THE BIG WHY??
Does your job work for you?
The big why? Just over 10 and half years ago I left school, prematurely to begin at the time what I thought was the best career for me, an apprenticeship in carpentry, with little to no experience or knowledge as most inexperienced apprentices do. Going there was one concern, $$$. That’s why we all go to work, isn't it? In the end though what does it really cost?
School wasn't the place for me, I had horrific time trying to focusing in class, I was only interested in having a laugh with my mates, playing music and skating. Spending the day in a dull classroom at least made me realise I wasn't suited for an office job. So I started looking at alternatives, more physical and hands on. I knew very little and cared equally as little. However I cared more about this than staying in school and studying.
Initially my only concern was making money and getting rich, to attain material possessions that I could not afford at the time, at 16 I thought that's what life was about. Materials I thought would bring happiness and thought the cost was simple, work hard and buy things that you want. However in little time I soon realised I didn't like what I was doing and then spent the next decade battling motivation, anger and depression spending 70-80% of my life pursuing a mentally unsustainable career.
Each day I would trick and lie to myself about it getting better, when I work on higher end jobs it’ll be better, when I do more restoration work it’ll be more rewarding, when I reach this level I’ll be worth X$ per hour, when I run my own business I will do things differently. Without the love, passion, and pride, the purpose all eventually fades, time speeds up and age hits you in the face a little harder every morning. Soon revisiting the same question more and more frequent, “Why am I doing this?”. I'm not enjoying it now, and I have never really enjoyed it. How the fuck am I going to do this for another 10, 20 or maybe even 30 years when I’m struggling just to make it through the day…Yet I would get up and repeat the process week after week, month after month, year after year. I would be in a constant battle looking around at people older than me, who worked hard at something that they didn't enjoy, sure they had money and we're rich in assets but they always seemed to be saltier people in and out of work, lacking a true quality of life. Is this wild pursuit of wealth worth the cost of your happiness and well being?
It wouldn’t be uncommon to exceed the standard 8-hour work day, in addition travelling a minimum of an hour to and from didn't leave all that much time to live outside of work, nor the energy(mentally or physically) to carry out. Everyday day wearing you down taking a little bit more of your soul, stunting self-expansion. Death by a thousand cuts.
Over ten years I became very skilled in my trade and would often be sought after for the quality of work. Being complimented and recommended for skills and level of craftsmanship is obviously a pat on the back. The hard work was paying off, but I couldn't help thinking “I have become highly skilled in a setting I don't care for, imagine if I put my energy into something that mattered to me.” I like many others wasn't encouraged to follow my dreams and passions I was pushed to pursue safety, staying in my lane and being conservative.
The big why?
Turning purple in rage was not uncommon for me on the worksite when things didn’t work. Through time and maturing as young adult into a man I learned to control my emotions and my patience continually expanded, never the less it was still a regular occurrence. In the heat of the moment it always seem that it was the task at hand that push me to boiling point. Sometimes I’d believe that it would be an accumulation of little things not going to plan and then it would take me to the tipping point where i would explode. It would only be hours after when I had completely calmed down and when I would laugh about it I would understand that this is not a place of happiness and this is not a healthy way to live my life. When i was an apprentice and in my early years as a qualified carpenter, the level of discomfort i felt when my boss would lose his mind over something not going to plan whether the problem be small or large, gave me a level of discomfort i could not put into words. Now having employees of my own, looking at myself from third person perspective. I was now causing them that level of stress and discomfort that i hated.
The big why? Why am i getting up every morning? Why am i putting myself through this misery? What is it that making me continue to go? That’s the most important question. We all are living different lives under complete different circumstances, yet I feel at one stage of the day whether we love or hate what we do the big why will creep in? And when it does better have a solid as fuck answer or else here we come crashing down.
I had this moment when one night my wife asked me “When are we going to have a baby?”. We both have wanted to children, even we first started dating we would talk of having a family. It would come up regularly over the years and when it did I would be filled with excitement and promise, but this time when she recently asked was the first time I was truly hesitant to have children and I felt dread.. I really thought about it. Spending my entire day in an environment that brings me little joy which leaves me very little time to pursue my passions and hobbies. Having compromised time as it, I’d come home, walking through door agitated, upset and angry. Engaging in hobbies and passions offers that break in stress from the dreaded work life, the pain of running my business would be put on hold, allowing me to pursue the next days challenges with a refreshed mind. Of course as I learned as to continue the growth and to have a successful business I would have less and less time to myself for the coming 5-10 years at least. What is my mental state going to be like if I don't have time for myself now how will have time when I have children? What type of person will that make me? What kind of father will I be? Am I going to be a strong, positively impressionable role model? What kind of husband will I become? All those questions I asked myself made me realise I would end up becoming someone I didn't want to be.
