Back to Work

Goodbye, sweet freedom. I didn’t want you anyway.

I only thought I did. It was all a myth, you see.

The allure of a 4 hour work week….It sounds so seductive when you are working 40 hours+ each week.

So I fought like a madman to make it happen. And I achieved it….for a few years.

And let me tell you…..it ain’t worth it.

Sure, you get more free time. But you don’t really need that. And it doesn’t make you magically happier. Not like you thought it would, anyway.

And that is the tricky part.

I had to quit my day job, I had to get a taste of that freedom before I could really understand how happiness works.

The mind naturally wants what it cannot have. The grass looks greener on the other side, especially for a full time employee. You wouldn’t waste a of life of leisure, right? Not if someone dropped a million dollars in your lap? You would be happy to kick your feet up and relax, right?

Not true. You go chase that freedom, find out what it is all about.

It’s not so great. I’m telling you.

I savored that freedom for a while. And, it makes a great story: “I work 45 minutes per day.” Or: “I have a 7 hour work week.”

But guess what? Nobody cares. Plus, you won’t be any happier for it.

Who cares about freedom, when happiness is right under your nose all along….

Go buy that new iPhone and stop complaining about the rat race.

Put a smile on your face.

Be grateful for existence itself. That is real freedom.

5 Thoughts on “Back to Work

  1. Theo says:

    Wow, this post is a total downer, and it doesn’t really explain much. Are you just going to leave your readers hanging like this…?

    1. Patrick says:

      I think the answers are there, each person has to find them for himself though….

      In other words, I had this idea of what “happiness” was all about, and I thought that it included total freedom from employment.

      I was wrong.

      But I had to learn that for myself. And the only way I could learn it was to walk that path, to create that freedom in my life, and realize that it wasn’t really what I wanted at all.

      Sorry for being so misleading in the past. I guess I learned something, grew up a bit perhaps…..

  2. Al says:

    I admire your writing skill and your honesty.

    I think what you have done is quite important – getting away from the standard model of 40-hour weeks for a few years. I also think there is a path for you to a somewhat happier existence, but I don’t claim to know what it is. Note that I do not say a “happy existence”; just a somewhat happier one.

    Something about your past writing suggests you are further along this path than I am, but I don’t know you, and am not an expert, so all the usual restrictions and disclaimers apply.

    I am probably different from you – I need not get into why, but it’s clear from your blog. I suspect we are headed the same way, however different our starting points.

    Your past writing on visualizing abundance or cultivating gratitude, plus your references to James Altucher, suggest this advice will not be new to you, but Altucher doesn’t spell it out clearly even though his daily practice might be a path to it: denial of self. This is quite different from self-denial: it’s stepping outside one’s own head, and looking at one’s thoughts from outside, possibly to the point of pleasant disinterest in one’s own fears and desires.

    I am a complete atheist. I take no truck with gurus or deities. I’m forced to admit that Buddhists, and other spiritualists, may have the answer for me.

    Altucher, among others, has said something about being in the present as an important technique for coping with anxiety or past misery. I had tried this on several occasions. It helps, but mindfulness meditation finally gave me a real jolt of it, and it has an effect on me which dwarfs that of antidepressants or therapy.

    I may be more sensitive to it than most: I have yet to meditate for more than 15 minutes at a stretch, but doing so can generate a sense of detachment from my ego and emotions, and turn the world into a place of beauty and wonder. I notice more beauty in my surroundings; I see beautiful people or wealthy people, and I take pleasure in their beauty or wealth without desiring it for myself, as if the beauty is mine. I cheer for others, and take pleasure from their success. I love my enemies and want happiness for them, and I don’t have to force such a feeling.

    I would describe this as “oneness,” but I lack the background to understand the Buddhist notion of it. It is more a sense of bemused separation from my own bullshit – I actually visualize myself from a across the room, or down the block. For the first time, I understand the relaxed expressions on the faces of some Buddhist monks. My self becomes a small component of a whole, interesting but important only as a link to other selves.

    This has enabled me to feel serene and alive, and to love the world more than my own pleasure.

    You may understand this better than I do. You have thought more about happiness and dealing with the misery our thoughts can inflict on us than I have. I don’t know that meditation will help others as it has helped me; but the state of living in the present, of basking in the now-ness of everything, has enabled me to fight off dark clouds and be a better presence in other people’s lives. There is likely more than one path to that state, and I hope you have found it, or will soon.

    Keep writing, by the way.

    1. Patrick says:

      Wow, I think you may have thought about these things even more than I have, Al.

      I am definitely on the path. I think in the end we may find that it was all so much more simple than we thought. I tend to complicate things maybe? Not sure. I am grateful to be back at work, it is interesting for now. The way that it affects my life, how it changes me. Today starts the weekend. Freedom again! But now I care about that freedom. During the last 3 years I could not bring myself to really care about the freedom. Something was missing.

      I am still seeking, that is for sure….

  3. Chris says:

    Congratulations on the new job, Patrick! So what company do you work for now? What’s the job?

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