When I was a child, I used to wonder why adults seemed so foolish. I would look around and wonder why adults did things that were so incomprehensible. Why did they do the same things every day, even though it didn’t make them happy, repeating the same routines day after day. They spent all their time frowning, creating wrinkles, and worrying about this or that, always serious and sad.
Over time, I have become one of those adults. I hardly ever play. I walk around all day with a frown on my face, worrying about one thing or another for no good reason. I do things that don’t make me happy and ensure I won’t get there anytime soon. But even though I am one of those adults, I am still not a whole lot closer to figuring out the why of it, or a different way of living. Although I like to imagine otherwise, my life is not all that different from anyone else’s. I started creating detailed logs of my days, in the hopes it would give me some insight about how to shift my thinking or activities. Each day doesn’t differ substantially from any other. A generalized version of my day:
5:30 AM: Alarm goes off. Hit snooze repeatedly. I had hoped to stretch and meditate for 30 minutes, but I fail to get out of bed.
6:00 AM: Force myself out of bed. I get up only when I know I will need to rush to make it, and have a good shot at being late to work. Even so, I don’t really start moving until 6:15.
6:45 AM: Done with shower, and various things surrounding it. Dress for work. Prepare to take out the dogs.
7:00 AM: Dogs have been out and fed . Make breakfast. Pack lunch. Brew coffee.
7:10 AM: Eat breakfast. Read a book, the paper, or blogs.
7:30 AM: Get in the car. Drive to work. Spend ~30 minutes in traffic.
8:00 AM: Arrive in the office. I might be late, sometimes up to 20 minutes late, sometimes up to 10 minutes early. Walk to my desk, settle in. I usually have 30 minutes to respond to emails and finish work before my first meeting. Plan for meetings at least 3 out of the next 4 hours.
11:45 AM: Meetings coming to a close. Feeling de-motivated. To-do list has doubled. Projects are behind schedule. The list of things to complete is too much to handle. If I can leave for an early lunch, I will. If I can’t, I piss away my time by reading blogs/news/technology articles for 15-30 minutes.
12:00 PM: Go to car. Drive to coffee shop, usually caribou or starbucks depending. Buy a coffee even though it won’t make me feel any better. Sit in the parking lot and eat the lunch I packed. Listen to the radio. Try to relax. The hour goes quickly.
1:00 PM: Back in office just in time for next meeting. Stay on the phone 3-4 of the next 4 hours. When not listening to the meeting, work on to do list. Respond to the 100+ emails that come in during the day. Try to be pro-active instead of reactive. If I can find 20 minutes free on my calendar, sometimes I go for a walk.
5:00 PM: Meetings are done, so I can get real work done. Start running down the to-do list in terms of priority. Sometimes, I can’t motivate myself to work. My job is just not that interesting most of the time, but I can’t imagine a better one without working for myself.
6:30 PM: The cleaning people have arrived at the office. I pack up. Go home. Either I pissed away my time reading interesting articles or accomplished something depending on my mood. I feel burnt out.
7:00 PM: Arrive home assuming no after work errands. Say hello to those living with me. Change out of work clothes.
7:15 PM: I would like to spend some time unwinding, but I have to be social. Spend time with family. Eat dinner.
8:30 PM: Dinner is done. I am the only one who doesn’t enjoy TV, but I feel obligated to watch it to be social. One or Two nights a week I will work instead. Occasionally I will work on my startup for an hour. Chances are I will take flak from my family if I don’t spend enough time with them.
10:00 PM: Everyone else is going to bed. I crack open the laptop to continue work. Either startup or office, depending on the need. Sometimes I write.
11:00 PM: How am I feeling? If I am groggy, I get ready for bed. If I am ok, I work for one more hour.
My weekends don’t differ much. I will spend more time on my startup, and the rest of it trying to catch up with family, doing errands, yard work, house work, paying bills, or whatever else needs to be done. Relaxing almost never occurs on the weekends. Bonus: I sleep until 8 or 9 in the morning Saturday and Sunday.
I want to escape what I see as my life prison. This blog is an effort to document my attempts at dis-entangling. A lifestyle business seems to me the best way at this point, but after more than three years of trying and not being materially closer to my goal, I have some concerns about my approach. Other lifestyle designs don’t appeal to me or seem realistic in my current situation. I consume enormous amounts of content and ideas, and though I see examples of people who live differently, I don’t see how to apply their lessons to my own life and situation without sacrificing the few things that make my life worth living.
I have become incomprehensible to myself. I live the mundane existence from which I can find no escape.