Why do you work?

February 19, 2018 § Leave a comment

(For the privileged first-world members who wouldn’t be hungry without work)

This question popped up while I ate brunch at a café earlier today. I took my lunch break earlier than usual, at 12.20pm to have a croissant I’d been craving all morning.

And then it hit me. I don’t eat here every day, and I no longer spend my money here and there as I so often did during university.

When I was studying for my bachelor’s, I made up for the lack of sleep by indulging in the habit of ‘treating myself’ on the regular – it worked. The morale was, “I deserved this because I did that.”

But I knew that university was a passing time – a temporary, fleeting, period of my life.

I followed the plan as everyone did to be a sufficient member of society: a university graduate, a normal, educated, ‘adult’ who is now suitable for corporate jobs and marriage, and somehow, raising children.

But would I be doing this all my life, until retirement?

Will I live to work, or will my life be some work and more living?

Or is my life my job?

Does it necessarily have to be a negative thing if I see my co-workers more than my family, who I currently live with?

At once, while writing, at a café, as I so often did, it hit me: why do I work?

I do not work for money at the time being. More than half of my salary is spent on my commute to work, on the car I got to get to work, the course I study for my career, and on the food I eat while I’m at work.

At the end of the month, there is not much to save. Does that mean I live for work? How come I’m not unhappy as some of my peers, or my friends, who also work? Why is work a negative term?

I do not live for work. Essentially, I live to learn. Banality and tedious, bland, colourless conversations or books do not entice me. If there is nothing to learn, what is the point?

So why do I work?

To learn.

Perhaps, this is why I am not afraid; I am not sad; I am not disappointed. And I do not feel my time fleeting in nothingness.

I see my work. My portfolio is growing. I am learning.

I am making mistakes, experiencing life, and for now, this is good.

Perhaps society’s greatest fear and shared experience is to live for the weekend, which we’ve so often fallen into since our youth: to wait for the summer vacation, for the holidays, for the leave-days, for the weekend.

To live a double life: one at the office, and one with friends.

Many of us live for money and consumption. In essence, that is living to spend, and in many cases, it is to work a full month to live short spans of little pleasure.

And what’s the point of having money to consume? To live for the latest technology and the latest fashion, or to forget our misery by drinking and passing out?

To exist as a consumer, rather than take part of a larger experience?

To do mandatory work instead of meaningful work, even if it were a corporate job?

Your time is valuable.

Make your own choices.

Live, learn, and be weary of settling in exchange of your life.


The Scythe of a Decision

April 17, 2017 § 2 Comments

I was in a forest. I thought about life that day, and as the sun gushed through the leaves with the air’s current, I felt a breeze all over my jeans, my fingertips, up to my face –– it was cold in the middle of summer.

When the wind wrapped its arms around me, I remembered that there are more important things than success. I walked three more minutes after that realization to find something.

It was a hut – a cave – a little rut in between the woods. I was hungry and ought to let my stomach behave, so I knocked on the door. My parents taught me to be polite.

And an elderly man, who seemed like kind of a bore, looked below to see my small little self stare at his big feet.

“Oh no,” I thought.

This is how it all ends.

And better yet, I die hungry.

So the man with the big feet spoke, as I trembled and shook and my entire body froze. The words raced in my mind and all fell to my tongue. He invited me inside and I thought, “Well, I will die one day anyway.”

He made me food and sat me in a very comfortable chair. I froze once more, because they always make sure you’re comfortable before they eat you. He stirred the soup three times before serving it to my bowl. With every round I could feel my soul swing.

Soon after, I arrived home safely, went back to school and enrolled in university. My mother told me, “Honey, you will find yourself a handsome young man. You will live an honorable life as a housewife.” It sounded good, and what’s better than selflessly cooking and cleaning for a bunch of children, and the even bigger child that ought to support us?

It’s been 30 years since I met the man with the big feet.

The wind that gushes through me no longer does and my fingers are frail at the sight of those who love. The money and the pressure and the work at home –– I do not sleep anymore.

I wish I had stayed with the man with the big feet. At least I would have eaten my last treat.

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