21 September, 2010

At A Loss

How does anyone go through the process of defining what’s important; where to hold on to the passions of youth and how to weed out the childish ones while leaving some to, hopefully, blossom?

As a sociology student I learned a lot about how bad the world can be. I rely on myself and on my loved ones to show me how good it can be.

I have a confession. I am an armchair activist. Yes, when you take a measure and follow bad back it seems to distill down to money but, for me, is that enough? So my shopping at thrift stores and not eating animals  shrinks my carbon footprint and reduces the demand for suffering in both the human and animal population (because when you buy with dollars you’re condoning the process) but I can’t help but feel like it’s not enough, that my knowledge is woefully inadequate to be able to make a good decision about what food, clothes, or whathaveyou to buy. I get this paralyzing sense of dread every time I go shopping that everything I touch is suspect. “How can I buy anything!?” The sad part is I know that this feeling is true. Everything is suspect.

And yet, I still buy things. Pushing myself to willful ignorance or blinded by shiny stuff (those who know me know about that) I buy things; things I need and things I don’t.

“So,” I thought to myself, “If you’re not happy get off your rear and get going!” I started thinking about what I’d like to do with my life and I decided that I’d like to make “making a living while making a difference” my motto.

I applied for a job at PETA hopefully but knowing I would probably not be hired because I haven’t volunteered in quite a while and, of course, that was the case. They were very gracious about it.

I then resolved to get my volunteer on. I sent messages to a number of organizations and, the ones I heard back from, the message was a little off-putting. One thanked me for my interest in volunteering and than asked me for money (if I wanted to give money I would have just clicked “donate”). The other asked me to drop my their events any time (I’m at work) or email for an office orientation. I sent an email right away and never got a reply. I found this rather discouraging. it also made me a little cranky. Here I am offering my time (which I value greatly) and you can’t do me the (barely a) courtesy of a reply. . not even a “thanks but no thanks” one?

Discouraged, I continued to explore my options, met a freegan, read some anarchist literature, and considered the words of The Buddha.

It’s not a big secret that I don’t like my job. it depresses me to go to work every day. The only thing that makes it bearable are the awesome people I work with. I don’t know whether to consider this a weakness or a sign.

“It is from desire that suffering arises.” This is true on a number of levels. On a macro scale, the desires of developed nations harm developing nations economically, environmentally, and a million other ways. On a micro scale, Most people don’t like their jobs (fairly mild but I still consider that suffering) this leads to stress, ill health, broken families. . . Even the reason why we get jobs in the first place. . . Why do we want that stuff; nice cars, big houses, electronics? Do we need it? Do we need it the distraction?

On the other hand, I do like getting paid. It takes the pressure off Mr. Crow to support my fruit and veg habit. Also, we’d like to have a house someday relatively soon and I’ve dreamed of making friends with my backyard chickens since I was 13. I want to have a house so I can be free, garden in my yard, feel a little more self sufficient. I need money for that. We need to be able to maintain our car, pay for vet and doctor bills when needed, and we like to go out to eat. None of this is possible (or, at least not as easy) without my having a job. Also, I like to be busy. I don’t want to not have a job. I find that equally depressing.

Sam had to go to the hospital this week. He had crystals in his urine that blocked his urinary tract. We were able to pay for all of his medical expenses and not even feel it. The last time this happened (he seems to be prone to this condition, poor guy) I didn’t have enough money and the hospital i took him to offered to kill him because it was cheaper. I don’t have words (except for bad ones) for that experience but . . . well, I think that's pretty clear. To sum it up, my making money is a good thing for everyone from the tallest to the smallest.

I feel like I need reconciliation. I’ve got this dichotomous war going on in my head. I don’t like my corporate job but I need money. I need money for things that I don’t want to want and yet do. I can’t decide if I need to shake of the veil of ignorance or draw it closer to my face so I can more easily see through it.

I’m not ready to be uncomfortable.

1 comment:

  1. Hey,

    We have walked a lot of craziness at this point. In many ways, I feel you. i wish that I had the answers. Alas, I do not, but I am here for the process.