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Jun 25, 2006

Although I am relatively healthy and have a mostly happy home life, there has been an undercurrent of tension disturbing my sleep, distracting me during waking hours and causing me to brood about life in general and mine in particular. Today all of this crystallized and the nugget of truth emerged: I am not happy in my work


Over these past several months I have been dreading every workday, knowing that with each hour that passes as I sit at my desk shuffling papers, making phone calls and updating information, a little bit of me is dying. I am losing touch with what makes me me – trying to squeeze out a smidgen of time here and there for creative pursuits. I come home each night exhausted, not because my work is physically rigorous, but because it is stifling my soul.
 
For someone as creative in so many areas as I am, I have for the most part worked in fairly pedestrian jobs since I stopped living the life of a professional entertainer many years ago. Although I would rather be writing, shooting photos, or making music, somehow I have allowed myself to slide into the security of routine management and administrative work. For such a one as I, this is not a good thing.

If I were 25 or 35 or maybe even 45, I might not be so afraid of a career change away from the ordinary into a landscape that would be challenging and fulfilling. But I am 55, and have others depending on my regular salary for support and health benefits. I have financial obligations associated with everyday living. I have a teenage son who will be off to college in August. And most of all, I have a great deal of trepidation that what I have to offer creatively would not sustain even a working poor lifestyle.

“Follow your bliss” was the trademark saying of Joseph Campbell, the late, great master of mythology and the classics. Easier said than done! To follow my bliss, I would need an independent income of at least $35-40k a year in order to supply myself with necessary creative and technical tools as well as to cover everyday expenses.

I did follow my bliss during my twenties: writing songs, singing them solo and with bands, traveling from New England through New York and Nashville and on down to the Florida Keys. But the landscape and architecture of America, indeed the world, was different then. It was a time when people did not universally worship money, security, power. Creativity was rewarded and honored, and not by huge corporations but by the people in the street.

Worrying about health care, investment and retirement accounts and Social Security was unknown; not only because the largest generation in America – the baby boomers – was young, but also because life seemed good, once we muddled through the horror of Vietnam, with endless vistas of security and chances for change. It seemed, then, that all things were possible. In the sixties and seventies, experimentation, broadening one’s horizons, being unafraid to confront and defy the machine, was accepted.

Nowadays if one doesn’t fit the mold – as I don’t, being unwilling to chisel off my questioning, challenging edges to fit neatly into whatever place is reserved for me – one is looked upon as a malcontent, a troublemaker, a person who might be dangerous to the status quo, in and out of the workplace. There is a hard edge to America now, a social Darwinism that permeates our government, our workplaces, even our advertising. There is no longer room at the table for rebels, for questioners, for challenges to the status quo. Culture has taken a back seat to politics and power. Even our children are being molded by schools, sports and society not on sound principles and fairness, but on competition and concentration on material rewards. It is an uphill struggle, at least where I live, to keep fair play, kindness and compassion in view.

Now that I have identified the source of my discontent, my greatest fear for myself is that I will slide into despair, acceptance and resignation - that I will never make the move to reclaim my bliss. I hope I can find the strength of character and support to make the necessary life changes. I hope that it is not to late to begin, once more, to tap the green living source of my creativity, nourish it and help it blossom.

© 2006 RC deWinter


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Posted: Jun 25, 2006 6:55am

 

 
 
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RC deWinter
, 5
Middletown, CT, USA
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