In the past week I’ve had a couple of very interesting conversations that segued onto the topic of “comfort.” One friend, well settled into the traditional adult lifestyle (married, two dogs, kid on the way and a house with the white picket fence) espoused the virtue of, as he put it, “relaxing into 9-to-5 and living on the weekends.” He’s totally happy at a desk job, comfortable with the work and his social set there. More power to him, honestly. There’s a genuine happiness that comes from people who find their rhythm, and it’s a pretty cool thing to see.
Another friend is in between jobs, and desperately missing the routine. He’s craving security and routine — one some level, we all are — and reasons that, with what’s going on in the world (we’re living in some odd times) he wants some safety. It was a funny discussion over coffee, one that got even more animated as more caffeine was imbibed. He doesn’t mind settling into the system, he noted with half-chagrin. He just wants that security.
But, really, what is security? And at what price does it come? At some point there’s a price for everything, good or bad; and I have to reason the price for security is, on some level, submission. You want the full package? The fancy house and new car and classic “dream” lifestyle? Sure, work hard enough and it can be yours. That’s the beauty of it. And the cost is something some people will happily pay and never look back. Are you willing to let little things go; to ignore obstacles that once may have bothered you simply by their existence?
There’s a trade-off, one way or the other. And often the other side is pretty damn sobering, too.
Retaining the ability to work for oneself, to chase projects and explore new opportunities, isn’t comfortable. There’s a lot of shifting; things stay pretty fluid and more often than not, you’re left lying awake in bed at night wondering what’s next. How it all comes together. It’s 70-hour workweeks that become normal and 5AM alarm clocks. There are so many hours of waiting and wondering and working in exchange for the few, rare hours where you feel like “yeah, I got this.”
It’s also the ability to build your own work, to make your own choices and to fight your own battles. Uncomfortable, sure. Liberating? Hell yes.
So take your pick. Each side has its demons, each side has its benefits, and whatever you choose there’s no easy answer. Decide what you need, what you’re willing to go without and what really matters. It’s a choice that will be different for each individual.
Tags: Random Bits