Achieving a constant state of flow is expensive, both directly in terms of cost and indirectly in terms of opportunity cost. Because of this inherent cost, I have gotten myself into a good enough state of artificial flow. During my week I feel a sense of achievement in making sure my boss is happy with my work. He is easily pleased and I am actively learning something new almost everyday. I also have family and enough friends to keep me occupied in my free time.
Then comes the weekends where nothing is planned. I catch up on sleep, then complete most of my to-do list. Once all that clears away I am painstakingly aware that despite all the goals I have achieved, all the knowledge I have attained, and all the money I have saved in my retirement account, l feel as though I have gotten no where.
I feel so lazy at the thought that despite all that work I still feel empty like a hamster on a wheel. I accomplished all my dreams. I feel so grateful and fulfilled that I have been able to do all these things that I needed to do to evolve into who I am today. So why the hell am I so bored?
Nothing is keeping me in the flow. Goals feel like just more shit I have to do because I accomplished all my goals, I rose above and now all that goal accomplishment energy has no true goal to apply itself to. Any new goal is just me trying to find the next subject or topic that will keep me engaged in the world. Something that captures my attention and holds me to it all the way to the end. Sadly, no. I can’t find flow. Even in books. I can’t find a new genre to get into. I miss the captivation of a new subject to master.
I have things to do, I just don’t feel like doing them will get me anywhere. I’ll still end up on the other side of that goal in the same place trying to find the next thing that will take me some place exotic.
I could pay for another degree or plane ticket. I could, but once that trip is over, like all the others, I’ll probably be sitting right here again, bitching about how all my work has done nothing but keep me occupied while time passes. My flow is fragmented, all the pieces are living their own separate lives and I’m just juggling all my various skills and abilities trying desperately to get them all together into something that keeps me happy all the time.
“I just want the pants!” The phrase that plays in my mind whenever I think of performance inabilities. I was taking a pattern making class at a community center in a suburb of Auckland, New Zealand. The woman who exclaimed the phrase had been to several Saturday pattern making classes because she was a very wide-hipped and narrow-waisted hour glass. The kind who never in her life had a pair of pants that actually fit her shape perfectly. She was on the verge of tears, trembling lip an all, as she yelped out that echoing phrase. Making her own pants was the last option within her budget. Despite hours of hope, all hope was lost. It suddenly became clear that nothing she could do was going to fulfill that hope. The dark cloud of despair entombed her face and never left for the rest of the class.
Maybe it is the budget that kills us. Yes, if we had all the money in the world we would be able to let someone else deal with the stress of finding us pants that fit. First world problems. The ability to dream and see in one’s mind that a different reality can exist for us is monumental to our survival. No one can stay sane if they are aware that every day of their future is likely to be just as shitty as the one they have been experiencing for the last God knows how many days. No one. I must envision a brighter future. I must see how my inputs into this waste of time will convince someone that I am capable of moving on to the next level. Beating the boss takes stamina. It takes wit and intellect. These’s people are dense and narrow minded because they need to be to keep their cog of the wheel operational. They can’t just let everyone pass go and collect $200. You have to pass their unacknowledged tests to pass go. That’s life.
Problem is, passing Go takes time. The amount of time passing Go takes is different in different cultures. Some cultures understand the real world. Some cultures understand their own real world. To a person who has traveled and lived in the “real world”, this idea is confusing. Imagine taking a multiple choice test for an online college course. No lectures, just a text book to rely on for information. One test question asks, “The best way to make a profit is to buy low and sell high, true or false?” What is your answer? You can rationalize that both answers are correct in some way or another. But according to the text book that you are being tested on, the answer is “true”. Not because your life experience has told you that it is true, not because your friends agree, but simply because in the context of this specific life situation, the text book explicitly says that on page 279. A+ for you.