Yesterday I wrote about inspiration, and about how, as writers and artists, a very important part of our job is to just show up. While I think that has a lot of truth in relation to creative pursuits, I’m really struggling at the moment to see it happening in the pursuit I devote the biggest chunk of time to every week, my job. I mean I show up to work, goddamit it, every weekday from nine to five, month after month. All through the dark days of winter I’ve hauled my butt out of bed, gotten dressed in the freezing dark, and made the long commute into town. Each day, I’ve worked my way through lists, I’ve completed tasks, I’ve sat through meetings. I’m showing up. But no matter how much or how often I show up at my job, I do not feel inspired.
Maybe it’s post-holiday blues. Maybe the freedom and sunshine of the West Coast have turned my head and that’s why I’m finding it harder than normal to get myself into office drone mode. All I know is, I can do my job well, but it doesn’t mean I like it. I can be really really busy, but it doesn’t stop me being bored out of my brain. I know, I know. I need to change. But the thing is, I’m wary these days of change just for change’s sake. In my life I’ve had more changes of jobs and houses than just about anyone I know, but what I’ve learned the hard way is that just because you change something doesn’t necessarily mean you’re improving your situation. Change can be wonderful and invigorating. As good as a holiday, it’s true. But change, too much or too fast, can be exhausting, stressful, scary, and ultimately lead you nowhere.
I made a change to move to Tasmania and live on 50 acres and I’ve never regretted this decision. But if I were to toss away my job (which is a perfectly good job, despite all my whinging about it), I can guarantee you that the first thing I’d do would be to look for another one a lot like it. Why? Because I have a mortgage to pay. I have a house to build. I have to put cat food and birdseed on the table for Boots and Bertie. In short, Dear Reader, I can’t afford not to have an income coming in. And the fastest, and easiest way of doing that would be to apply for jobs that require experience such as I have in office work, whether or not I actually enjoy doing that work.
But it’s a hard thing, showing up day after day, year after year, when the inspiration just isn’t there. I hope, very much, that I can find a way to do what I love and make a living from it. Until then, I’ll show up to my day job, I’ll try to do it the best I can, and I’ll try to remember all the good things about it, of which there are many. And if I can’t find inspiration there it will have to be found in other, more cunning, and less well-paid ways. The soft trusting paw of my cat resting on my chin as he snoozes and twitches. The heart-lifting sight of the purple mountains through the window when I wake up in the morning. The final passage of a wonderful book resonating in my mind long after I’ve put it down. Sometimes the path of inspiration through a person’s life is a trickle thin and small as a tear, other times it gushes and roars like a river in flood. I’m tired of rationing the joy and adventure in my life. I’m ready for the rains.