Destination: A deconstruction of Hunter S. Thompson’s letter to his friend.
I’m sitting here, wrapped in blankets with three computers at my sister’s desk in the Chicago ‘burbs and no way of knowing how to access her WiFi. Read the rest of this gem…
I’m starting to realize that the act of making long-term plans over which I actually have very little control is kind of like watching for shooting stars through my sunroom skylights — Read the rest of this gem…
I wasn’t going to do that whole, let’s-get-drunk-on-over-analytical-self-indulgence-and-take-a-good-hard-look-at-the-innards-of-my-soul new year B.S. because ultimately it only leads to an incredibly low sense of self-worth. Read the rest of this gem…
I think I need help.
Not of the psychoanalytical variety, although that’s debatable, but of the prioritizational kind. Read the rest of this gem…
The eggnog’s been drunk, the gifts have been opened, and that week-long season — the one that somehow manages to suck entire months of our lives into its toothy vortex Read the rest of this gem…
Well, it’s another Last of the Mondays for me.
I can’t believe it’s been over 2 years since I last quit my job to venture out into the world of self-employment.
It’s embarrassing to admit now, but I had high hopes. I had high, high hopes that all I needed to do was book a 2-month trip to Costa Rica, be my lovely, endearing self, and somehow — hopefully through this blog — the opportunity to become a travel writer would present itself.
What I learned the hard way is that self-employment — chasing the dream — takes actual work.
In fact, it’s so easy to sensationalize the idea of working for one’s self because of a single, obvious factor: YOU HAVE NO BOSS.
Turns out, though, that’s not true.
Not even a little.
Of course, YOU are your own boss.
And that’s fantastic, right?
Well, unfortunately, disciplining yourself is a hell of a lot harder than getting an earful from The Man, because all you really want to do is take pity on yourself and be patient and understanding and all of those things you got mad at your boss for not being when you were having a rough day. But then, your Self learns. It learns that you’re a crappy boss and a crappier disciplinarian and soon every day turns into a rough day, and before you know it, you’re unshowered Self is crashing your sofa at 2:00 in the afternoon eating Häagen-Dazs from the carton and singing along to My Fair Lady and, aside from feeling sorry for herself because she’s a big fat failure of a Self-starter, she’s really having a grand old time.
So this time, I’m prepared.
I’m prepared to be a badass boss because I’ve learned that the Self-deprecation that comes with mediocrity is so not worth an afternoon of ice cream and Audrey Hepburn.
There are the other bosses. The other bosses are the people who, as an independent contractor, will be hiring me to work for them. With the other bosses will come a whole new slew of demands and expectations, and the only choice for me will be to meet them, head-on, because if I don’t, the only person who can take the blame is ME.
And I’m tired of letting people down.
Most of all, me.
This time, I’m doing myself a favor, packing a duffel bag full of all of the bullshit I fed myself 2 years ago, and sending it into space with the power of a hundred thousand helium balloons.
(You’ve heard there’s a helium shortage, right? Yeah. That was me.)
This is my last Monday. And hopefully, my last of my last Mondays. This is my last week of earning a paycheck just because I show up.
The last time I pack my lunch in tupperware.
The last time I roll my eyes at a request from my boss because my new boss, I hear, is unriddled by bullshit and in no mood to play.
This is life, after all, and we can coast on through making excuses for getting caught in the momentum of mediocrity, or we can really try.
The only thing ever really holding us back is the paralyzing fear of failure. That thing that makes us start and quit and start and quit again.
But. I’ve finally realized.
I would rather fail — I would rather fail so inconsolably and publicly hard — than continue to be the girl who just quits all the time. The girl who’s addicted to the bottom of the ladder. The girl who says soon — mañana — I will do what I know I was born to do.
Because. With 2 years of tomorrows behind me, I’m no closer to reaching my goals. Failure, at this point, would be a relief next to not even trying. The limbo I’ve been living. The bullshit that’s made me metaphorically fat and lazy and full of excuses.
I don’t want to be that person.
I stop today.
It is, after all, the Last of the Last of the Mondays.
Can you name the movie quoted in the title of this post?
As I sit here this morning with my thin toasted bagel, honey nut cream cheese, flavored coffee, glass of OJ, I realize.
I realize that I’m an almost-thirty-year-old assistant.
I’m an almost-thirty-year-old assistant with a college degree.
No responsibilities, no career driven passion, no zsa zsa zu for anything, save spewing my verbiage onto a screen and getting a slight thrill every time someone acknowledges that I do, in fact, exist.
