Put down the Mental Sandpaper!

Apr. 19, 2017
Apr. 19, 2017

"Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Steve Jobs"

Apr. 19, 2017

I'm a Square Peg. 

I've always been a Square Peg.

Trying to cram my square self into the normal round hole of society has caused me a lot of pain over the years. A lot of angst. And I haven't always been successful at it. But people were depending on me to be round. To provide. To be dependable and responsible and "normal".....and that's ok- I am proud of where I was succesful at that, and I have accepted that sometimes I failed. As long as I learned from failing, there was a point to that.  At some point you have to forgive yourself.

To survive in society, square pegs use a lot of mental sandpaper to try to get those corners rounded off. To conform.  To fit the round hole. 

As we get older, comma............. 

We start to ask ourselves what we are doing...and why?

During the week, I wake up every night at least 10 times a night- sometimes I sit up, and worry. I have a constant knot in my stomach. Around five am, it starts getting worse. I do not want morning to come.

You have to know something is seriously wrong with what you are doing when you dread morning coming. That's really, truly, not right...!! Each and every precious sunrise should bring us joy and delight! It's a brand new 24 hour gift. And there is truly no guarantee of another one- 

But you continue trying to conform to what society has told you to do. Get up, dress in approved clothing, go sit in a cube, try to do a great job so you can get a few dollars more an hour, pay taxes (we are now working until almost May of every year just to pay those) get more responsibility so you can make another few dollars an hour, and then spend your days and nights stressed out, mentally exhausted, and feeling sick.

Stress makes people sick. It works it's way into every part of your body, and wrecks havoc with your health.  Then Doctors give you pills. They love to give you pills. They tell you that one will make your blood pressure go down and one will help your muscle aches and another and another...then,  you have to have the pills so you have to have health insurance so you have to keep going to the job that made you sick in the first place. And you just keep sanding away at your square self.  No matter how much you sand, you just can't quite fit into that round hole. 

It's hard to ignore the fact that on the weekends, on S/V NeverLand, I sleep like a baby. I have no knot in my stomach. The only thing I am sanding on is bright work. I can't wait for morning to come, (Saturday and Sunday morning, that is). I feel alive and happy and peaceful, and I do not feel like I am forcing myself to be something I am not.

And all of a sudden the contrast between how I feel on our boat, and how I feel the rest of the time, is getting harder and harder to ignore. And where, before, I accepted I was going to have a huge knot in my stomach on the way to my cubicle, all of a sudden, I am thinking, IT'S NOT OK!!

Maybe S/V Neverland, and the sea, are my Square hole. The one I fit into without any major mental construction work. The place I belong.

Maybe it's time to put away the sandpaper and just be .....square.

Or, maybe they need to make the hole a bit more...square. Maybe cube farms need to accept individuality a bit more, and stop trying to cram people into a mold. Maybe someone needs to start a revolution towards that, so less people have knots in their stomachs every morning.

There's a lot of research that says more flexible workplaces that are more supportive of people's squareness(or roundness, as the case may be), are more healthy and more productive. If "Jim" is more comfortable in his t shirt and sandals, Jim makes more sales, Jim is happy and Jim's smile comes across when he speaks to customers. Jim's life seems less like a rat race. Jim stops taking high blood pressure meds and takes up yoga. Everyone is more comfortable and less stressed, so Health insurance premiums go down and the company saves money.  If "Mary" likes to listen to background music when she does her reports, and the music helps her focus so she enters more data and makes less mistakes, what the F does the dude in the suit care? Just because he's unhappy in his stupid suit choking on his tie, does everyone need to be miserable? "Then everyone will want to listen to music." Well, yes they will,.... and they will be happier and maybe not be looking at the employment listings for a job where they can listen to music. Who cares if someone wants a butterfly on their email signature??! In what universe does that reflect poorly on anything? It's a butterfly...!!  But it's just easier to make everything "standardized", and soul-less and sad.

 I saw a gentleman the other day whose job was scraping gum off the sidewalk, and I wondered if maybe I would do better with something simple like that...but who knows, maybe that guy gets called into an office on fridays and some suit says, "Dave, we are really concerned about your lack of gum scraping motivation. You understand we have a gum scraping quota, don't you? "And Dave says he is really scraping as hard as he can, but the bottom line is, if he doesn't scrape harder, he may or may not receive a bonus based on some unknown quantifier that actually won't be disclosed until the end of the gum scraping quarter. But that idea in itself is supposed to somehow lift Dave to a gum scraping pinnacle. And Dave now has a knot in his stomach from worrying whether a gum scraping robot will take his place if he doesnt scrape the holy bejesus out of that gum. But his Dr. says, don't worry, we have a pill for that. Then the pill makes him sleep walk and he walks in front of a city bus at three am and gets squished like....

But I digress.....

Robert says remember the end game, and I do.  But I am mentally sanding much less rigorously these days.

I like my squareness. I really do.