Dear Chad. July 2, 2017

Dear Chad,

 

I hope this letter finds you well. Last I’d heard, you were melting away in that muggy Massachusetts summer. I’ve had quite a revelation today, and thought to tell you first. It happened in the most mundane place: the supermarket. Specifically, I was waiting by the automatic doors, bags in hand, staring at the wall of managers, and district managers, and employees of the month, and of the year, and so on. They all looked dashing– wearing button ups and suit jackets, smiling. I zeroed in on this one picture of Rachel, the store’s manager. It dawned on me that she looked happy. This doesn’t necessarily mean that she is or was happy during the time of the picture, but in my mind the idea of Rachel was a happy human being– if that makes any sense.

 

Then I zoned out; the faces blurred and I stood there for a while. These were all happy people it seemed. It struck me as odd. How could a person, who does the same thing every day, day in and day out, find happiness? Now, forgive me, I know that that sounds incredibly pretentious, but the notion of happiness and monotonous routine seem mutually exclusive. But, that’s not the revelation.

 

The revelation was, to put it simply: that I’m scared; terrified of the 9 to 5 life.

 

Day in, day out. Over, and over. And, over. Again.  

 

Getting up at quarter to eight, showering, eating a modest breakfast– maybe toast with peanut butter and banana. Driving to work in a leased car while I listen to classic rock. Greeting co workers who may or may not like me, but still have to be cordial to me because we’re in a professional setting. Going to the occasional meeting to discuss company goals and how to reach them, ultimately not solving anything, yet feeling the vague sensation of progress. Then lunch, that I’ve packed. Probably a sandwich and some chips. On fridays I’ll splurge and go out on my half hour, getting fifteen minutes to eat my semi-fast food. Then it’s back to the “grind” as I’ll call it, which will consist of playing on my phone for long periods of time. (Did you know that on average, an American worker is productive for like a quarter of the time he’s actually at work?) At five I’ll leave to go back to the apartment, and maybe eventually the house. I’ll be too tired from not actually working all day that I’ll want to sit on the couch, eat pringles, and binge Netflix series. It’s dark in an instant. It’s already ten? Better be off to bed so that I can repeat the process tomorrow, next month, next year, next ten…

 

Day in, day out. Over, and over. And, over. Again.

 

I’m scared that I’ll fall into that hole, Chad. Perhaps that’s why I’ve cancelled the few interviews in Boston that I’ve had, and sabotaged the one’s I’ve had in Worcester. (I’m about to cancel another in Boston and take an internship instead.) Perhaps that’s why I’m hesitant to apply for jobs in the first place. Perhaps that’s why I’ve tried to stay away from home and struggle to stay afloat amidst my financial troubles. Perhaps.

 

I want, ultimately to be a creator– it’s fun. I realize that I’m no good at creating–writing, but that doesn’t stop me from pursuing it. It’s what I want. Something new and different every day. I want to create for the sake of creating. It excites me.

 

And, more importantly, I think Freud was right when he said that everyone wants to be remembered. I want to be remembered. I want to create things that are memorable. Even after I die and my bones blow away, I want to leave something behind. Something tangible. Exciting. Necessary. I want to create feeling and inflame emotions. Is that a stretch? Of course, but it’s what I want. This was part of the revelation– coming face to face with my ego. He knows that I’m bound to die even if I don’t walk around all day thinking about it– I don’t. He knows that I’m a petty person who desires love and affection, even when I convince myself that my motives are pure. He knows that I’m ashamed, but I know that too.  

 

And that was it. Staring at pictures of happy people. A dozen or so. I came face to face with my fears of routine, and how to live a fulfilling life. I think it’s safe to say that I learned a few things. For one, I’m quite a shallow person who needs to learn how to separate his happiness from his ideas of success. Secondly, my motives may not be as pure as I would wish, but as long as they work, then they’re fine by me. Kind of incompatible, eh? I can’t wait to hear from you.

 

Sincerely,

T.

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