If I read any of the articles inside, I have since forgotten them. I have not, however, forgotten the title. It was just true enough and just cute enough to be clever, and it consequently became a tiny wrinkle in my brain that I’ll never forget.
Of course, the real reason I remember it is because it comes to mind every time I do laundry. “Life’s too short to fold your underwear,” I’ll say, shoving a fistful of boxer shorts into my top dresser drawer.
Over the years, it hasn’t held much more meaning than that. It was a silly thing I recited to make me feel less guilty about doing something lazy. But it made sense: Nobody sees my messy underwear drawer but me, so why even bother?
Recently, something happened that caused me to take it at more than just face value.
Within the past month I started a new job. It was a relief when I was hired, because I had been looking for a “decent” job at “decent” pay for nearly six months. As I found out, doing this in the economically depressed state of Michigan is quite difficult, despite my skills and experience.
Without getting too descriptive, I can sum up my job in one sentence: I’m responsible for nearly 3000 TVs across the nation, all of which play nothing but commercials.
Now, before anyone starts making assumptions or thinks I’m exaggerating (remember, I don’t want to elaborate with description) — Yes, 3000 is accurate. No, I’m not solely responsible. This doesn’t change the fact that every evening and weekend since I started, my voice mailbox has been bombarded with complaints about how “Our TVs aren’t working.”
Sometimes I think “I didn’t sign up for this.” The position described to me during my two interviews doesn’t really resemble the position I’m working — which wouldn’t necessarily bother me, except…
…I was told this was “basically a 9 to 5 job.” My hours have been closer to 8:30 to 7:00 every day, and the kicker is that my position is exempt from overtime.
Consequently, my new job steals my energy. I feel like I’ve had no time to write blog entries about my awesome Chicago trip, about how my digital camera broke, or how some of our friends got married this past weekend.
It’s bizarre because before I started my new job, I would lie awake at night worrying about how I didn’t have anything to write about because all I was doing was looking for work. I felt frustrated and uncreative because I had plenty of time to write, but I wasn’t doing things worth writing about.
Now that I have a day job, I lie awake at night worrying about how I don’t have time to write anymore. I feel frustrated and lost because although I have things I want to write about, I have less time to dedicate to writing. Ironically, if I wasn’t complaining about it this very moment, I could be writing about any of those things — and yet I’m still satisfied because I’m taking the time to write something.
But I digress… I want to talk about what happened recently that helped me realize the meaning behind the title of that book.
I started working again, and it’s been eating up my time this month. Some of our friends got married on Saturday (Congratulations Keara and Adrian!!!), and we had a blast dancing the night away at the reception. Cassie and I didn’t get home until 2 in the morning, so when we woke up Sunday afternoon, we had to hurry to get things done before the workweek began, namely: grocery shopping, and laundry.
Per usual, I shoved a fistful of boxer shorts into my top dresser drawer and said “Life’s too short to fold your underw—”
I stopped because I experienced a moment of enlightenment. Somehow, I was able to recognize the real meaning behind what I had been saying every laundry day for the last three years that I had never pieced together before:
Life’s too short to spend it doing shit that doesn’t matter.
Somehow, I’ve managed to take a step backwards. Once again I’m working a job that leaves me unfulfilled simply because I feel as though what I’m investing my time into each day isn’t worth a damn in the grand scheme of the world. I’ve come full circle and reinvented myself as a slightly different member of the Working Dead.
So that’s that. It’s clear that I can’t settle for what I’ve got going for me right now. Moving forward, I need to ask myself the question: What’s the next step?
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