I wonder if I’m useful to anybody. My “artistry” is but a drop in the salty ocean that is crashing with misery… No, we are not talking about misery, we are talking about something above and below the ocean. Something more tangible, I think. The spark that happens when a sharpened mind meets the proverbial metal.
The technical recruiters should be giving up on me now, now it’s been 11 months into my startup. Why should that makes me feel bad? Shouldn’t they be jealous? Not indifferent I’m sure… It doesn’t matter to me, it shouldn’t matter to me. I’ve learned they want you to pay the same price they are paying for a lesser good than they are getting. “What’s wrong with you?” They seem to be saying, “You are practically a beggar, out of touch with the real world.” Or was it just my insecurities?
I went to the real world, a coffee shop, to work. You see I get to decide how and where and when I get to work. It’s still something I’m getting used to. Like I can start writing at 1:45am because I feel my emotion’s sway and don’t have to worry about traffic and office politics tomorrow, today. So I indulge myself in a most important way. As I was saying, I went to this quiet and out-of-the-way coffee shop. It was not my intention to go to a quiet one for I like, and sometimes need, the hustle-and-bustle of the more urban coffee shops have to offer to get myself into gear. But this one is close and has good online reviews. It’s better than wondering where I should go anyhow.
They do have good coffee. And I saw a different type of people frequenting this place than the ones I’m used to. Instead of college students working on their assignments or tech workers going there for a change of scenery, there were people you’d normally see in a sleepy town: well-dressed older lady with family and older men with the kind of attitude you’d imagine they’d won the lottery. I felt uneasy in my Cuphead video-game T-shirt and faded jeans, on top of a ripped shoulder-bag and a laptop that has stickers on it. But I enjoyed the coffee.
I feel out of step with the world only in a narrow sense. The journey of finding myself again is a necessary one and it has led me to surprising realizations. I’m crying more often these days because of the pressure and the release. It gets easier to keep fear at bay, though it still has its use, so it has its place. But something else is surprising, or perhaps not surprising: it takes a lot to really do what you really think is worth your time. As a result, suffering has become a familiar visitor ever since it has stopped being just a pain but revealed itself as an opportunity.
Living your life not according to social norms means suffering to a degree. The doubts pierce your heart and every step is a leap of faith. But you know what, I have lived a stable life with the usual things and found it lacking. Doing startup or anything at all requires grits. And using those grits, testing them, tasting the bitterness is its own reward.
The key is to see the colors behind the dark and gray. Just because you are happy does not mean life is going well and vice versa. It does not matter what kinda plate you have been served, there’s always a meaning if you are looking for something, and there’s always something. But if you are holding onto something too much, measuring the life you are living with something that only lives in your fantasies you are missing the point.
Life was never supposed to be easy. Even when we are chasing after an easy life, it’s not the goal we are chasing, it’s the journey. Our ingenuity and our spirit can only truly shine when we are in motion, making contact with all the wrong things in all the wrong places. Can you feel that? When you are only squeezing by, do you feel more alive? We are chasing the wrong things. Leisure and excess, they are what kills, not struggles and hurt. Live for it, accept it into your life, carry on with it, be worthy of it all.