Sunday, May 13, 2012

Observations on Freedom

Well ok, it's been two weeks since I made the switch from commuting 126 miles each day and being responsible for a massive facility, including a church and school, to working from home or very close to it, grading history and woodworking.  It's time for a report.

One of the first of two things I noticed after I stopped commuting was my spike in energy levels. Even though my drive was not that bad, it was slowly destroying me. My attitude, energy level, optimism, and level of stress changed almost instantaneously. I now have an abundance of energy, don't have to deal with the dipwads on the road, and I can actually slow down on some days and smell the roses--or in my case, the wood chips--around me.

Furthermore, I don't feel like life is passing me by, that I am missing out. I don't feel as if I have to entertain myself on the internet. I don't find myself dreaming about what life would be like living in a cabin in West Va. or Montana or wherever anymore. I find myself making my present situation better and being as real as I can be regarding my present circumstances and taking on tasks that actually need to be done.

The second major thing I noticed was that I have, at long last, regained some measure of patience with those around me. What would set me off on an epic rant, at least in my head, laced with a colorful MF-laden series of epithets, now seems like a very small matter. Because of this, I am a better father and person. I still think people are bullshit when appropriate--while recognizing my own--but it concerns me much less. They can go screw, whoever they are, and I will stay home and grade papers and smile at my AR-15 when I need a pick me up, and then go down to my personal woodshop while imagining it to be larger, grander, and more well-appointed with tools than Vahalla.

Yes, I will do all these things. Repeatedly. And not give a damn about they guy next door or wherever. None of that shit really matters now.

In a word, my shackles have been broken. I have my freedom, my liberty. In our day and age we piss away our liberty and freedom so casually, in part because 99% of the jackasses around us are doing the same thing. What our Founding Fathers fought and pledged their sacred honor for, we freely fritter away.  Yet time is our most valuable commodity. How we use it, or fill it, will determine the core result of our lives on a day to day basis.

For 5 fast years I enjoyed serving the Church, doing my job, and being the Johnny-except-my-name-is-Nick-on-the-spot savior for the entire complex. It became routine to solve everyone's problems.

People often called me for the most bullshit things, however. And so for the past two years I steadily disappeared into the background, moved my office to the mechanical room, and tried not to answer the phone. Nevertheless, I found that my new boss was also finding creative ways for me to run around in circles, re-invent the wheel, and carry his water.

While this was still relatively light duty in some ways, I found myself carrying more stress than I really wanted and began evaluating my future: do I blink again and watch another 5 years of my life go by, commuting 2.5 hours a day, or do I make a radical change for the sake of my family.
I chose the latter course, and now see very clearly that the Lord has set His people free.

I am rambling now, but my point is that the taste of freedom is ultra-sweet. Whatever freedom means to you, it's goodness cannot be underestimated. We give that up if we are not careful when we enter the work force. We give that up when we don't make doing what we love or believe in a real priority. We give that up when we chose to become a slave.

I understand that the world still needs janitors. In fact, I performed those duties as needed for 5 years. To those who wondered, I was a maintenance director, not a MF janitor. I don't have a problem with janitors. Some are geniuses, though most are not. It simply displeased me when the haughty felt sorry for me, you know, because sitting in an office, under a blinding flourescent light, staring at a bluish screen for 8 hours is sublime and uplifting.

Save your sympathy, jerkfaces.

Anyway, I've digressed.

While I may be in what still might be considered the honeymoon period, I do a lot more work and find that having both intellectual and creative physical work in my day is both challenging and satisfying for my personality. I don't mind editing American History tests and commenting on them, even when I am tired.

I simply enjoy kicking ass. So I think that's what I'll continue to do.