Is it a Tuesday or Thursday?
As I shuffled to my dreary job, my countenance was cloudier than the Seattle weather. At work, sure, I feigned interest but beneath the thin smile, there was a painful indifference.
And my co-workers could sense it.
But why? Sure the job was duller than a week-old razor, but it provided a consistent income. Why couldn’t I could content myself with a “comfortable” life — one with a paycheck as reliable as the changing seasons. As I bounced from one position to another seeking fulfillment, the distressing thought rattled around my firing synapses: Maybe there is something wrong with me?
Seemingly, contemporaries can work at the same company for three, five, twenty-five years without any whiff of dissatisfaction. My grandmother was a substitute teacher for thirty five years; my father practiced in the same pathology group for thirty years.
Thirty five years in the same position? That sounded more like a prison sentence. As family and friends prodded me with career questions (with a hint of “When will Matt grow up?” resignation), I wondered if I was alone; this swirling mixture of ambition and impatience. Why am I always seeking more — a more fulfilling job; a more enriching job environment? An admitted job hopper — more out of tedium, I wondered whether this perpetual quest for more (whatever more is) somehow uncovered a deep, dark personal flailing.
The comforting answer: No. Instead, my admitted restlessness is a sign of an inquisitive mind yearning for stimulation. Sadly, it took years of self-discovery and, yes, self-flagellation to reach this conclusion.
As I have gotten older, I now realize that monotony dulls my blade. I need a dynamic, ever-changing environment — one that challenges me. When the environment stagnates, I do too. And, then, I react impulsively — borne out of a simmering stew of frustration, impatience, and ambition — and look for something, yes, more.
And this is totally acceptable — despite societal protestations to the contrary. Yes. Really.
For our (grand)parents’ generation, perpetual job hopping or relocation was met with a quizzical, icy stare. What do you mean you are leaving your job? What are you doing? Disapproval choked out of their admonitions.
But in my own quest to live a fulfilling life, the routine and comfortable induces boredom — almost ennui. Conventionality stifles my creativity, inducing a yawning numbness. I become tethered to stuff — the latest technology gadget or fashionable brand. In my quest for personal happiness and betterment, the “mass lifestyle” of weekend consumerism invokes an empty hollowness.
A hopeful idealist and sensitive soul, I now recognize the importance of defining my own happy. For some, a routine life provides structure and stability. Like my father or grandmother, predictability can invoke comfort, familiarity, and ease. And that is okay. For them.
But my happiness is rooted in new experiences — living comfortably uncomfortable. From tackling new employment challenges to visiting far-flung locales, I embrace the new and different.
On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and, well, every other day.