I Should Be Working

I should be working. I mean, instead of writing here, I should really be working. Sure, I already put in the proper eight at my main job, but then there’s freelance. It keeps my mind sharp, my creative sensibilities in good working order, and my bills completely paid. But sometimes my brain just will not have it. If I’m in a good groove with my freelance projects, I’m working about 11 hours a day (depending on the size of the project). It sounds like a lot, but I really like most of my projects and I love writing creatively for various clients. It appeals to the problem-solving wordsmith in me, and amounts to some extra cheddar. Today though, my cerebral synapses aren’t firing for freelance.

My mind is, instead, quite reflective. More specifically, my mind is reflective about today. Today, my mind is reflective about today? Woah!

Today was one of those days when you ask yourself the BIG questions. You know the questions I’m talking about, the ones that force you to question every aspect about your entire life up until this point.

What am I doing? Is this what I should be doing? Is this what I want to be doing? How can I be sure I’m doing exactly what I should be doing? How do I know there isn’t something better for me to be pursuing, something I must’ve missed? I’m 24 years old, shouldn’t I be somewhere else or doing something else? Maybe I should be a monk? Are there women monks? Would I have to shave my head? Should I care about what I SHOULD do? No way! “Should” is merely some acceptable construct that we collectively and silently agreed upon at some point. In this case, it’s not even based in anything concrete, like science! Should I study science? Nah, but maybe I’ll move. Should I move? Where should I move? What would my friends do without me?

Okay, I’m kidding about those last couple—not the monk ones though, I seriously contemplated becoming a monk today, still am considering it actually, and ‘should’ is this context isn’t an absolute—but you get the point.

I don’t know why today was the day for such questions, and frankly, I wish it hadn’t been. It was extremely inconvenient. See, I was trying to put in 105% of my energy into my aforementioned main job, a job I love with people I enjoy being around, but today, everything ended with a giant question mark, and that really bothers me.

Why can’t these questions flutter into my mind when I’m at home or on the weekend, where there’s room to work out answers? Or better yet, why can’t the completely unprompted and unwarranted questions just stay away from my mind altogether? Don’t they know I’m busy? Don’t they realize that I’m supposed to be entirely, completely, irrevocably content? 

Walking to my car after hours of sparring with—and ultimately choosing to ignore—these stupid, unhelpful questions, I realized something: It’s in my genes to question, to ponder, to wonder, and to constantly reinvent myself. It’s in my DNA to push myself and regularly find something to adjust, change and transform. I come from a long line of strivers, of hustlers, of schemers, rule benders, envelope pushers, and this-can-be-done-better-ers, all really good stories for other days. But I come from an even longer line of hard workers, of providers, of will-find-a-way-ers, of stubborn-ass, hard-as-nails people who were determined to make a way in this world for themselves and their families. This is what gets me up in the morning, that determination. It’s the coal that keeps my inner steam engine from settling for just some job, or worse, linking up with just some guy willing to make the way for me.

The very resolution that I admire so much in my relatives and ancestors is also the innate soil from which my extremely ill-mannered questions shot up. Well, shit, I guess I’m stuck with them then.

I really should be working…

Ben Giles collage photograph / mixed media
Ben Giles collage photograph / mixed media

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