Blog note: If you look back in older entries, you might notice that the comments all appear as though they were made by me! This is not the case, but Blogger made it look that way when I removed the Disqus application. I had been using it so I could respond to comments, but now that Blogger has that function, I’ve gotten rid of Disqus. It looks much nicer in the comment area, I think, but sucks that I lost a history of who was commenting on my blog.
The boyfriend and I had a chat the other day about how the rest of the world perceives Americans. Apparently, most everybody else thinks we’re pretty crazy, for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is that we work way too much.
I don’t know what it’s like in other countries, or even just other areas in this country, but growing up, I was instilled with the idea that the whole point of going to school is to get a job and work until retirement. Nobody ever really explained how to have a life beyond school and it was something I really struggled with. I think it’s part of the reason why I ended up abandoning a lot of schoolwork in high school, and feeling incredibly left out in college when I couldn’t pick a major. Everybody kept telling me that nobody knew what they wanted to major in, that I’d figure it out, but this is not what I’d been taught. I believed that there would be an “aha!” moment, where I suddenly knew what the right career path would be. Just like falling in love and suddenly knowing in your gut that “this is the one.” It’s all crap. Do other countries believe this, or is it the Disney effect?
I think part of the American work ethic stems from our countries roots: we are and always have been mostly laborers (though that’s shifted to the white-collar middle-class in terms of population count nowadays). Most of the people who came here had nothing, we were mostly a nation of immigrants, so it makes sense that everybody worked their asses to the bone to get by and make a life for their families. That is the American Dream, to have the opportunity to work hard and make something of yourself.
What does that even mean, to make something of yourself? People talk about wanting to leave an impact on the world and it seems like such a ridiculous concept when you stop to think about it. As a singular person, it is very unlikely that many people will know your name unless you’re selling something (that applies to politicians, too). I think people just want to be appreciated, and there are much easier ways to become appreciated. You don’t have to invent the next sliced bread to have an impact. For me, making an impact is all about talking about my interests (hence this ridiculous blog).
Part of my unrest this year has been this unspoken struggle with “working” and “having a life”. I’m still trying to figure it out, but lately I feel like I’ve had some kind of breakthrough. I can’t really identify it, but I’m starting to feel like I can actually enjoy my time off and not just see it as a break until I go back to work in the morning. I hope that eventually, I can shift my identity to a hobbyist that works, instead of a Help Desk Specialist with hobbies.