It’s always the same story, isn’t it? You go to school, study, graduate, get a job, work, retire and that’s it.
I hated school with all my being. Getting up at 6am, being tired all morning, sitting on a chair all day, hearing about stuff I didn’t care about, until it was finally time to go back home, just in time to eat and go to sleep. How many kids cry in the morning? How many kids hate school?
When I think back, I’m so angry that all those years I could have spent doing and learning interesting stuff, I was instead obligated to follow this routine. When you’re young, your brain is firing up, ready to learn, you have plenty of interests, you need to read, to be fascinated with things, to be outdoors, to sleep according to your own pattern, to run, to follow your instincts, …
Why, instead, are we obligated to spend all these days doing something we don’t want to? When I remember how I felt in the morning or when I see kids getting up for school, I honestly can’t help but compare this to torture.
So you can imagine how much I was impatient to graduate, and happy when one morning I finally woke up and didn’t have to go to school. But then I started working, and I realized that it was exactly the same thing.
The jobs I had were not hard, not difficult, they were even rather agreeable as far as jobs go. But the fact that I had to go somewhere every day, doing stuff that wasn’t super helpful to me or the world, waiting and waiting till the day was over, it was killing me. Every minute that I was sitting at my desk, I was thinking “I could be reading right now, I could be writing right now, I could be trying out a new dish right now, I could be buying plane tickets right now, I could have a say in what I’m doing right now instead of being forced to sit behind that stupid desk”.
Sound familiar? Look at the people in the subway at 8am. Look at them behind their desks. Look at them walking back home at night. Look at their faces.
There’s no denying it, a lot of people are feeling the same way I do.
The good thing is that there is still one big difference between school and work : you don’t have a choice about going to school, but once you’re an adult, life is full of choices. If you are where you are right now, it’s because you chose it.
A few months after starting my working life, I got really scared. As a student, I could see the end of the tunnel, but I suddenly realized that this was it, I was in life. I felt as if I had put my hand inside a gear, and it was turning, turning, trapping and crushing my hand, trying to swallow my whole body.
Grinding me to dust.
So I did the only thing that made sense : I yelped, struggled, kicked and pulled my hand out.
Quit my job, started this blog, booked some plane tickets, moved, survived on savings then off small writing jobs. Not in a second, all this happened over several months, and not without a good deal of thought. It was no nonsense of “quit your job and go”, it was a thought out life change. I might have to take jobs again, here and there. But never, never, will I let myself get trapped again.
Life is short, but still every second is so powerfully felt. Why would I spend one minute of my time doing something that I don’t like and that doesn’t truly profit to anyone? It doesn’t make sense.
Why are things organized so that most of us spend our whole lives doing boring work, wasting our precious time? I don’t understand anymore.
You can still kick and pull your hand out, you can still try to find something that makes you happy, that makes every second count, to escape the daily grind, no matter your age or situation in life. Think it through, life is made of choices, you should never feel trapped.
I made my choice : I will spend every second pursuing happiness, whatever it means for me at that particular time. It doesn’t matter how much I own, or what I accomplish. I have no plan of greatness, except for the one to be happy. I think it’s a pretty amazing achievement on its own, and the only one that matters, at the very end.