‘You are free and that is why you are lost’ – Franz Kafka
Whether causal or coincidental, I have happened upon a trough of relative disillusionment and fatigue at about the same moment I endure a spell of inactivity. I’m sure I will exit this phase, but for now my hobbies and passions are on hold, and I am existing almost without purpose. The love of my partner is perhaps my only significant motivation. A rather dreary opening paragraph, but never fear!
Regarding my lack of writing, I feel there are multiple reasons for this, a few from the top of my head are: Lack of confidence in my ability to write knowledgeably on a given topic; Lack of a given topic in which I am currently deeply involved and that may be of interest to other people to read about; lack of energy and money; lack of structure and discipline; feeling too much pressure and trying too hard to write something that is worthwhile (this can inhibit anyone from writing anything at all); lack of a justification for spending time writing and reading when we are poor and money is not gained from such activities – and the feeling of guilt that stems from dedicating so much time to such artistic and intellectual pursuits when money is what is needed. Time for spending with family, friends and loved ones is also in demand – how can I write when my love wants to spend time with me on her day off? The grass needs to be cut too, and I almost always forget to hang the clothes up for drying.
I have stopped playing music. Stopped listening to music. Stopped learning German. Despite my socialist viewpoint, I have become less active with politics. I have become lackadaisical with my reading, and much else.
At the moment, I am frustrated by all this, but, as yet, I am not too worried. Firstly, I am developing my perception and approach to writing. Ironically, this facilitates less writing as it requires more reading. Also, I am using this period of personal uncertainty to question and re-evaluate my life-goals.
An Existensial Crisis?
Most pertinently, I am waiting to start a new job. Hopefully, it will be the beginning of something new; I know that the recent few years have been consistently disappointing and that my jobs have not been very fulfilling, to say the least. I have worked too hard, tried too many things, and I probably expected too much. I put far too much effort and time into some areas, and not enough into others. I was naive and too ambitious – if one can be too ambitious. Perhaps my priorities were unwise, but I based my dedication upon the passion and ambition I had for different interests so that I might be successful with them – I was working towards a dream. In that sense, I think it would be too harsh to say my priorities were completely wrong. Nonetheless, I needed to slow down and reassess some things.
The first step in resuming activity will be Monday, the first day in the new job. I pray it will not be as disappointing as my recent roles. I am not so naive as to think that the disappointment of my recent jobs was not to do with the larger economic and political conditions of Ireland (and Europe) which allow for such exploitative and low-paying positions to be created by employers. Employees suffer in uncertain and worrying limbo – I am not so naive as to think that my new position will not also be subject to external forces. Nevertheless, I hope my next employer at least provides the foundation upon which I can begin to live my life in a more fulfilling and ambitious way again; enabled to try my best.
I’m not lost because I’m “free” – I’m not lost at all, though I may feel like that. I’m simply trapped, grounded by very real circumstances. It is clear what I need: reliable job, decent money, definite structure, relative security, defined purpose, hobbies, random fun and relaxation. Society provides the means of achieving those things and can do so depending the economic and social-political conditions. You are not lost because you are free, you believe you are “free” because you are lost.
Despite the aforementioned, one must do one’s best when the opportunity arises. I hope that after Christmas, I will have money and that my new job is consistent and (as far as such a position can be) rewarding. That’s step one. Step two is establishing myself in the role and my first month’s pay. After that, I aim to develop more structure in my life, and therefore with the life of my partner whom I love and am dedicated to. Upon this improved structure I can build goals for my job, my career, and my hobbies. I can develop my talents and interests further and therefore write about them. Who knows what will happen?
But everything depends upon the job.