Playing With Myself

Tuesday: Sunny.

Recent events: The crowded state of the street is no excuse to touch anyone’s crotch.

Messiest crowd: The Hunger Games

On my mind: In this phase of soul-searching, one thing has rung out loud and clear: I need more alone time.

Working two very different jobs that both revolve around teams of employees running a co-operative, co-dependent business has taught me a valuable life lesson. You can always get too involved. Stifling describes pretty accurately the recent surge of politics and confusion that has hit both my jobs at once. On the one hand, (at the one job) I partake only in tasks I deem worthwhile, exciting, productive, and a relieving kind of personal gratification comes to me at the end of a day. On the other hand (at the day-job, or ‘time off from your real job’ job) I perform whatever tasks necessary, for a certain amount of time, mostly mindless, habitual ones. At the end of a day I go home and leave the work at the door.

In both cases (and communities) it seems like change is lingering around, waiting to take the driver’s seat. Long-hoarded personal grudges, disembodied self-serving memories and Mexican waves of fight-or-flight responses (some getting angry while others casually detach themselves) are rife; and on one of these hands, none of it seems to be going anywhere without massive changes getting a look in first.

The most jarring problem with this hand is that everyone is living in each other’s pockets. This is true of both jobs, but at one, it’s something I want and know how to work with. You can’t always rely on this as a long-lasting system, especially when the work relies on everyone pulling together. Get too close and you will fall prey to personal problems – everyone’s. It is not in your contract, it does not make you a better human being, and it will certainly not make work any easier, to make your workmates your future best men and bridesmaids. Giving people the privilege of opening up your compassion to them beyond the little social niceties that make work more bearable opens the door to being taken advantage of. People will appeal to your ‘better nature’ by feeding you stories (true or false) about their woes and their better-than-anyone-else’s reasons to be off work on a certain day. You joke around with each other past dinner-table etiquette, spend time with them outside work, you give your permission for them to treat you in a particular way. This can work for some. But it can bite you. Why? Because some people are bullies.

This is enough argument for me to distance myself. If I feel a relationship is getting a bit tenuous or fair-weather, that someone is making assumptions about me, or me them, I take a step back and remember, it is just work. Don’t take anyone for granted, and certainly don’t just trust in people’s ‘better nature’ where contracts, money and the ever-increasingly-valued Time Off are involved.

Speaking of which, my time off has become very important, and very productive. I am re-evaluating everything I do, how I feel, what habits I have fallen into and how well they serve me, and feel like I am changing for the better. Time alone with my thoughts is doing me the world of good. In retreating like this I am able to see more clearly what really matters, and to organise the company I surround myself with even better, to ensure my relationships are more healthy and are keeping me refreshed and inspired.

Here’s to friendship without context, and to playing with yourself.

In the succinct words of this here fella, “Your job is not your life.” (I choose to ignore the second section, but lap it up if you will.)

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