When Trevor did my performance review a few years ago, he threw in this Oscar Wilde quote: We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
David Foster Wallace provides a good description of my stars: If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is, and you are operating on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won’t consider possibilities that aren’t annoying and miserable. But if you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars
Basically, I have this belief that, if I keep trying, I will find that every person at work is on the same wavelength as me and every work situation is “not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars”.
DFW: That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing
I think part of growing up is realizing that there is no real freedom. To make peace with “the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing”, we need to accept that “we are all in the gutter” and running the rat race.
This is not an easy thing for me to accept because I’ve tried so hard to be somewhat different. Maybe it’s not about running a different race but running the race differently.