I think it’s pretty common, in any area of activism or advocacy, to get passionate about something before you fully understand it. We look back on things we did years ago, and while we understand our reasoning at the time, we also can see how we’d do that differently today. Writing that sentence out, I think it probably applies to most aspects of life. It’s part of what we are, and it always will be, no matter how much we cringe at some of our memories. I think that kind of reflection is also an important part of who and what we are, and we live in a world that doesn’t often allow us to have time for it.
There are some things in this video that don’t fit my life one to one (I think that’s part of why I haven’t seen more than one or two videos from this channel, but some of this hits hard.
That feeling she describes – like I never get to actually have time off, because I haven’t “earned” it. That’s part of what made my salaried work at TERC so difficult towards the end – it wasn’t that I was doing worse or less work than others necessarily, it’s that the way I did it meant that I never really got time off, and no matter how many different techniques I tried to keep my brain in line, they’d only work for a short time, because they became a sort of hobby in themselves, until they just stopped working.
I’m working on a new novel now, in addition to this blog and my other fiction projects, and it’s going well. I’ve been able to maintain daily posting and work on fiction projects, all without burning out. That didn’t just happen out of nowhere – it happened when I managed to convince myself that time spent writing really, truly counted as “work”. I don’t know if I’ll be able to make ends meet with this. I am incredibly lucky in that I have a couple years in which there are almost no external forces determining my schedule, and while it took me a while to get into it, I’m finally able to write. I finally have the time and the energy to do the work that I want to do, at my own pace. If I’m honest, the thought of having to go back to the way things were is horrifying. For all the good things in my life, it often didn’t feel like living. It felt like I was waiting to get my shit together, and then my life would start.
It felt that way all through my 20s, and most of the way through my 30s, even when I had a good job, a decent income, and good benefits. I got a brief taste of this life back in Somerville, when I took a little time off after leaving TERC, but I also had the threat of the U.S. healthcare system hovering over me. A big part of why I care so much about building a world where people get free time to themselves by default, is that that seems like the only way that people will ever be able to pursue happiness.
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