Monday, April 30, 2007

Dead and Sleeping....

I woke up early this morning. Not as early as I had planned, but 30 minutes earlier than normal, which is an achievement for me. Typically I wake up around 6:45 in order to leave for work at 7:05. It doesn't leave much room for error, but I've never had much motivation to wake up any earlier.

Lately it feels as if my life is alternating between 2 states of conciousness;

dead and sleeping....

I wake up in the morning with nothing to look forward to but performing the day's tasks. They give me no mental stimulation beyond that which is required to perform at a minimum level. I trudge through the day the best I can, and by the evening, when I may actually have time to do something I enjoy such as spending time with my fiance', writing music, or reading a book, I have no mental capacity left. Even these times are few and far between as every night seems to be filled with more and more to do.

I realize it sounds as if I live a drab existance and am generally unhappy with life, but this is not the case. I'm simply exhausted, and I feel that the problem lies in my inability to live up to one of my own mottos; "Everything in moderation."

Life can easily be consumed with mundane tasks that this world deems important. Society seems to be screaming at us that it is our responsibility to make as much money and have as many "things" as possible. To live up to this standard we give up dreams to work high paying jobs we don't like so that we can buy things we don't need to impress a society that doesn't know what's best for us. I must admit that despite my efforts for simplification, I have fallen prey to this mindset.

My biggest err in judgement actually happened slowly over a long period of time. Only now that it has consumed my life am I able to see how it first began to creep in. In his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey explains how everyone is centered around 7 or 8 traits that truly define them as a person and in order to remain balanced, they must actively seek to nurture those traits and not become distracted with the frivolous things that life is constantly throwing at us. For me I would say the top 4 things that would define me are my relationship with my fiance', an artistic nature, an introspective mindset and the goals of an entreprenuer. The problem arose when I started replacing the activities that nourished these traits with activities that nourished mere busy-ness. When I started working as a stock broker on top of working at Starbucks, all the time I used to spend reading, writing and thinking was spent studying for my Series 7 exam and working an extra 30 hours a week. The stress of the job and the hours I spent at work distanced me from my fiance' and strained the relationship. I became less introspective, less artistic and increasingly focused on the bottom line. As soon as the bottom line was my focus, I began losing the joy I use to experience day to day. The music that used to make me feel accomplished now made me feel like a failure because I was not yet able to make a living at it. The obsession to make a full time living as a musician soon started straining relationships in the band which in turn conjured more feelings of failure.

My life has become a routine which services someone else's goals, ignores what is important to me, and is starting to increasingly diminish my health and happiness...

...but I woke up early this morning. I read un-interrupted for the first time in a long time. I watched the sun come up and sipped my coffee at my leisure and not between words on a phone call. I reflected for the most refreshing 20 minutes I've had in months. I look forward to waking up in the morning tomorrow, even earlier. I'll watch the sunrise again, read more CS Lewis, and enjoy my coffee. I'm still not going to like coming to work, but I'm hoping that if I can at least start to focus on what is important and needed in my life rather than the rat race, my dislike for my job will slowly be replaced by the joy that I will be allowing to resurface.

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