“Living” and “Livin’”

I’m not one to emphasize slang, but I believe there is a fine line between “living” and “livin.”

“Living” is what we are doing now, without a choice. When I am alive and working a lot, I am living, but I’m not doing a whole lot otherwise. In layman terms, I’m exhausted after working a lot that I don’t have the energy to do with the money I’ve made.

“Living,” to me, is the state I am in when all I do is work all of the time, with very little free time to do anything productive in my life.

“Livin,’” the slang term, is when I am able to have control of my life and be able to do productive things in my life.

There are pockets of time when I will disappear into the working abyss and rarely heard from. Those are the weeks that I’m working 55 hours a week, bouncing between shifts, and sometimes going straight from one job to another. No time for social stuff. No time for family. No time for being able to do anything productive in my life.

Being single doesn’t make it any easier.

I got the job that I’ve longed for (at SVM), but had to balance that with the gas station jobs. There was a lot of sacrifice with that – one instance being the worst point of my life – and all of a sudden I found myself with more money than I knew what to do with. However, I wasn’t happy. Everyone I knew had fun on those Friday and Saturday nights that I was stuck working.

Then I left Shell for Casey’s knowing that I would have more opportunities to have such days and nights to enjoy. Then the shifts between the two jobs would bleed through, giving the impression that all I did was work.

Sure, I was making money, but I had nothing to do with it. I didn’t need to buy anything. My “wish list” of items was complete by Christmas.

The exhaustion took a toll, and I decided to schedule myself some breathing room – whole days off from both jobs where I could relax and catch up on life. I began to feel better about myself as I could just pace and balance myself.

That doesn’t work well in the wallet, however.

I’ve lost probably two-thirds of my income since deciding to schedule more time off to get myself back together mentally and physically. Apparently it costs money to be sane.

I think of it as a giant Catch-22: The more hours I work, the more money I get – but the more depressed I feel; and the less hours I work, the happier I feel – but don’t have a lot of money to go around.

I don’t have a girlfriend, or children, to give me any motivation; otherwise there would be a reason for me to think differently about all of this.

The challenge is finding that gray area. I’ve been searching, and still can’t find it.

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