The world is a stage and we are all actors upon it according to Shakespeare, and he’s right. Seeing the world through this lens of ‘playing a role’ is revealing. When at work certain elements of our psyche get emphasized over others. Different elements are triggered when playing with children. Yet others when alone with a close friend. We can’t help but play a different role. And what determines these roles are not so much ourselves as the environment we find ourselves in.
Like clockwork, I fall into a dark humor every time I drive home from work. I don’t know exactly why, but I suspect it has everything to do with the transition between roles. At work I feel part of a team part; of something bigger than myself. I enjoy my relationship with coworkers. My work matters because it affects the ability of others to do their job.
On the drive home I’m hit with the realization that I could walk away from the job without any adverse effect on my personal life. I realize they would terminate me tomorrow if it made business sense. The knowledge leaves me feeling hollow, a sucker for caring, a ‘tool’, because that is precisely what I am to them, and to any employer for that matter. That’s the alienating power of money and business.
The code though is its own reward. Painters paint, singers sing, I understand and manipulate machines. Whether it’s software, a circuit, or an engine, the machine is my art. I’ve always been excited by the sight of a well-oiled machine doing its job efficiently, and disgusted by the sight of a living being doing the job of a machine. I truly believe that software and wisdom are the keys to fixing all the problems of our modern world.
I’m attracted to living and working from the boat because the role I play there is more in line with who I am; with who I want to be. My world relies on cantankerous machines instead of people. I’m in my element, and the only role I play is for myself. All the while, I am surrounded by the beauty of the islands and away from the stress of humans, traffic, noise, and money.
I got home on Thursday and couldn’t wait to leave the dock. The rain and squall-induced, confused weather told me to leave in the morning. The weather that evening was as tempestuous as my mood. On top of my typical dark humor, I’m trapped in limbo waiting for the seller to officially accept my offer on the property. My future, the rest of my life, is floating in the breeze. And I have no idea how it’s going to land.
I needed to restore my sense of balance. I needed to feel grounded.
I needed to go sailing.