I sometimes think that I have two versions of myself, because what I want versus what I do are often at odds with each other.
On the one hand, I want to spend my weekends sleeping in until a socially unacceptable hour and be able to escape away at a minute’s notice. On the other, I am living a schedule that is both mentally and physically tasking and am “online” most of the time. I know that most of what I do are things that I do by choice, but that doesn’t stop me from dragging my feet to do the things that I had put my hand up to do.
When I was 14, I scored my first proper part-time job working at a cafe in West Auckland. The barista life was pretty good. I had fixed hours and never once thought about work when I wasn’t physically at work. Stress and pressure were never a factor either. The most “stressful” moment of the two years that I worked at the cafe was when we ran out of coffee beans and had to secretly serve everyone coffee made out of decaf beans for a few hours (a bit unethical, but surprisingly no one noticed!).
I was back at the mall this afternoon where the cafe once stood, and realised that as much as I had loved making coffee and talking to people, I really didn’t miss the place. Sometimes I think that it would be so much easier to be content with a simpler life – a life less busy with fewer ups and downs – and sometimes that life gets pretty tempting. This time last week, I was working in a different time zone. This time next week, I’ll be on a plane to France for two weeks, competing at a mediation competition in Paris. I am very tired, pretty cranky and frankly just craving a good night’s sleep.
Sometimes I feel quite guilty about being caught up in what are effectively ‘first world problems’. To a third world observer, I am unhappy because I am tired because too many good things are happening in my life. It’s easy to get caught up in an existential crisis and forget that most people in the world are just trying to put food on the table.
I’ve hit a mental roadblock, and I’ve been asking myself why I do all the things that I do for a long time now. Working at the cafe was simple and easy. Doing what I do now is not very simple and not particularly easy. But I know that for all the early mornings and late nights that I do and all the emails that still need to be answered, I would never trade the challenges and learning curves that I have now for the fixed hours and coffee counter small talk.
And of course, there’s Paris.