I have recently come to terms with the fact that its ok to answer “nothing” to the question “what do you do”.
Most of my life everyone around me said: “Bruno, you have to do something, you have to be someone, you have to do this and that, you have to be this and that.”
You are what you do, they said. Our jobs make us proud, gives us honor, makes us decent people, if you don’t have a job you are a bad person and nobody will respect you, they said.
If you don’t work you will not have money, and you’ll have a hard life, they said.
But they forgot to mention the pain and the sadness I would feel riding the subway on the way home while coming back from work at 9.30 pm and seeing everyone’s sad faces. You can ride for hours and not see a single smiley person.
They didn’t tell me how miserable I would feel while walking the same streets every day at the same time, how monotonous my life will become.
Nobody mentioned the stress I would feel, how sick it would make me, and how hard it would be to fall asleep at night, thinking of all the stressful things that happened during the day, and thinking what’s waiting for me tomorrow.
And of course, they also forgot to tell me about that feeling in the morning, when I know I hadn’t had enough sleep, but I still have to get up and go somewhere I don’t want to go and do something I don’t want to do.
And about all those times when I wish I were dead, no one told me about that either.
I wish someone had said to me when I was young “you don’t need to do anything or be anything, just relax and stop taking life so damn serious!”.
I wish someone had explained to me how stress works, wish they had explained to me what chemicals come out of sports or meditation. And wish someone had told me it was ok to do nothing, that life is too short to spend it fulfilling other people’s expectations.
So now that I learned all of that by myself, I can confidently answer “nothing” when people say “what do you do?”.
Of course it’s not true, I don’t do nothing, I go to Korean class 6 times a week now, do some part-time acting and teaching, hiking and taek won do, volunteering, reading, writing, play football, travel often, meet people, go out almost every day and do a bunch of stuff more.
And everyone does lots of things, but the reason to answer “nothing” is just not saying what they want to hear, they want to hear “I study” or “I work” or better yet, “I work AND study” so they can feel like you are an obedient member of society contributing to it daily. Therefore paying, what in their minds are, your dues for being alive.
In order live on this planet and not being rejected by the members of its society, you need to either study or work.
What we see here is that the herd doesn’t need a shepherd anymore, and anyone who dares to threaten their beliefs, will be immediately left behind to survive on their own.
They have created a system that auto protects itself, by isolating and excluding any individual who doesn’t want to do what the others are doing. Anyone who doesn’t want to work or study will be left out of the herd.
Bruno: But life is too short to just study or work, don’t you think so?