From that night I realised that I needed to change what I was doing before it becomes a lot harder. I needed to find something I could pursue that offered the freedom I needed. Regularly throughout the day I would often think of alternative things I could be doing instead of my current work. Having an extremely creative mind it often wanders to places far and beyond. Constantly having wild ideas which can make settling quite difficult. Then I was driving one morning and was listening to a podcast in which time I then had a moment, a sense of clarity. I asked myself, “ow do I spend all my free time? What do I continue to research and study?” All my podcasts I had subscribed to and a had been listening to over the years all shared one theme. In my case it's focused on health/well being. I was able to then narrow down further what I then actively practiced and had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Through doing so I had my moment, I had found my niche. In that moment I had an immeasurable weight lifted from my conscience, for the first time in my life I really knew what I could do and pursue with love and passion.
I came home that day brighter than usual. As I mention I tend to have pretty radical ideas and I love sharing them, especially with my wife and she usually, in a nice and loving way puts me back in my place and brings me back down to earth. We were in bed watching a show and I was almost scared to tell her, I felt so good about this decision I had made, I feared that I would again be grounded. After finding the nerve to bring it up, a response was given that I wasn't expecting “That would be perfect for you” she said, just so we know my wife is unconditionally supportive in everything I do and always offers to help me, she is just able to be much more level headed in life than I am.
I’m still at my current job, only I am making plans for a brighter future. To lamley put it ‘following my heart’. My perspective and attitude has no completely shifted. Now in transition the regular pain and frustration is gone and the world has a certain bliss to it that I can't say I've ever seen.
Expansion through purpose.
Initially as mentioned earlier my goal as a young man entering work-life was to make as much money as possible and live as much outside of work. This unhealthy approach taught me that I not only have to make sure to live as much as possible outside of work, it gave me the insight to making sure to live life to its fullest in all aspects, especially at work where spending most our day. In the whirlwind of running a small business and being consumed by work for most waking hours of the day there is little room left pursue self-growth. Realising if I don't have time to carry out my much needed recreational experiences on a daily basis for my physical and mental well being how am I going to do that once I've bought a house, started a family. When the time comes to have children I want to be around them as much as possible, I want to be there hero, teach them everything I know so they can be example to the rest of the world. I want them to know love, what unconditional love and support is in a family and them to feel true love between two people exemplified by their parents. For my wife I want to be her lover, soul mate and companion through all the adventures of life. Supporting emotionally, financially and most of all unconditional love. How the fuck can I be all this when half my life is consumed to something that fills me with such hate and despair. I can never be that, living 70-80% of my waking life in such a damaging environment.
There are so many obstacles that arise in our path. This modern society is built to be the perfect distraction, from chasing higher paid jobs, social media having possession over so much free time, making us envious of all that we are not, pumping advertisements through our eyes and ears so we hum jingles and have logos branded over our third eye. From all of the world's chaos we owe to ourselves to disconnect, close our eyes, sit in silence focus on our breath, even if only for a minute so we can briefly find space and peace. Then we can move forward, building a little bigger space to find ourselves, freely exploring possibilities.
All being said I'm not here to bash on making money and building something in our life. I just wish everyone to give themselves the chance to explore all the possibilities that life can offer. Sure the most rewarding destinations will always take time, we should just be making the most of the journey rather than counting down the minutes to the end. Final??
Would i sum up the last decade as a waste? On a bad day, absolutely, but the glimmer of hope and positivity is what’s needed to not bury myself in regret. Sometimes we need to endure the hardship to realise what would bring us the most happiness and appreciation. Sure I have moments everyday that I beat myself up over, thinking I should've changed something years ago. The way I've come to accept this is as learning curve, I exhausted all avenues of this career, experienced highs and lows....many lows. But it did bring me great experiences, the money to travel, social skills, technical skills(for me I know I can build my own home when the time comes.) most importantly I learnt who I wasn't. I haven't found the answer but I'm learning and accepting that without change I will only be left with regret.