The issue at hand is simple.
It’s hard to admit, and I choke as I write, because a character trait that would land me a role as a strong, unforgettable leading lady of my own damn story, this is not.
But regardless, it’s true.
I am addicted to the bottom of the ladder.
I’m not tied to it, wormlike umbilical cord still firmly attached at the navel, providing comfort and sustenance until I’m ready to climb.
I’m addicted to it because I’m not attached.
And, if you want to know the truth, I have no desire to climb.
I test a rung, then jump back down. It’s fun down here in the tall, tall grass. Up there, I’d have a view of the whole, wide world. But down here? Down here I get to run all around, play in the dirt, leave when I want, answer to no one. The playground is huge, and there’s no way I’d trade it for a tether to my cell phone and a plush, swivel office chair.
But what am I doing? I ask myself as I drive, fists clenched around the molded plastic wheel, cutting through traffic in a town that hates me on my way to the place where I will spend the next 6 self-deprecating hours as an almost-thirty-year-old assistant.
I’m not ashamed of the job itself, but of the fact that I’m wasting my time.
Of the fact that I’m wasting everyone’s time.
Of the fact that I’m privileged enough to do as I please, yet here I sit, ass tucked firmly between Rung 1 and Rung 2, with no drive to climb yet no heart to run. To run with writing, to declare to the world that this will be my career, even if it makes me a failure who has no choice but to sit at the bottom, staring up with envy at those who’ve made it — who’ve made a true impact — the Chuck Palahniuks and the J. K. Rowlings and the Stephen Kings and yes, the Jenny Lawsons and all the rest with their views from the top and room to run.
I’ve carried this metaphor too far, I think.
Which tells me I probably have a long way to go.
And many changes to make.
Are you ready?
Because I’m not sure I am, but it means a lot that you’re still here. Still reading. And you — yes, you — are my encouragement.
1. Wear something comfortable. Something like jeans and a t-shirt. Something that says, I am not a runner. I take myself too seriously. I would rather sit on the sidewalk drinking beer while you fools go run like it’s fun or something.
2. Arrive at the square with enough arms and bags to carry all of your non-runner stuff (camera, purse, reading material, umbrella, water bottle, etc.) and all of your significant other’s runner stuff (water bottle, free t-shirt, wallet, car keys, etc.). Promptly lose significant other because you had to run back to the car to get more stuff (aka. your jacket because it’s cold and you, the smarter of the two, will not be running).
3. Find significant other standing in line to acquire his bib (that’s fancy runner talk for “numbers”). Quickly become bored and wander off to see how many random strangers will let you take their photos.
I now own a piece of each of your souls. Mwahahahaha.
4. Realize how many people are there. Start to experience a pang of anxiety. Calm yourself by remembering that soon they will all be gone and you will be left relatively alone because, as one of the smartest people in Raleigh, you will not be running. You will be free to breathe, holding nothing but 80 lbs. of crap. And also, somehow, a glass of beer.
Will you all just GO already? You’re drinking all of the beer.
5. Strategically position yourself in a place where you can get a good view of the lesser species — that running breed of human — as they leave your life forever. Or at least the next 20-50 minutes.
Observe that the most hardcore competitive runners wear the most colorful footwear. Do you think that makes them faster, or is it simply so you can see something — a bright streak of color — as they zip by at lightening speed?
Some are clearly in it to win it. (Bright green shirt guy.)
Some wear looks of sheer determination. (Green tank top girl.)
Some are probably stoned out of their minds.
Some are… well.
I actually think he might be on to something here. A kilt could provide excellent breathability. Though he could’ve gone shorter.
This is NOT responsible running attire.
I sure hope he’s wearing a sports bra.
People who run with children are like extreme gluttons for punishment.
And also kind of badass.
It’s fun to embarrass your significant other by screaming and yelling like a crazed fan while snapping photos with paparazzi-like ferocity.
6. When they’re gone, find yourself the bar.
Order a Smithwick’s (but pronounce it Smiddicks, so you sound like you know what you’re talking about), sit on the sidewalk, and make friends with the other smart people who don’t run.
When the mob returns with the wet stench of sweat and pain unfit for human habitation, feel slightly superior in the fact that you’re still clean and happy as the last wash of Smithwick’s slides down your throat.
Totally, totally winning.
(For the record, I love runners. They’re like the happiest people on earth, and the truth is I just like to be around them and try to absorb the endorphins via osmosis and beer. Click here to see the last race I watched, and here for my friend Erin’s experience at the Merrell Down & Dirty Mud Run)