River of the other life

Date: 1/3/23

Every time I am away from work for any extended period of time it is hard to go back. When I’m gone, I’m usually adventuring or visiting people I love or doing any of things I enjoy doing when I’m not at work. And when I’m doing those things I feel like I’m living a completely different life. It’s the life I’m comfortable and happy in. It’s the life where I don’t worry or stress, I go with the flow, and everything just seems to work out.

Then that life ends, as it tends to do when you have a real job, and I go back to my other life. This other life is a means to an end. Most of the time I’m not happy. I’m lucky if I’m content. The other life is like going down a river with whitewater without any gear or even a raft. The rapids knock me into rocks and pushes me under the water. I struggle to reach the surface and take a breath. I feel trapped, frenzied and like I’m barely able to hang on. Then the rapids give way to a calm river, and I can relax a little bit, but only so much because I know there are more rapids ahead. Not to mention I don’t even know how to swim! (Seriously though, I can’t swim)

There are moments when I reach the shore, and those are the moments I return to my happy life. I don’t want to go back to the river, but until I quit or find a different job, I have to go back to the river just as Davy Jones must return to the sea.

Coming back from this vacation has been exceptionally difficult. It’s like I’ve returned to the river of the other life right at the rapids. I feel like I had no time to scout the rapids and find a good line. But whose fault is that? Who chose to fuck off instead of prepare themselves to go back to work? Oh, that’s right, me. It’s my fault. In fact, the river of the other life is my fault as well. I came to the river. I’m the one who hasn’t left. I’m also the one who put the rocks in the river that creates the rapids.

The few moments I’m actually at my desk, I stare at these pictures and fantasize about the happy life.

During the beginning of COVID I got scared about finding a job that fit our vanlife plans, so I applied at INL. I accepted their offer. I chose to work a real job. I chose the river.

I have been exceedingly bitter at work lately. I work in two different organizations that do two completely different things – training and operations. During the semester I work in two completely separate locations – in town on school days and in the desert the other days. My desert office is in the same building as training, and operations is a half mile down the road from my office. But it’s only when I’m at the desert that I’m at operations’ disposable. Those days I have no idea what I’ll be doing, so I can’t plan anything. Keeping me in the loop as to what is going on in operations is an afterthought. All of this leaves me quite frustrated whenever I’m at the desert.

But I’m the one who volunteered to be part of two organizations. I put the rocks in the river. I wanted to go to training specifically so I could work in town and take classes. I saw it as an opportunity to get my degree so I could find a job I might actually enjoy in the future. Now, I feel trapped. If I ask to go back to operations exclusively, I have to apply to a different college with a fully online, asynchronous M.S. in GIS program. I do far better with synchronous classes, so leaving training doesn’t feel like a good option.

I could quit my job and find another one. That’s a tough step to take because my current job really isn’t all that hard, my schedule is flexible so I can take my synchronous classes, and they pay me way more than I probably deserve. I choose to stay at the river. What it boils down to is I am the problem. As the saying goes, I can’t have my cake and eat it too.

Unless I’m fully in training or operations, this mess when I’m out in the desert won’t go away. Since I don’t want to go back to operations fully and I can’t go to training fully, I need to fucking accept the mess and deal with it. Being bitter and angry doesn’t change anything. All it does is make me miserable. What I need to do is change my outlook. I need to be grateful for the opportunity I have and accept the downfalls that come with it.

Reflections Rest Day Journal

Christina View All →

Endlessly seeking adventure.

2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Work life in general sucks for everyone.
    I think 5-10% of people love their job. Most days I’m ok w/ mine.
    I used to think about quitting every day, now just several times a week.
    A job is a means to an end, the weekend, vacation and retirement.
    If we look for happiness or fulfilment in our jobs, most of us will be disappointed.
    I’m a few years from retirement so I’ll take whatever they throw at me.
    I don’t want to start over somewhere else so I’ve decided to suck it up.
    You sound a bit younger than me.
    All I can say is that you may be surprised where the bumps in the road may lead you. Always look to be building transferrable skills. And get that degree!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, this year is the medium-sized 40 for me (doesn’t feel all that big to me, lol). For eight years I was working on and off or going to school with and without working, and I think it spoiled me. This real job thing is for the birds!


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