Monday, June 30, 2008

My American Dream

My daily routine: I wake up about a half hour before I have to go to work. I go to the bathroom, I get dressed, I check my internet favorites in the same order every morning. I go to work. I do my work in the same order until lunch time. Then I eat a turkey sandwich with a bag of chips, a side of pasta salad, a cookie, and a diet coke. Then I work some more until 5. I leave work, go home, and spend my precious remaining hours of the day with either myself or my boyfriend. I go to bed at the same time every night and the cycle repeats the next day.

Is this what our human existence in America has become? I see the factory line everywhere. You’re born. You grow up through years of school. If you do well in school, you’re lucky to get a job where you do the same thing everyday, staring at the same wall or screen until you reach retirement. Even if you don’t do well in school, you still get a job repeating the same motions every day. Then retirement comes and you do nothing until the end…at least that seems to me what happens.

The American dream consists of repetitive motions. This isn’t my dream, why would my dream be staring at a computer screen, filing, and occasionally getting bitched at for something that wasn’t in my hands? That seems like a ridiculous dream. Capitalism is a fight that I don’t understand and I have no idea how to come out on top. It could be that I would just like success handed to me, but that doesn’t seem to be the way it works.

Work, work, work. I understand that some people like what they do, but they get some thread of creativity and action. What action can a desk hold? My life has become routine. It’s the exact opposite of what I wanted. Aren’t I creative? I feel my creativity being crushed with every invoice I fax, with every phone call with an ignorant customer, with every glance at the ceiling begging for 5 o’clock. Things…are becoming difficult.

I had a moment of weakness a few months ago. A moment of, heaven forbid, self thinking. Inspired by a movie, I nearly dropped everything and fled to Hawaii. I had no money, no plan, just the motivation to leave everything and be happy. I have a motto, “do what makes you happy.” Shouldn’t I follow my own advice? Certain things keep me grounded. My boyfriend, my work…the impressions and expectations other people have of me. I worry too much about other people’s expectations of me. I stay in school because it’s what they want. I keep my jobs because it’s what they want. Everyone wants to see me be successful in ways they weren’t.

But school and work and monotony are not my idea of success. My idea of success is happiness in whatever I do. I don’t really care if I don’t finish school. I’d be thrilled if I didn’t finish. If I lived fruitfully without a job, I’d be ecstatic. I want to live on a boat and trade and barter for my luxuries, I want to be somewhere tropical—away from the cold forever—and watch a sunset every night thinking I actually enjoyed my day. I want to fall asleep in my boyfriend’s arms, not thinking about what papers I’ll need to laminate tomorrow and wake up to the sound of waves, not beeps, and soak in free time.

I want to go to exotic lands and help people. I want to experience other cultures and the way others live. I don’t want to do it through some program that let’s me live in a house with amenities for a week while I help kids learn how to make boondoggles. I want to write successfully, I want to be an anthropologist—not a mass communications major. I want to be a vagabond. I want to learn on my own, I want stacks and stacks of books purchased of my own accord, teaching me things I want to know, not things I “need” to know. I want to learn languages, I want to learn histories, I want to learn philosophies without thriving to stick to my own. I want…freedom from everything.

I’ll continue to daydream at my desk until I work up the courage to drop everything and live freely, the way I want to.


Ang & Ryan said...

I totally feel you. I've worked in this office since I was 17, and since its an office I feel my creativity being sucked out of me. Anthropology sounds great, except they can't write, they write non emotional books, full of facts and as politically correct as they come...

Writing is awesome though, its supposed to be passionate and full of life and joy and just be awesome. We've been watching some foreign films for one of Ryans classes and the same themes arise, technology and the luxury of capitalism destroyed the happy exotic family based cultures.
It was sad....

ClanRodgersAZ said...

None of our lives are exactly what we thought they would be or even what we may have wanted. Or getting to what we have may not have been the path we would have taken. Life is very complicated as you are finding out. UNTIL you pay your own way you will be expected to meet other peoples expectations.
Get an education. You will find you are able to finance all those dreams and ambitions and wants and desires much easier than on a clerks salary. My life could not be better than when my hands are in a flower pot and there is a little person looking over my shoulder. If I were retired and you were six life would be perfect if we were in the same place digging and swimming. Sometimes it just takes a while to get what you want. I love you and wish you happy. Nana

Abbracadabra said...

Hold on to this feeling before you get old and forget what it was like to live differently. I think you've got that chance.

rymiembeal said...

The beauty of capitalism is that you can do whatever you want to do. If there is nothing that you want to do you can create your own job doing whatever you want. As long as you know what you want, you can be doing it.