Everyone deserves some kind of fulfillment in their lives. Many small creators have day jobs, which often drain us, leave us exhausted. We come home, sit on our couches, too tired to do much of anything. And, of course, children and families take up a lot of time, too. Sometimes, our work or hobbies can sit, untouched.
Day jobs, for many of us, are unrewarding. The vast swaths of our lives spent under a corporate umbrella are painful, and barely justify our own expenditure – time and energy. Many of us worry about bills, even after putting in our forty-plus hours. Companies often see us as less than human, and don’t allow us basic dignities. Some restaurants throw food away rather than feed their own struggling workers, who are devoting their time, energy, and sanity to the establishments.
Let me repeat that. They’d rather see the food in the rubbish than nourish the people who work for them, who very well may not be getting enough to eat.
Some might say, “Work harder.” For what? An overlord to deny you scraps? Others might say, “Get more skills.” Dealing with the general public is a skill, and one an advanced degree has not given me. I have a deep disgust for exactly the kinds of people who say those things, and I would also say to them, “Please, gather a bundle of stinging nettles and insert them deep into your rectum. No lube.”
Our world is ugly, and full of ugly people.
I walked into a pet supply store with my dog the other day. The clerk made some conversation, saying she liked my hair color as she rang me up. Cue an older Gen-X customer clearing her throat and saying for the second time, “Excuse me! These shelves are empty! And something I need is on the top shelf. You need to do something about these empty shelves.” Does she not know that most stores are suffering in this same way? Also, I can guarantee that pet supply store is not paying that poor clerk enough to deal with people like that. (I was making good money and having to deal with the public. I spent too many nights binge drinking and smoking too many cigarettes.)
Isn’t fulfillment what we work towards? To have some kind of life that gives us fulfillment? Because, otherwise, what is the actual point? To go through motions nearly every day to make enough to eat, sleep, do chores, and then be at work again? That’s a bleak fucking life.
The United States has some of the worst leave and social safety nets out of developed countries, as if we have to justify our existence by paying in misery. Some of the Boomers in my life think hard work and spending a lot of time in an expendable position is a virtue. Wasting your life? Those precious breaths? For some suit who probably doesn’t give a shit about you?
Fulfillment for me is writing. Even if it isn’t all very good. It’s what I love, and I hope to keep getting better. For someone else, it might be painting. Maybe it’s hiking or exploring for others. Maybe it’s simple moments with family and loved ones when they’re not too tired.
I lost my sister closest in age a little over a year ago. A brain tumor claimed her, whittling her away for a year and a half. It was one of the most agonizing deaths I’ve witnessed. She left behind a one-year-old daughter, who she’d recently left work to raise.
No one ever dies and wishes they spent more time at work. Time is precious and we cannot get it back.
Yet, businesses lay claim to employees’ hours, expecting early arrivals and late departures, as if the employees just love to spend time in corporate hell. This isn’t truly living. We need to get back to the basics of living. We need less work and more play. We need to have hobbies that don’t necessarily make us a profit. We need to find what makes us happy in our daily lives.