On Principal

The first week of September is over. I can’t believe how fast everything is going. So far, since I got the news about grandma’s departure date (Sept. 30), I’ve spent every weekend up there. Next weekend we have her goodbye barbecue. Her house is already starting to be emptied of all it’s furniture.

I talked about it on Friday a little bit, but there’s an edge of violence to my thoughts these days that usually signifies I am missing something. Or ignoring it. I try to keep my body worn out with walking the dog 4 miles a day in the heat, doing push ups and presses and any kind of strength exercise util my limbs all feel like noodles and the ache of it takes the worst off the top.

But I’m treating symptoms and ignoring the cause because I don’t know how to deal with the fact that I feel useless.

I’m continually surprised at how much of my identity was wrapped up in my old job. I feel like the purpose was ripped from the heart of me and now I’m just trying to justify the space I waste. I send emails, I make calls, all trying to get people to buy a little piece of who I used to be; why I used to matter. And I have clients that like me, that value what I do, but it’s like the curtain’s been pulled on my own misconception, and I can’t go back to thinking that the work I do has any relation to the value I carry. That’s the mindset that fucked me up so bad when I got laid off. Even before I got laid off, the fact that my self-worth was completely wrapped up in my job caused me problems I could have easily avoided if I wasn’t such a mess. And it’s not like I was blissfully ignorant, I knew career was a poor substitute to personal value, but it was so easy that I didn’t try to find another source.

So now that I know that work doesn’t equal worth, you’d think that would be the end of the issue. Lesson learned. Let’s move on. I saw this day coming, time to kick the sauce and get to my own real source of worth, which is…


What gives me the right to get up every day and try to tell people they should hire me to do a job I no longer find significance in? To live a life I no longer find significance in? The only reason I even do this shit anymore is on principal. I said I’d pay my bills, so I find a way to pay them. I said I believe in quality, so I produce fucking quality. I put one foot in front of the other because a long time ago, I decided that I move forward, and so I do.

In my 12 step program, the 11th step is “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” I don’t talk about God a lot because I don’t actually believe in any kind of God. But I do believe in the steps, and I believe that if I do what they say, my life improves, because unlike God, that’s something real that I have experienced. So, several times I day I stop and ask for knowledge of God’s will for me and the power to carry that out. And sometimes it helps me feel better about this hole in my life where my purpose used to be.

I have this idea that if I could just figure out what I’m for, I could be that and it would be enough finally. But I don’t really think that life’s like that. Maybe today I’m for getting up and working because I said I would. Even if I don’t see the point.

Editor’s Note: On rereading this, I realize that it comes across grim. Please ignore this foolishness. Objectively I know that this kind of ruin is necessary for new growth, that I’ve been here before, that I’ll be here again. Sometimes I get morose, but determination spends just as much time, if not more, on the top of the emotional heap. I know a trillion people before me have had their moments of doubt, and over much more serious things than the value inherent in profession. But, when everything else seems to be gone, it’s good to know that something keeps me moving forward, even if only to my second wind.