changing sunlight, called a villa garden my own, lived in a nice neighbourhood with two of my closest people, had a little balcony garden. when the final journey came, i almost exploded, full of these and many other thoughts and memories.
then came my solitary month in italy, the longest time i’ve ever spend on my own. even though the surroundings weren't so in line with me, i managed to maintain a nice routine – getting up early, grinding coffee while observing where the cats have been sleeping outside that night, making porridge with ripe fruit and surprisingly watery yoghurt, sitting in the window overlooking the lake while eating it. reading or researching whatever i fancied at the moment. cooked something when i was hungry, did a little bit of *work*, went to the lake to have a swim and more reading. i don't know if my mind can be completely calm or still, but there was something particularly calming in experiencing events like an ant apocalypse, where the ants were travelling on and through the walls of the historical house i was staying at. i still had difficult moments, but learned they usually correspond logically to my cycle, at least in their intensity, even though i’m surprised every time the pattern occurs again.
in my mind i was still going back to the life in the city, and sort of grieving it in a way, when suddenly something shifted. i realized with how much noise (in broader sense of the word) i had to deal with everyday and how tired it made me in the long run. how, in spite of living close to my friends, we didn't see each other more. how almost anything i did suddenly felt consumerist rather than truly lived. it felt like the city wanted me to be that way – for most of the time i forgot that i'm happiest when i pick fruit and arrange flowers, stroll on a bike, manage to bake a decent cake or spend time near water, hyping myself to have a dip in it. i was always reminded of it just after i left, or, and i still haven't solved this mystery properly, in copenhagen.
since then i’ve been in the city a few times, always taking time to meet or visit my friends. most of them are doing *the usual things* – working (at least) 8 hours a day, moving further away from the city but staying “close” to it, buying apartments, travelling to whatever countries are hot atm as their highlights of the year. it's not that i feel behind that makes me confused, i don't feel that way. it's that i don’t really aspire to any of it. if the mission of the school system is to mold humans into functional, fitting parts of the market or whatever konrad p. liessmann said, why did it not work on me?
`do you work to live?`
`or live to work?`
`when's the time to live if you work?`
`wtf is: work-life balance?`
`wtf is: work, and what isn't?`
`what is the meaning of work?`
`what is it that we do?`
the word *work* for me has undertones of something i don't want to do, but have to. sometimes i’m thinking about the word labour, which is probably harder, more difficult work with great effort put in and also a word for delivering a baby.
i’ve been drowning myself in various thoughts regarding work (and life). in those self-pitying thought spirals, i feel like any job is just benefiting the current system, exploitative by nature, making something sell more – and that it doesn't matter if it’s from a marketing office or a café, because you still have to be presentable and have certain manners, so nobody has an issue, doesn’t complain and comes back for your services (or the junk of your time). asap, no mistakes, no delays. it's almost always about enabling someone to sell and earn more. finally, one can try and make something that (a lot of) people would want to own or experience and be on the other side of it all.
i was asking myself *how is everyone doing the work thing so easily and freely* for a while more than *why can’t i do it too,* but that shifted. it’s not that i don't do any work ever, but still… am i spoiled in a way? too naive?
for most of my life, i was thinking that maybe i’m exceptionally lazy. when i say out loud that i don't really want to work, that's probably what most people think is going on. but i know i can do well, and even be positively productive (yes, i don't love this word either), if it's something i truly believe in. because then i don't even need to motivate myself, i just do it naturally, in own time and rhythm, mine or aligned with my peers. i’m still quite shocked when i hear that someone’s got their 9 to 5 and i’m always curious how it is for them, how does it feel. i’m terrified of it since i can remember, and still can’t see it as a logical step after finishing school, even now, writing this from my childhood bedroom, without proper plans.
most of the things that make deep sense to me, like community-software.axdx and anything intertwined with it, won't make anyone’s living for a long while, but still need a lot of time (or work, if you can handle it) put into it more or less consistently, so i know i want to have dedicated time for it, and not get swept away by some random job. i don't know if it's black and white thinking, but i have no idea what to do with it all and to be honest, in the middle of my weeping sessions i just wish someone good to hold my hand and help me to find a way, because i don't see it.
what does one do when feeling like a broken part with no option to grit their teeth and get through it? will i suddenly get over it? is it just a quarter-life crisis? should i move to copenhagen and see if the reality is more bearable there?