Playing Solitaire

The cards float down onto the screen from a magical heaven, and there they are, all laid out before you in orderly disarray, just waiting for you to sort deftly and arrange with a crisp CLICK from your mouse. You start to work, matching and categorizing, strategizing and prioritizing like an executive assistant. Your attention to detail is keen. Your task is accomplished in a matter of minutes. You are a Free Cell goddess! One additional click, and you can begin the process anew, amassing an empire of ‘wins’ and improving your statistics.

Inevitably, your mind starts to wander. “I’m supposed to be finding a job. I’m supposed to be updating my resume. I’m supposed to be generating income.” CLICK. CLICK. Drag….CLICK. Minutes tick by. You are mesmerized by a brilliant shower of red and black and white, diamonds in spades. Fireworks follow. Then you ask yourself, “Have I accomplished anything?”

Perhaps.

I am becoming aware of myself. Of my work ethic, my motivation, my skill set. I find routine incredibly easy. I find detail work effortless. And I find them both supremely boring, but somehow, not boring enough to get me angry in the moment. I become perturbed after the fact.

I want to be productive. I want to be useful, informative, inspirational. I want to be honest, authentic, and open. I want good and meaningful engagement with the world. And I keep sucking away my life at things like computer games.

Why am I stuck? Why don’t I begin something BIG?

I am afraid of failure. I shame myself constantly by mental audiotape. “You’re not qualified. You don’t have the expertise. You don’t have the style they want. You won’t follow through. It’ll be too difficult. It won’t happen.” Buzz words from the samples you just read ring in your ears.

“Go-getter. Self-starter. Highly motivated (fill in the blank) SEEKS…”

Is everyone more hard-working than I am? Or just more eager to appear so? Am I highly motivated to help Consolidated So-And-So get ahead? No, I’m not. I’m not philosophically supportive of this capitalistic system at all. I would like to earn an honest wage, live simply (at least by American standards) and physically, and keep contributing to something important until the day I die. Pay me $15,000/year to write passionately about the environment, to teach and inspire a visitor, to file and proofread and make coffee and encouraging remarks, and I will die happy. Each day would be an adventure, and I might leave for serial adventures in other employs, but I think that would be a fine life for me.

Right now, I’m in this dialogue. Free/Cell. Am I free? A jack-of-no-trades? How do I stop playing the game and start living the life?