Jennifer Jade Merrihue
Reading about the man who made cubicles.
He wrote that the bosses of the world had taken the idea and bastardized its intention (privacy, autonomy), by stuffing people into dark tiny, grey, spaces.
I read that he apologized.
I sat in my tiny grey cubicle, living out my “dreams” in an NGO.
I had achieved my dream by age 26, and it was not what I thought it would be.
My superiors- the next level up- were burnt out, mean, making a top salary of 50k a year after decades of service.
Bosses with 3 or 4 children who came in at 7 and left at 9, missed holidays.
It’s hard to believe you can have the life you want, make the money you crave, when you’ve had to work so hard and gotten small or exhausting results.
When you’ve lived your life identifying as someone that can survive anything- life will keep giving you evidence of just how much you can survive.
Letting go of that identity was hard for me, even though logically, it would make everything easier. It felt scary, like I wouldn’t survive without it. I felt aimless, lazy, depressed.
But I had to compare that philosophy with the life I actually wanted. I didn’t want to survive my life. I wanted to enjoy it. Be free to give any and everything I wanted to people I loved, strangers, causes I believed in, brilliant creative collaborations.
I wanted to live in a life filled with ease, trust, and abundance.
And survival- is not an ingredient for that.
So I had to stop blaming money for the greed in the world. I had to stop believing it was bad to want big things for yourself. Or small things.
I had to stop judging people with tons of money and lumping them all together.
I realized I had villainized money from a very young age to deal with the guilt of having food, housing, water, clothes when the people on the street didn't.
Someone once said- “if you want to help the poor, for the love of God don’t join them”. And it hit me right in the heart.
It took me a while to discover that riches and poverty, we all have some. Some in money, some in perspective, some in love, some in drugs, some in nature, some in anger. All things exist on a spectrum. And those with extra can share. But no one has sustainably helped from guilt or judgment.
On some extended level, it was easier for me to help other people get their needs met than for me to get my dreams met.
Fueled on coffee and Adderall. Hungry for life & food. Every day feeling like the same exact stressful day.
Then the sweet-bitter gift of burn out.
My brain shutting down parts of itself & my body so that I couldn’t keep forcing myself to perform in this shitty self-made carousel.
The first time I went to a coach, it was a back alley attempt. I called someone on yelp who I couldn't afford, and they gave me a number of someone that could help me. It felt like the equivalent of, "I know a guy, that knows a guy".
It was the first time I was invited to think bigger. Like outrageously bigger. Grotesquely bigger than I ever had. Not for the world and its salvation but for me. Not for my family and friends (though boy did I try). But for me.
What I wrote in my journal at the time was the following:
I wanted to talk to people every day about love, philosophy, dreams, and how to be happy.
I wanted to research every day about love, philosophy, the brain, behavior, psychology.
I wanted to be epically & effortlessly of service to love, philosophy, humanity.
I wanted to write, travel, create art - and use all of this to fuel my life personally AND professionally.
I wanted to have evidence of everyone's ability to get the love & life that they want- by living it first.
I looked at this and then compared it to my agenda yesterday. It makes me want to cry. It was as if I'd written a recipe for myself, of what to be aware of consciously and unconsciously so that I could intentionally (and unintentionally) aim all my efforts in that direction.
You can do this too.
The first step is knowing what you want. Then make it easy and simple for yourself. Make it so easy you can say it like the breeze to anyone curious enough to ask you what you want in life.
If you don't know, research, use social media, friends, hire a coach. Whatever it takes. It has to be you that decides you've had enough of hardship.