Brat Farrar (bratfarrar) wrote,
Brat Farrar

a 'what if'

There's a certain kind of clarity that comes from being sick and physically miserable, especially when it comes paired with some big, unrelated frustration. You start to think about what it would mean to get away from everything, including yourself.

What would you regret losing? What are you still doing/valuing just because at some point you did actually value it?

In my case, I'm continuing on from Tuesday's brief musing into what it would be like to no longer have computer/internet access.

I'd miss games. The catharsis of shooting giant spiders or flying around real fast in a spiffy space ship; the logistics-puzzles of survival games,; the social aspect of playing with friends and relatives (and most of the latter are also the former, for me). Games are what first interested me when I was a kid (Chip's Challenge! Hellbender! The Incredible Machine!), and while you could argue I'd see an increase in productivity, I don't know. I've found that building something in the virtual world can inspire to build something in the real world, or serve as mental/social refreshment.

But maybe it would be good for me: maybe I'd spend more time playing old-style board and card games with family, would turn those creative impulses towards more concrete projects. Maybe I'd spend more time staring out the window, letting my mind wander.

I'd miss YouTube, which has almost completely replaced the broadcast TV and VHS/DVDs of my youth. My subscription list is relatively small, each channel supplying something specific--games, literary conversation, philosophy, a bit of politics, a sense of zen...

Without it, I'd revert to listening to music CDs and audiobooks, which again could very well be more healthy: music--or at least the type I tend to listen to--tends to be more medatative than the background chatter I've been increasingly filling my ears with since college, when YouTube couldn't host videos longer than 10 minutes and you spent 30+ minutes waiting for them to buffer before you could watch. I like the people I spend time watching/listening to now, and in some cases suspect they do me a lot of good, but still. I suspect mental quiet is something I've mostly misplaced, something I should probably try to regain.

I'd miss LiveJournal--I've been posting here for over a decade now, fluctuating between daily and at-best seasonal. Daily is more fun, daily gives me a bit of structure and causes me to stretch a bit more than I would otherwise--wouldn't be writing this unless I had an empty slot for today that needed to be filled--but it's also a bit of a burden at times. I feel guilty over unanswered comments or fret about not having a more substantial buffer of scheduled posts. Or I wonder whether some of the types of posts are worth bothering over.

I keep coming back to LiveJournal being better for me than not--I read poetry semi-regularly because of it, spend time looking for/listening to sacred music, pick out things that are pretty to look at, write more than I would if left entirely on my own. Chew things over in ways I almost certainly wouldn't without some sort of written sounding board.

So, LiveJournal stays, I think; until the comments dry up entirely and it becomes clear I'm talking to no one but myself, I'll keep dumping things here on an (almost) daily basis.

I ... I wouldn't miss my job, at least not for quite a while. I have a substantial nest egg, and if not for the need to have health insurance my expenses (minus the lure of Amazon) would be pretty near nil. There are a handful of people I'd feel vaguely guilty for leaving behind to deal with the mess, but for all that it's nice to work from home, it's not nice to feel like I've been hung out to dry by an administration that said they'd make sure I was still fully supported. The reason I need a new laptop in the first place? I fried mine running it for 8-12 hours a day in order to do work on top of my personal stuff, because they've been refusing to provide the equipment we'd discussed prior to the change in my position. I wouldn't miss having to guess at solutions to problems I don't fully understand because they won't pay to hire people who have the actual training that's needed, or enough of them to stay properly on top of things before they turn into problems.

I feel stuck in limbo, in a way: I've been working at this job in some capcity since I was 17, and I don't have the credentials needed to apply for a comparable position. I don't even really know if I want a comparable position; I wound up where I am because I kept saying "yes" and stuck around when everyone else left. Honestly, I've been burned so badly I don't really trust my ability to gauge whether a different job would be a good fit. I'm tired, and I feel stupid for feeling tired because in comparison to a lot of jobs this one is pretty comfortable. It's just hard to breathe, sometimes--mentally, I mean. (And for anyone tempted to say "that's capitalism for you", I work for a Christian non-profit, and it's a completely different issue.)

There's something incredibly tempting about the idea of just shutting everything off for a while. Months, at least. A year, perhaps. (Tax seaon to tax season, probably :P ) And I've almost done it on multiple occasions, except that my father keeps saying (and I know he's right) that it's much harder to find a new job if you're not currently employed in the field. So far that worry's proved stronger than the temptation to chuck it all in.

But hey--it feels really good to put this down in writing; it's a problem that I keep revisiting, and it feels like every time I do my priorities get a little clearer. I'll be talking to my financial guy tomorrow, so it's probably not a bad thing to have spent this much time thinking things through. I can ask him what it would take for me to work part-time, if nothing else; the happiest year-and-a-half of my life I was working a mere 12 hours per week. A third of my paycheck went to Aetna, but the life I was actually living was pretty dang good. Simple, but good.
Tags: personal things

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