WTH Am I Doing with My Life?

Is it possible to be overwhelmed, frantic, and bored out of your mind simultaneously?


Harry Seitz

3 years ago | 5 min read

Is it possible to be overwhelmed, frantic, and bored out of your mind simultaneously?

I’ve been working 70–90 hour weeks since the lockdown in March, and the work usually bleeds into the weekends. At one point, I had worked 93 days in a row.

My shortest shift during this stretch was a little over 10 hours. I can’t remember the last time I worked a 40 hour week.

On the one hand, I know this is insane. But on the other, there’s the money, and I’m cooped up in my apartment anyway. What else am I going to do?

In the beginning, I drank a lot. That helped to pass the time, but I do quality control for a financial printing company. Imagine proofreading the most boring term paper on earth forever and that’s basically my job, and being hungover all the time doesn’t help.

I get edits with no job numbers that are upside down with illegible handwriting, or watch as a client changes all of the colons into semicolons in a 300 page document, then changes all of them back half an hour later.

On multiple occasions, thousands of my corrections on hundreds of pages were dumped and ignored due to miscommunications and time constraints. Sometimes I strongly suspect that my job is really just a sick social experiment, but they keep giving me money, so I keep on participating.

Three months in, I found myself Ubering to the LES at 2 a.m. to buy heroin after work. For once in my life, I could actually afford a habit, so why not? And the drinking was literally killing me, I had to change.

Millions of people have lost their jobs, many forever, and I’m grateful to still be working.

I’m not reading or writing nearly as much as I used to, but 12 hours of overtime makes me more than I’ve made in my entire life writing, and who knows what could happen tomorrow? Following your dreams is sweet and all, but impossible to do on an empty stomach.

It sounds romantic, being “The Starving Artist,” but all you can think about is food.

After a few months, I quit heroin. I just didn’t have the time or energy to keep Ubering out and back at three in the morning. As always, drug addiction had become just another job.

So now I’m drinking again, and I still don’t know what to do. Our peak season is rapidly approaching, and I’m not sure I can make it through another one. I literally have a mortal fear of it.

My only possible way out is writing, so I’m basically screwed. I’d have more time to write if I quit, but I’d be right back to that starving problem.

There is never a perfect time to do anything, especially now, but I’ve been forcing myself to write as much as possible anyway.

Sure I don’t have the mental energy to construct coherent thoughts, or the time to revise as often as I should, but I think of every book and article as a lottery ticket. If there is any chance at all of escaping my job, I have to take it while I still have barely the energy to do so.

Not that you should listen to any of my advice, but I’ve always valued quantity over quality anyway. The way I see it, if you keep on writing, you’re bound to improve anyway, and I have enough shame to hopefully prevent me from posting anything that’s truly unreadable.

If you disagree, feel free to say so in the comments. I’m one of those authors who writes back to everyone. It might take me seven years, but I will get back to you.

I have tried to escape from the corporate grind before, and believe that I’m cursed. I got a real estate license in 2008. I had somehow just become proficient in Python, and suddenly something called Julia is replacing it? I almost, and still might, bet $1000 on the Florida Marlins to win the World Series.

The odds were 20 to 1 the last time I checked, and as nice as $20,000 would be, it isn’t life changing money, so I should probably bet at least $5000 instead. As foolish as it seems and probably is, at least that money would have a chance.

For the first time in decades, I’m seriously considering hiring a sex worker. For the sake of my sanity, it might actually be the healthy, right thing to do.

People aren’t meant to live like this, staring at computers for 70 hours a week. My only company is my cat, and even she is starting to get sick of me.

As trapped and depressed as I feel, I still know that it is theoretically possible to pack it all in and go live in some cave.

There are people in America who have done it, and the ones who are still alive seem to be happy with their decision. You find a nice cave in a warm climate relatively close to a small town with a library, and you don’t really need much else.

One of these troglodytes supplements his diet with roadkill.

He used to blog about it, but people complained that he was no longer paying taxes, and shouldn’t be allowed to use the public library or its WiFi.

He argued that cleaning up roadkill more than made up for that, and that he still paid sales tax on the two bars of soap he bought each year.

His blog hasn’t been updated since 2007, so I’m not sure how it turned out. Perhaps he decided to spurn society entirely. His primary message, that it was possible to go live in a cave, was already out there, so why bother to keep fighting?

Most of us will never be the masters of our own time. We will never have the lives that we want to live. But sometimes, it helps to remind yourself that there are other options out there.

Most of us are probably never going to live in a cave, either, but we could. And even just acknowledging this makes us a little bit freer.

Now I have to go bet on the Marlins, because if I don’t and they win I’ll probably have to kill myself. But who knows? Maybe I will end up in a cave with a disenchanted sex worker. Some might even say that’s the new American Dream, or at least an attainable one.

Maybe all of this sounds crazy to you, but that’s besides the point. I’m 99% sure that there’s no point to anything. So think of it as a metaphor, and find your own cave, whatever that might be.

It could be the worst decision you could possibly make, but the important thing to remember is that you have the power to make it, even if you probably never will.


Created by

Harry Seitz







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