I never thought I’d be the type of person who found themselves in the self-help section of the Barnes & Noble, but there I was, and here I am.
Honestly, when your whole life encircles your work like mine does, your personal morale is completely based on your success at work, something completely outside of yourself. This, I admit, is unhealthy.
Don’t get me wrong, some people are doing fantastic things with their life’s work: doctors, lawyers, scientists, developers – real people make tremendously positive impact on the world, and dammit we need those people! I think it’s a completely valid way to view one’s world as driven by their work. That’s one way of considering one’s job. The second view is to consider a job a job and leave work at that, it’s not overly complicated. The success comes from outside the working sphere: family, friends, joining a bowling league, having interests and hobbies, creating things “on the side,” and always making plans for the weekend. Life’s richness stems from creating one’s world outside of work – doing what you have to do in order to do/have what you want.
No one way is the right way, and depending on the type of person you are, you’ll identify with one or the other. Ideally, one’s life will be perfectly balanced: a fulfilling professional career, a beautiful family, loyal compadres to commune with often, a dog, social events that don’t compromise work obligations, work events that don’t overlap holidays and birthday plans, solitude when you need it, an never-ending stream of entertainment at your fingertips. You get the whole package, and your 80 some-odd years of life are saturated with good foods, good stories, a great mattress, and not a stressful or boring day a one.
So what does it say about me when I struggle at work on a daily basis, am single with absolutely zero prospects for the future, have only one friend in the city that I rarely see, don’t act on my creative hobbies, have no physical outlet to speak of, and sleep all day (due to working overnight hours, a schedule I maintain for the most part on my off days)? It means I’m hella unhappy and find myself in the goddamn self-help section at the B&N.
I feel the need to use emoticons here. My humor is dry, and trust me I’m laughing as I write this. I’m no longer dedepressed. I did that for 10 years, and I genuinely think I’ve conquered it. I’ve been on my own, lived in several cities, traveled for fun, experienced a larger world, and I came out more confident in myself. I’m strong now – not unwaveringly so, but strong in my understanding of self. However, that doesn’t give me license to conclude my development. So… (motions to the computer screen), yeah.
I’m going to chronicle my way through this piece, sharing my answers to Falconer’s reader-driven portion of the work. Go ahead, analyze me. Because I’m doing it, too. I hope recreating her questions here aren’t some weird copyright infringement, because the bulk of the writing will be my own words. Also, it’s 2019 and the internet is all-pervasive. So if you wanted, you could probably find the questions posted on several dozen other sites. I, at least, bought the damn thing. Still, I won’t post without citing the work, and I will keep Falconer’s words to a minimum in order to maintain the integrity of her work.
Falconer, Erin. How to Get Sh*t Done. New York, NY: Gallery Books, 2018.