“The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.” – David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
Exactly two years ago I read The 5-Hour Workweek. A book to help you "escape the 9-5" and join the "new rich." The goal is to do less work for "the man" so you can have more time for yourself.
In a perverse way, I succeeded.
I've created a very comfortable space for myself. I cut the bullshit at work—reduced the number of meetings I attended, quit attending presentations and webinars, extricated myself from the most dysfunctional teams, etc. I saved so much time that I doubled my productivity. I talked to my employer and now I work (and get paid for) only 30 hours a week. My salary is high enough that 75% of it is still sufficient for a middle-class family. A dream, right?
I went down a path of increasing self-indulgence. I freed up time, but for what? For masturbation, literally and metaphorically. I mean, I had plans. Big ones. I reduced the time I work for the man to do the things that make me come alive.
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman
I wanted to "honor my calling." Instead I was beat up by Resistance.
Inside each of us there is a force for light and a force for darkness. You wonder why you stay so late? Why you quit going to the gym on March 1st Every. Fucking. Year? It's resistance. That extra slice of cake that makes you go "Fuuuuuuck!!" is the work of Resistance.
In me, Resistance transformed this dream of freeing time to express my art into an orgy of self-indulgence. I became the poor man's Charlie Sheen. And not even that. At least we was bursting into flames, living life in the fast lane. I, I just jumped from one YouTube video to the next, from one inconsequential chore to another.
I want to write and make music. What I've found is a way to mostly spin my wheels. I mean, don't get me wrong, I've made some progress, but nothing compared to what I could've accomplished if I had focused and planned my days better. I'm not even talking about laser focus, just paying attention to the myriad ways in which I burn my most precious resource—my time.
Maybe prompted by the end of the year, in the last couple of days I've had a reckoning with the Truth. I'm not getting any younger and the path I'm in is unsustainable, either at work or for my personal projects. I'm trying a new way of keeping myself on track. If it works, I'll tell you all about it. If it doesn't, I'll keep on looking until I find it.
I refuse let my life go down the drain.