In the same vein as my last post “My Life is My Ritual“, I’ve been thinking about attempting to go back to work, but can’t really get there. I can’t see myself finding joy or even liking working at a mundane job. And I’m too old to engage in something soul-sucking or go back to college.
No, my partner and I are not wealthy-we live very frugally and grow much of our own food (yes, including meat). Going back to work would mean that we would have money for extras-for things like going to a movie, or buying something that’s not in the budget (like a car), or going on vacation. In other words, for “fun stuff.”
I look at a lot of people who are trying to make something work, to make a living at writing or art or travel, or even being pretty, and I see people that are creating fluff. Hot air. What the old-timers would call “make work”. ** Younger people are trying to be all hip and cool, creating this look, this feel, this ‘thing’ that makes you want to buy their book, or take their class, and be just like them, (I stumbled on to a couple of doozies recently) but there’s NOTHING of substance in what they’re creating. It’s a bit like ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes” except this is a blog or a book or an Instagram account. And while everyone is oohing and ahhing over the new thing, I’m over here like “What thing?”.
I just don’t get the hype and content-less content. My partner commented that it’s like porn. It’s just made to look pretty and sell stuff. It’s a place to get lost in the fantasy that you are cool like them, no matter the cost. Or, like we always say about some pre-packaged food that is trendy yet when tasted falls far short of it’s hype and media glitz: “It was made to sell, not to eat.”
I mean, I’ll admit it-I don’t fit in the world that is. I never have. I was a changeling child left to fend for myself in this strange place we call 20th Century America. So thinking about recreating myself and going back out into the world is like going back to work on the Death Star, but only this time, woke. Or like working in the Matrix cleaning machines even though you took the red pill and can’t go back to sleep. So I find it nearly impossible to want to go back to a simple retail job or more incomprehensible to create (and hype/market/promote) a new me.
I just can’t do it. Yes it would be lovely to go to Hawaii, or France or even to the freaking coast for a weekend, or treat my great-nieces and nephews to something more than pancakes once a year on their birthdays, but if it means selling my soul to get the money to do the thing that everyone else is doing, that media tells you makes you look cool, sexy, will bring you happiness, money, power, or whatever, I just CAN’T!
This happens about once a year-this urge to DO, usually fueled by Spring or someone else who has taken a trip, but it’s also fueled DAILY by the media. As hard as I try, I cannot get away from all of the flash, bang and glitz that tells me I should engage in the flow-should activate the new awesome ME!
But you know what? The people selling that flow are making money. When you buy that book that will tell you the secret to how to make money (I’ll save you the trouble-the answer is write a book to tell others how to make money) or achieve “true” happiness, they are playing on what everyone wants, FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF MAKING A DOLLAR. They don’t give a crap if you read the book, or eat the cereal, they got your money. THE FLOW is PROFIT DRIVEN. So all of those pretty memes that tell you to go out and find your passion, try to excite you into “I think I can!” or encourage you to strive to be better, they want you in that flow. Because either way, they profit. If you buy the book, they got your money. You got your 10 min of feel good and now the book is in the giveaway pile. If you listen to all of those “You can do it!” cheerleaders and FAIL, they’ve got you even more, because now you’re depressed-now you will eat their candy bar (and buy that next book too), because depressed people in individual boxes are very profitable.
But what if you decide not to buy any of it? What if you won’t even buy the “I’m a Rockstar” teeshirt, with unicorns and sparkles?
What if you stayed home?
What if you saved the gas, read a book (used of course) and better yet, took a walk, meditated, raised food in a garden, tilled soil or just SAT STILL. What then?
And that’s where I keep coming back to. Everything is meant to profit someone else except sitting still.
Most people in America only are still when they sleep, and even at that, they don’t sleep enough, or they sleep like crap. But what if we just opted out? What if we stopped trying to sell each other the latest tee shirt, gizmo, website, candy bar or hype?
What if we stopped seeing everyone as a potential client (hello California) and just sat still?
Yes, for most people that means a job. But what if people just went to work daily with a neutral mind and no agenda, no ego, no attachment to outcomes or paychecks-in other words, still the mind? When your mind is still, you don’t need stuff.
What I envision as my perfect ideal of this, is Bilbo Baggins sitting outside of his house, looking at his garden, smoking his pipe and pondering his lunch.
Hobbits know what a small life looks like, and they are happy.
Hobbits know better than to throw thousands of dollars away on adventures to far off places.
Hobbits know what Dorothy finally figured out: “if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard; because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”
You don’t need to fill holes created by stress and media hype with more nothingness, or doingness, or goingness.
When you sit still you save money. I know most people would disagree with me when I say it’s far easier to save money than to spend it. If you’ve ever heard anyone talk about externalized costs (hello Walmart) you would understand that when you’re out trying to make money, the externalized cost comes from life eating away at your body.
Why? So you can sell auto parts, or vinyl flooring or media content management?
I know this isn’t for everyone, but the concept is. How far each person takes it is up to them. My time, my mind and my body are precious. And if you’ve been given the great gift, as I have, of living with a master of frugality, having a tiny mortgage that’s paid off, and most of your food right out your front door, it would be insane to drown yourself in the flow…
Maybe I’m just writing this out to talk myself into not going back to work. It’s good to be skeptical of your own thinking…
But maybe, just maybe, I’ve been dealt the golden peace that is the only thing I always desired to manifest as a young girl…
Maybe my musings will help someone else to see that there is life outside the flow. Maybe the secret to happiness is in my own back yard, where I can sit and watch my garden grow, and watch the flow pass by my door, contented with my small life.
** Post Script:
In retrospect, and to be fair, this now seems a bit harsh. I can think of quite a number of people who ARE writing books or creating online classes, taking clients for certain things over the internet, etc. These people ARE doing a service for others. Their books and courses are worth buying and are life-changing and they are doing ground-breaking work, some of them. Those people are exceptions to the majority. There are a lot of people though that are just selling hype. And for those selling the hype so that they can afford trips to Costa Rica or Hawaii twice a year, and expensive clothes, and the latest iPhone or iWhatever, for those that are stuck in the IMAGE, I’m talking to you. No, I don’t have a cell phone plan, or fancy clothes, or vacations, but I’m happy and I have peace. That’s not found in hype, it’s found in sitting still. And that’s worth a billion dollars.