Monday, April 02, 2012

I Promise This Isn't a Suicide Note

I like myself better when I'm around other people.  This is not to say that I don't like myself when I'm alone.  I just don't like myself when I'm alone and I don't have a purpose, a project, Things To Do.  I'm pretty good at coming up with Things To Do, but there are an awful lot of times I just feel... useless.  It's a curious thing.  It's not that I'm unhappy, I just feel like there's no point to my living.

I look at my life and wonder what would be different if I weren't here.  I feel like I should have other people to live for - a family of my own.  Don't get me wrong - I'm crazy about my family - my parents, my siblings, and so on.  They are awesome individually and collectively.  But I feel like I have to rely on them too much to fill the gaps where someone else should be by now.  I should have a sub-family of my own by now, people to look out for and take care of and talk to and who will do the same for me.  My family loves me, but I don't think they need me.

So what do I live for?  Work?  Despite choosing a rather altruistic profession, I don't get a great deal of personal satisfaction from teaching the children, touching the future, blah, blah, blah.  There are plenty of other teachers out there who would do fine work and would probably very much appreciate the job, given the state of the education market these days.  I don't think lives are significantly different because I personally am their teacher right now. 

Plus, I'm rather annoyed with my job.  I really am fine with hard work, but it's getting harder to keep giving so much when there's no compensation for it.  I don't mind the low salary, but I am starting to mind working for so long and so hard for free, let alone the number of things I personally buy for my classes.  I am also tired of teaching under perpetual uncertainty - Will they cut our benefits next year?  Our salaries?  Will my position be the next to go?  Will the district shut down?  Will there be a job for theater teachers in schools anywhere in the next few years?  It's hard to keep going to work, to stay optimistic despite the Sword of Damocles.  The frequent reports of yet another school shooting don't exactly make this career choice more appealing either.  It seems that work should either 1) give you personal satisfaction or 2) give you the financial means to do what does give you personal satisfaction.  If it can do both at the same time, terrific!  But what if it's doing neither?

So if I don't have a sub-family, and I'm not living for my career, what else is there?  I plan trips, I go see shows, I exercise and read and learn new crafts, but it is all beginning to feel wasteful.  Selfish.  I'm doing things for me, and that's just doesn't seem worthwhile.  And so I start to wonder - what's the point to my living?

Like I said, I promise I'm not suicidal.  I'm not depressed either.  It's more of a philosophical question.  Spiritual, perhaps.

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