The grind is a blur, isn’t it?
Monday hits like freight train. Friday can’t come fast enough. The weekends are far too short.
And so we rush through the workdays, clenching our teeth, getting our work done, and trying to make it through another week. 5/7ths of our time is spent generally doing things we’d rather not be doing. So we rush through.
When we live like this, the days become nothing more than a foggy memory, at best. At worst, they become totally forgotten.
I’ll Never Remember
That’s because there might not be anything worth remembering. After all, who wants to remember quotas, workplace drama, shady sales practices, overlords for bosses, tired mornings, worn-out Fridays, and timed breaks? (By the way, timed breaks are really unfortunate. I get 30 minutes to relax and eat? I’m being timed? Is this the Olympics or something?)
I spent my entire career in the auto industry, working for luxury car dealerships. It was 50+ hours per week of clustercraps.
Parts often didn’t arrive correctly or at all. Technicians almost never liked the jobs you gave them. Customers were rarely happy to see me. My co-workers often saw my jobs as jobs for them to steal. My money was their money, or something like that. Makes sense. Or not.
So when you’re spending most of your waking hours in an environment that is actively subtracting from your happiness, cooling your internal happiness thermostat, you tend to adapt by becoming almost robotic. You end up kind of like a zombie, shuffling from this spot to that spot, moving from one repetitive task to another. It’s kind of like the Zombie Apocalypse is happening every day.
You shut your mind off, trying to ignore the noise. You just want to make it through and collect the paycheck. And I think you become a little numb in the process, unfortunately.
Due to this, my entire career in the auto industry (which spanned something like nine years) is a very foggy memory.
There’s much of it that I don’t really remember. I can speak in generalizations about the job functions I had to perform on a regular basis, but I remember very few specific moments.
I was rushing through from Monday to Friday as fast as I could, only to then try to slow down on the weekends. And it’s those weekend breaks that I can often clearly remember.
I tried to cram in all of my happiness in on the weekends, counteracting the negative effect that the job placed on my internal happiness thermostat. And I tried to take it all in. I tried to really be there in the moment. I wanted to enjoy my time in the sun.
Well, my time in the sun is almost unlimited these days.
I’ll Never Forget
Since I’m no longer rushing to get through the week, I’ve essentially turned Zombie Mode off. The Zombie Apocalypse becomes a bit more scary once you’re no longer an unwilling participant.
I don’t want to ignore anything. I don’t want to be numb to the world. I don’t want to shuffle from place to place, task to task, issue to issue. In fact, I don’t have to be at any particular place at any time; no tasks are bothering me to complete in a timely fashion; issues are pretty rare in my daily life.
And so the way I retain memories has really changed.
I feel like I’m far more involved in moments than I ever was before. And instead of trying to cram those feelings and memories into just a day or two, I’m able to spread it out over all the days.
Now, I’m not saying I can recall with photographic memory exactly what I did on August 2nd (or any other day).
But I am saying that life is far less blurry nowadays.
Without that need to just grit your teeth and bear it on a fairly regular basis, life becomes far more pleasurable and easy going.
You want to remember things. You don’t want to forget anything. And so that desire to retain memories, feelings, smells, tastes, pleasure, and pain manifests itself by way of a larger mental library of all of it. I feel like my collection of moments are greater than ever before.
And what is life if not a collection of moments? Why live a life if you can’t remember these moments?
I believe my brain dealt with unhappiness through forgetfulness. By forgetting that things happened, I could protect myself from harm. It’s a protection mechanism. At least that’s how it’s worked for me.
So I’ll never remember all the little things that, in aggregate, made me very unhappy. I can only speak in generalizations nowadays. I’ll never remember what it was really like to operate like a numb zombie for most of my waking hours.
However, that protection mechanism is completely off now. Financial independence has awoken something inside of me, and my memories are far more in number and far more vivid in quality these days. I’ll never forget these moments that, in aggregate, make me a happier and more well-rounded version of me, putting me in a position to strive toward my ultimate potential as a human being.
What do you think? Do you think you’ll never remember and never forget?
Thanks for reading.
Image courtesy of: mapichai at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
(Interesting story: I had to fill out a CAPTCHA in order to download the zombie picture that accompanies this article. One of the two words for the CAPTCHA was “work”.)