mad men made me do it

Ice cave exploration in Wisconsin
Ice cave exploration in Wisconsin

So, I accidentally became employed a few days ago. I know, I’m as shocked as you are. Seriously. I mean, one minute I was in bed, drinking wine, happily watching Mad Men on Netflix; ten minutes later, I was staring at an employment agreement instead of Don Draper. And now I have a job, starting on Tuesday, 9 am, sharp. Not exactly part of my Plan, but as I’ve resorted to using Mad Men as an excuse to drink during the day (I mean, they drink all of the time. In the morning. Before work. At work. After work. Pregnant. Whilst driving. I’m sure there is an episode where someone is drinking while driving to work in the morning while pregnant. That series is a living, breathing advertisement for day drinking…), this unexpected twist is probably for the best.

Exploring the ice caves with my dad during my last days of unemployment, Apostle Islands, Wisconsin
Exploring the ice caves with my dad during my last days of unemployment, Apostle Islands, Wisconsin

But what kind of company hires someone who plans to spend the end of March in Costa Rica (literally 14 days after I start working) and then go on a six-month hike in the woods in April?

The best kind.

I’m not even entirely sure what my role is, but my official title in the contract includes the words like Dumping Ground and Boss, as in, she handled it like a boss. Like I said, the best kind. I thought I would be more terrified when this day came. It’s been over 365 days since I’ve had any real responsibility, what if I forgot how to be a proper functioning member of society? Timelines and deadlines and task lists…the kind of work people do in exchange for money instead of room and board, money instead of husky cuddles or a 500 ml beer every day at lunch (ahhh, Poland, I do miss you). I certainly thought I would be more disappointed. No more spontaneous adventures or random day trips. No more wandering about whatever town I am in, wondering what day it is, where to go next. No more last-minute trips to Finland. No more day drinking in bed with Don Draper (seriously, this is definitely for the best, that man is a charming whore).

Standing on Lake Superior. I can still hear the ice talking.
Standing on Lake Superior. I can still hear the ice talking.

But I’m not terrified or disappointed. I had the kind of year I didn’t know existed, filled with incredible adventures, unique challenges and vibrant color. I experienced every single emotion on those weird emotion picture boards with the animated faces, grateful for every one, even the negative ones. Especially the negative ones.

Because I believe you can’t fully grasp the beauty in your life until you’ve seen the ugliness. How can you appreciate the good, even know that it is good, the best it may ever be, without living through the bad, without knowing it can be so much worse? And just like too much fame or too much money can destroy you, too much time can poison the well. Time has meaning because its limited. And when it feels like you have all of the time in the world, it starts to lose its value.

Lake Superior Ice Cave Walker
Lake Superior Ice Cave Walker

Maybe you’ve heard people say how the world is so desensitized to violence these days because of the abundance of violent movies, television shows, video games, actual real world events and the way they’re reported. We’re over-exposed. But can it not work the other way? When you’re in the presence of so much beauty, so much happiness, maybe the impact unintentionally lessens. Maybe you start to take it for granted, and stop viewing the world with eyes wide open. Maybe you start to forget what you truly have, maybe you forget how valuable time is.

Tiny me, walking across giant icy Lake Superior. Photo Credit: my dad
Tiny me, walking across giant icy Lake Superior. Photo Credit: my dad

I mean, look at Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. They set out on this wild adventure to do all of these crazy things once they realized their time had a very real end, the kind of realization that unfortunately sometimes only your own impending death can bring (yes, I’m aware the Bucket List is a fictional movie). But why do we let ourselves get to that point? Because the day you are born, you start dying. If more people looked at life this way, bucket lists would be so much shorter. People would spend their days diving into their buckets of life, instead of making lists of buckets to dive into.

Watch out for those turtles
Watch out for those turtles

I like to work, I like to feel useful. I like being good at something, good enough that I can help other people. I want something as stupid as watching Mad Men to go back to being a treat, a luxury, as opposed to being something I fill my time with because I have nothing better to do on 2 pm on a Thursday. Maybe I want to go back to cherishing my weekends because I know how precious time is, or maybe I just feel guilty for having so much time, time I know a better person could spend more wisely.

Inside, looking out
Inside, looking out. photo cred: my dad

And maybe you think this sounds like a personal problem, and I’m okay with that. Maybe it is. But this is the way the world works for me, these are my problems, this is how I wander through life.

And to those of you in the working world, particularly the working world I dance around in…I’m baaaaack.(Kind of, sort of, but not really. For like three weeks. And then a break. And then two more weeks. And then a six month break. But, still. This is a big deal.)

enjoying the finer things in life. photo credit: my dad
enjoying the finer things in life. photo credit: my dad

2 Comments on “mad men made me do it

  1. Going through the same situation right now, the working world wants me back soon so no more pyjama days, post-lunch wine, daytime ‘museuming’, unlimited adventure and ilovemondays. At least some of these will be limited to weekends. Terrifying in a way but I’m ready for it. Have fun in your new role!

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  2. when I was in hospital with lung infection and stomac infection hanging on drips day and night fighting for life I knew HOW PRECIOUS LIFE is.I always knew it but now I know every second of it.I will kuddle this years foals because I am lucky .Live live to the full with or without work.

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