Lately I’ve been pondering on the meaning of life. Of course I didn’t come up with a better answer then to “just pretend it all matters, and then forget you’re pretending.” – Somehow that is unsatisfying for me.
First I have to look at why I am pondering on meaning and purpose at this specific moment. As you might know, or not know if you read this article in the far future from now, there is an economic crisis going on. Especially in the part of the Netherlands where I live, in the North-East corner, work is very scarce.
I am lucky to have found a job, and try to maintain it as long it will last. At the same time this job gives very little joy, pleasure or challenge. It’s in a factory, very hot and hard work, pressing glass-fiber products like outdoor garbage cans, industrial lighting cases, fertilizer bins to put on tractors, forklift seats and many other “plastic” products that contain glass fiber and are meant to not break under hard conditions.
Quitting this job would mean I don’t find a new one, and thus I would become dependent on welfare. This would mean I still have to work 32 hours a week, for a welfare support of 165 euro’s. That’s almost 1/10th of my wage now.
I snapped two times at work this week, simply because this isn’t my line of work, and I am not a technical or motoric genius. I am not used to work with my hands in a very precise way, nor am I very handy. But a job is a job so I put all my effort in to do it as good as I can.
I am quite a perfectionist, and deal very badly with failure. I want to do things right, that’s how I am brought up: If you do something, do it right – else it has no use doing it, unless it’s for fun, play or game of course. Being confronted with my lack of skill and need of help is very frustrating.
Colleagues are actually quite nice and try to be helpful to give tips and hints. Still I feel out of place there, between those that can manage it with so much more ease and less effort. It makes me insecure, and literally at the wrong place.
Nonetheless they give me time and space to learn and develop. They even cut me big breaks by dealing with my temper and still try to support me. Somehow they try really hard to prevent me from giving up. When looking at it like that, they really seem to care for me.
I feel trapped and stuck in a situation I can change little about. When there wasn’t an economic crisis and didn’t have a family to take for, I would simply leave and seek better elsewhere. This situation is forcing a confrontation with me – I HAVE to look at myself whether I stay or leave.
Choosing to stay is the most brave and daring of the two options. Personally I don’t think I will keep that up much longer, simply because it gets to my emotions and places of outside my comfort zone which causes a bite or flight reaction.
Still in order to stay I need to strengthen myself with meaning and purpose next to my work. Writing and reading seems the best option for me to keep me somewhat balanced. At least I get the chance to express my thoughts and feelings and maybe eventually even able to direct them.
I can impossibly live like a production machine, day in day out doing the same thing without having something stimulating on the side. A social life would be great, but somehow that hasn’t dropped by yet – maybe because I’m not a social talent myself.
I live a good life where I spend time with wife and kids and a lot of time outdoors. I work and eat healthy, workout a little bit and even read occasionally. Still I feel like something is missing and that is the outside world.
How to connect to the world without Facebook, Twitter, and yes even a blog in a small town where I am not born or raised is still the question. Also what I would want with those social contacts. It’s about rediscovering the value of social contacts, really integrating into a society that isn’t yours.
I feel socially poor – I say that with a smile on my face of course – but homesickness is what best describes my feeling when I think about social contacts as I was used to. Inside I still am a very social animal, and I still have this feeling that it is part of my job to get the community to be more open and spontaneous amongst each other.
I should network more actively trying to locate the organizations here in town that also want to bind people more together in joined activities and games etc. Maybe I should pick up volunteering again, or seek other places where I can apply my services. That is my natural way of connecting – by nature I love to help where needed.
I have worked social jobs for four years altogether, so in a line of work I can be very helpful, supportive and social quite easily. Maybe because it is expected more, or that I know that my spontaneous nature is more appreciated. But yes, seeing the turn that this writing made, from a factory worker longing back to the times where I was still a social worker that supported the needy, it is not so strange that I feel like “something is missing” in my life.
That is exactly why writing is good for me: It really is my way of re-finding and manifesting myself. It reflects my inner thoughts and ramblings. If these thoughts and emotions run thru my body and soul I might as well spout them out. It might create space for new thoughts, ideas and emotions – besides that, expression is an acknowledgement of the self and thereby helps manifesting and shows respect to that what we naturally are.