The Grass is Greener Lifestyle Dilemma

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When I was in elementary school, I had an active imagination. That imagination led me to pretend my classroom was a workplace and my bedroom was an apartment, and I was an adult. Now, of course, I wish I could be in elementary school again because that shit was easy, yo.

Even when I was in university, with a flexible schedule and only 15 hours of in-class time each week, I longed for a future that didn’t require studying and writing papers in off-hours to be coordinated with a part-time job that took evenings and weekends in a varying schedule. That, and I wanted a real income.

When I finished university, I got a shitty job with varying shifts that included evenings and weekends. It met my ambitions in striving for mediocrity for my early-to-mid-20s with just enough pay to get by. Working at that job motivated me to strive for a regular day job so I could have evenings and weekends off.

But now I have that. There is so much that is lost to previous schedules when I could occasionally fit something into the morning or afternoon. Now I have to worry about how my own business hours mirror those of other places, meaning I can’t arrange convenient times for things, or avoid busy crowds by going places when most other people are at work. While I didn’t make much money during university most of it was spending money, and I at least had more flexibility in choosing what I wanted to do when, even with my classes. The length of the working day at my shitty job was shorter, meaning I earned less money but had more time. I got to spend more time at home when working that job, even if my apartment was shitty because my rent budget was lower.

Part of my current time problem is I take the long way home every day, because I don’t work as close to my apartment as I would ideally wish. But having been unemployed for many months of the past few years I know what the alternative is – having so much time but no money to spend, as well as no other purpose to justify getting up in the morning except to look for jobs. On these winter mornings when I have to get out of bed when it’s still dark, and it’s so much colder above the blankets than underneath, so I do think back to when I slept in every morning. I think back to that whenever there’s something I need to do or want to be able to do for things outside of work, but I know it isn’t feasible. When I was unemployed I want what I have now, with perhaps an hour of the time it takes up shaved off, but I shouldn’t be complaining.

Most of the time I’ve been satisfied with where I am, with my schedule and my purpose and my lifestyle as a whole. I think the winter months are getting to me, that I have to get out of a warm bed and that it’s dark by the time that I leave. I wish that I could get more bang for my buck with the rent that I pay by spending more time at home, so any other commitment that I have feels like a burden taking away value from what I have no choice but to pay for. I wish I worked in my community so I could enjoy it more, like that brief period when I could, in fact, walk home for lunch every day. But I suppose if my mid-20s ambition was for a mediocre job and little disposable income, my late-20s ambition shouldn’t yet reach for the stars. I have my 30s to look forward to for that.

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