Lucas Weismann

Choose Your Suffering

Here’s some writing from this January when I was working in a shop.

It’s Friday. I’m tired. I’m sore. I want to give in.

For the last three weeks, I’ve been working at a new job, working with tools and projects that have turned out to be very interesting.  I like the people, I love the work and yet, each time Friday rolls around- I want to quit.

Monday is exciting, Tuesday is good, Wednesday is normal, Thursday is fine, but Friday- somehow Friday is the opposite of what it should be.  Five days of waking up at 5am to get to work by 8am have taken their toll and all I want to do is sleep through the weekend.

Whether it’s the deservedly low pay (I’m the new guy, gotta pay my dues), the lack of sleep, or maybe the fact that it seems to be a universal that the job you sign on for is almost never what the job ends up being what you end up doing, somehow I’m just done by the end of the week.

Most of my adult life I’ve been a freelancer, someone who comes and goes as they please on a project-to-project basis.  Being knocked back into w-4 status feels like a huge step back.

There are really only two things that keep me coming despite the lack of bathrooms, difficult to find first aid kits, and hide-and-seek fire extinguishers.  I’m learning new things constantly and I don’t have anything better to do.

Okay well, when I say I don’t have anything better to do— that’s not exactly true.  I have better things to do, but most of them are either long-term payoffs or they don’t pay at all.  In either case, it is impractical of me to do other than I am doing at the moment.  Where else am I going to find someone who will pay me to train me in skills I want to learn?

Like I said, I like working for the West Virginia Good Old Boy and the Gruff North Woodsman whose laugh sounds a bit like The Penguin on the old Batman television series.

—> Recently I read a book that made the point (though with more profanity) that all of life is suffering.  Poor people suffer because they have nothing.  Rich people suffer because of their worry about their possessions.  Orphans suffer from their lack of family.  The rest of us suffer because of our family.  Life.  Is.  Suffering.

When I read things like this, I usually smile and think of the moment in The Princess Bride before the Man in Black reveals himself to Princess Buttercup who complains that he mocks her pain.  He responds angrily, “Life is pain, Highness.  Anyone who says otherwise is selling something!”

Obviously, there are other parts of life than suffering but we all suffer the same.  The lazy suffer because they’re lazy, the ambitious suffer from their ambitions.  Right now, I need to remember this when I’m tired and crabby and want to quit.  I need to remember that this is my suffering because like most people, this is the suffering I’ve chosen.

The question is not if I should suffer gladly, but rather is my suffering worth what I gain from it.  Can I care more about something I want than the suffering it costs to purchase it.  Is it a price worth my time and focus and soul?

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