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Adventure and Chaos

I learned something about myself this summer. Kind of shocking, I know. An over-analytical and overly self-aware human actually reflected on her life and learned something?! It should be front-page news because the chances of that happening are so slim that the ice caps have a better chance of melting completely causing sea levels to rise and environmental catastrophes to roam the earth. Oh wait.

Sarcasm and hyperbole aside, I actually had a pretty weird summer filled with a little travel, a little self-loathing, and a lot of chaos and adventure. I won’t bog you down with the details of this chaotic adventure, but I will say that it has given me a new perspective on work (a word which, for some reason, always autocorrects to having a capital ‘W’ on my phone) and its place in our lives.

As a WASP raised by WASPs of the Northeast, I’ve been blessed (cursed) with a serious work ethic. That’s not to say that I’m any better or worse than anyone else, but it is to say that I actually LOVE working.

This is odd…apparently.

I spent a month working a summer job for very little pay, and after it ended, I had a week before my regular job started back up.

It has been the longest week of my life.

What do people on vacation do when they aren’t traveling? All I’ve done is cleaned, thought about what I’m going to do at work when I go back, purged my closet, thought about all the new things I wanted to try when I go back to work, watched copious amounts of television and terrible movies, and of course, thought about how many days remained before I could go back to work. And, that takes care of Day 1.

I posted a Snapchat that essentially cried out my workless woes, stating: “I’m currently contemplating how to build a time machine either to go back to the past or forward to the future so I can be back at work.” There was some sort of Bitmoji to express my boredom in a visual form. This Snapchat prompted some disappointed and angry responses from some of my friends who feel that working is just a means to an end. This, I think, is the healthier and more normal viewpoint of Work. (God. Damn. Autocorrect.)

At this point, you’re probably convinced that I don’t have much of a life, and well, that is one way to look at it. I do spend the majority of my life working; but, I would argue that I also spend the majority of my life doing something I love to do. And, the other parts of my life are spent doing other things I love to do: travel, hang out with friends, chill with a nice glass of whiskey and some shit programs, etc. So, while you see “no life,” I see extreme self-indulgence.

I’ve learned that I need a little chaos and a little adventure to feel like my life is going okay. It may seem counterintuitive to you, but I find that without any problems to solve or any fires to put out, I feel rather aimless and useless. It causes me to simply float on and wait for the other shoe to drop.

Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to be like my angry and disappointed friends, to work to have money to do things you love to do. Does that make their life fuller than mine? Is it even worth comparing?

My personal preferences when it comes to both work and play prompt me to feel both empowered and inadequate simultaneously. As much as I love working and feel that my strengths are best shown through work, I sometimes feel that I’m missing out on some big secret or other big adventures simply by indulging myself in work.

But, the truth is that pontificating about the point of life can keep us from living our lives. Take it from an over-analyst, we can’t spend so much time trying to fit into someone else’s definition of a “successful life” or a “good life” because we need to focus on defining that for ourselves.

And, I guess maybe that’s the true lesson for this summer. While things may appear to be falling down around you, it may simply be an opportunity to grow or to empower yourself to figure out what you’re truly good at and embrace it.

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