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Work in the Fall

Bus to fall

Bus to fall

There is something about going to work in the fall. Trees are alight with color, the sky is thin and clear, and there is the sense of energy and purpose. You are supposed to be doing this now.

School echoes. Queasiness and grasping for summer would have been past by now; summer would be a hazy dream if it could even be remembered, back a million years ago. Pencils have worn down and out from arithmetic and bubbling in circles for mechanical judgement, and nobody has new clothes any more, just school clothes. Nothing is too new; things are starting to be predictable habits. There is energy even if purpose is unclear. Every message is clear: you are supposed to be doing this now.

A coworker friend who moved to New York raved about the New England fall: the leaves, the colors. I said those things are out here too. But in New York it’s sunny, she said.

Sun sun sun

Sun sun sun

It seems plenty sunny to me, a great benefit for my tendency toward depression over the last decade or so. I’m grateful for the brilliant clean light, the air so clear it seems polished.

Inside this building people buzz or are still: middays can feel like a tomb or like Grand Central Station. There is much to be done, though seldom clear what this is, and people to do it, though it’s not clear who or where they are. It’s not a problem for me, paid by the hour.

Meaningful work is one the foundations of self-actualization, said a book I’ve forgotten except for that. Aside from food and shelter and obvious, violent threats, we all need something sensible and worthwhile to do. Even if it isn’t, I think most times it’s fine. You have a place to go, money coming in, an air family you can depend on within the static walls.

Work makes it easy to avoid real work. This is its only pitfall and I think why it’s so easy to get caught up in. I can leave my partner or friends or family to fend for themselves, given how much bread I’m earning them. I can please the bosses like I pleased the teachers and parents–it’s just more of the same, really, but paid with money instead of grades. And best of all you can avoid real work, the things you always wanted to do and dreamed of but which take up so much time, which are always nibbled at by the need for a place to live or gas for the car.

Be careful. We are older now, not the kids who could do anything. We are the adults who can do what we realize is truly important.

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