It's been a while. And I'm not even sure if anyone is even interested in my own personal account of why I'm a workaholic and how that has kept me from reaching my goals. But here it is anyway.
I still feel a real need to slow time down.
Sometimes this happens dramatically, often with meditation. The feeling that time is moving pleasantly slowly, that I am experiencing the moments and enjoying being there. I want more of that.
I can't view days as a series of time blocks to do tasks in anymore. It isn't working for me.
I want to do everything I do because I really want to do it. I've fled from this idea because I've felt that I needed to be disciplined, to buckle down and do the work to make my dreams come true.
But the reason I came to music was because it is work that is also joyous. I wanted my work to be something I simply wanted to do all the time.
I got the idea that I simply couldn't reach that goal without other work, some of which I would not find palatable. Not an inaccurate conclusion, but somehow over the years my mentality became to push myself to do the work I hated first, and leave the work I loved for later. Ten years after deciding to work full time and be very careful with money, in order to live a life of my choosing, it has accidentally become a philosophy. I have forgotten that living a life of my choosing was the point, the most important part.
I think at 18 (and younger), fighting with the adults in my life, about my life and whether my plans for it were valid, affected me in a more deep and long-term way than I understood at the time. I knew I was right, but that sense of what I really needed was attacked so frequently, with such force and from enough sources, that I felt I had to begin playing a defensive game. Defending my right to my own decisions and sense of clarity, rather than joyfully going after my dreams. There was joy, but the people around me spent so much time questioning me that I scarcely got to enjoy it.
My dreams became a castle that I was constantly out defending rather than living in. WhenI finally got to get back home, my way of relating to it had changed. All I could do was grasp onto my dreams, sure that at any moment someone would come charging in to challenge me and I would have to fight for them again. I became like a rich man fearfully guarding his gold from theft--spending every minute vigilantly protecting the riches I never got to enjoy.
I often find my thoughts turn to vivid, angry daydreams of imaginary fights. Fights that involve strangers, friends, or acquaintances questioning anything and everything about who I am and forcing me to defend it. I've often asked myself why my thoughts turn to struggle--why I invent these struggles for myself rather than being kind of even neutral towards myself in my thoughts.
This is why. There was a time in my life when I did have to be constantly geared up for a fight, in order to defend my own sense of what was right for me. It wasn't just my mother, although it was her far more often than anyone else, and I had to defind myself to her on a wide range of topics and from a young age. But it is also everyone loudly telling me that all the important choices in my life were wrong. Not going to college. Moving to Ohio. Coming out as bisexual, and the insult of people I had known all my life not believing that I really knew the most intimate and basic facts about myself. Whom I chose to date after Michelle. What neighborhoods I chose to live in and why.
The fact is, I am now old enough and secure enough that it doesn't matter anymore if people agree with how I live my life. But it is difficult switching gears. It is difficult adjusting to living in peace with the people and things I love, after fighting such a bitter war to be able to do that. It is difficult not to fear that I must be constantly wary and ready for a fight -- and it is impossible to enjoy the life I won for myself if I am stuck in that mindset.
Lately I have been seeing that some of my family members (and sometimes I) live in such a way that there is always a fire to put out. Always a crisis. Always an obstacle to overcome just in order to maintain existing standards of living. A little bit, that's not just me or my family -- that is a real part of the American psyche.
To get back to my accidental philosophy of embracing the work I hate over the work I love -- it is rooted in this fear. It is rooted in the idea that I must create something so rock solid that no one will be able to question it. And it is rooted in the insecurity that built up at the times when everyone in my life told me again and again that I would fail to support myself, that I would lose everything if I did not follow their plan. It made me feel, subconsciously, that I was choosing a very difficult path. That I had to work hard to survive this difficult life I chose for myself, sometimes driving myself to exhaustion.
But I never actually did choose a difficult path. I just chose a different path. I was able to accomplish everything I knew I could, and I just allowed other people's fears to infect and damage my own outlook. I don't blame myself for this, either--it was partly subconscious and extremely understandable given the circumstances.
But now I am older and wiser and able to look back with clarity. My life is all mine now. I reject and release any lingering insecurities and doubts poisoning me. It is time to start living in, and building up, the castle.