November 24, 2020

I\’m sitting at my desk, which means Caitlin is in bed working. We\’ll switch later, and I\’ll be sitting in bed. I ate a sugar free yoghurt this morning. It was fine, but the taste of the artificial sweetener is still lingering half-an-hour later. Lastly, I\’m appropriately caffeinated, which is a nice change.

I started work yesterday. I spent the entire day doing HR mandated training—safety videos, how to efficiently load shipping containers, tips to prevent heat exhaustion, etc. I will be doing the same thing the entire week.

To be frank, I am disappointed. I joined the military, got a BA, moved to Seattle, and this is what I get? I get paid a bit more than minimum wage to do a job that anyone with a functioning body and reliable transportation can do?

I was earning nearly twice as much last year. Granted, I was miserable. I left that life because I was miserable. I needed to leave. I hoped for a bright future. And what was the future is now the present. And the present isn\’t bright. It feels pathetic.

I think I know what I have been doing wrong. It\’s an existential thing. I have Irvin D. Yalom\’s book Staring at the Sun to thank for this insight. I have lived my life in the expectation that it would resemble an ever-growing upwards spiral of increasing potential and opportunities. That is where I found my sense of safety. That is how I escaped my own personal fear of death. 

I thought I was brave because I joined the army. I thought I had a grip on my fear of death because I was able to read The Death of Ivan Ilyich and still be mostly-unbothered by thinking about slowly wasting away on my deathbed. I thought I was facing my mortality every time I rode a motorcycle.

But those are not the ways that I fear death. 

My safety bubble—what Jung would call the womb-tomb—is my hope in my merely-latent potential. 

The tragic thing about (my) latent potential is how much greatness and beauty it promises and how little substance it seems to generate when I actually try to access it. I\’ve accused others of getting high on their dreams; now I see that I am doing the same thing.

I\’ve said this all before in different words. This time it is a little bit more accurate. This time it is a little bit more real. This time it is a little more incarnate. 

Better to have true despair than false hope. 

Moving boxes for UPS is only temporary. It is humble. Many people look down on it; I know this because I look down on it. I know I shouldn\’t; and this would be less painful if I didn\’t. But I do, and I\’m working on understanding the meaning and value this type of work can provide. 

I fucking hate the thought of working only to make someone else more wealthy. I just don\’t want to be—or feel—used.

Well, it\’s not like I have any other choice right now. I hate this. But at least I know I hate this. 

Hate is okay. I just shouldn\’t grow resentful. Hate may become fuel. But resentment is always poison. 

I will try to learn as much as I can. I will try to make this a valuable experience.

A ghost speaks: Every moment is a microcosm.

A dubious koan inspired by Nietzsche comes to mind:

How do you do it so that you can do it forever?

My writing here is not achieving anything. 

But my writing is doing something: I am transforming my thoughts.

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