What do you do when your motivation at your day job flags to the point where it can no longer hold your attention, but you have a work ethic that you know you’re not honoring as well as you need to, and you need the income to survive? What happens when your hobbies, spiritual life, and passions outside of work become more real and emotionally important to you than what is really keeping you afloat financially?
Over time, I have shamefully drifted in this direction, engaging deeper and deeper into the realm of all things mystical, faerie, Renaissance and geeky, with Tarot decks, costumes, accessories and knickknacks that cost more money than I should spend and distract me from more important but far less personally engaging things, like making bigger than required mortgage payments or replenishing my emergency fund.
I have always maintained a very active life outside of work and have never defined myself by my career, which actually is intense, interesting and (ought to still be) engaging. I worked strategically and got lucky a few times to get to where I am in my career, but somewhere along the way, I got discouraged and less interested, and I finally stopped focusing and engaging as much. This has become a painful truth I must now face. My fantasy life has become more real and meaningful to me than my practical, wage earning life. While at work, I have found it harder and harder to focus on tasks, and I find my mind drifting to things outside of my job. I can’t seem to stop surfing the Web.
I am not sure what to do to get myself to re-engage fully in my working adult life. I worry this has gone too far and it will be difficult to turn back, because patterns become entrenched. But turn back I must. I need to find a way to prioritize my real world life and put my interests outside of work more on the back burner, at least while I am at work, or my work will start to suffer and consequences will be real.
It’s easy to say that we should “do what we love,” as Steve Jobs advised, but the reality is that most of us in the world do not have this luxury. For nearly 100% of the world’s population, we do what we must (or what we used to love and have invested too much time to change course) and we maintain activities we love outside of work that our wages support. In fact, even that notion of having activities other than work is a rich, first world luxury that very few will ever get to experience. Most people in the world work too hard for too many hours for too little compensation to ever even consider the possibility of hobbies.
Somehow, some way, I need to refocus, and to keep front and center the knowledge that I am privileged to have this problem.