Higher up

“What do you do for living nowadays?”
“I’m unemployed.”
I think I say it that way to see people’s reactions. It started out as a truth, now it is just the simplest way to describe my situation. With few exceptions, when I speak the magic word, people’s expressions turn grim.

I was born and raised in Luxembourg, one of the richest countries in the world. I have always had everything I needed and more. On very rare occasions have I saved up money to buy something I longed for, simply because when the toy phase ended, there was nothing material I desired except for food. Now, my fixed costs are ridiculously low, my dad gives me a bit of support and I have an irregular income from a zero hours contract. I do spend some effort applying for jobs to take a step up the financial hierarchy.

It has been two and a half years now since I graduated. At first I was ambitious, motivated, disciplined. I wrote four to five applications per week, moved to the big city, consciously entering a new phase. I had diverse applicable experience, spoke four languages, had an open personality and felt good about myself. The initial enthusiasm backfired after, say, nine months, when things did not work out as planned. The perpetual rejections had carved wrinkles on my self-image. Then came a dip.

Being down usually helps me look at things from a different angle. I became aware that I still have more than I possibly need. The time and the location in which I was born were an exceptionally lucky shot. I began to feel that this striving for a job or whatever it is people strive for, is important, but that it should not rule a life. Then, I saw that many people with jobs indeed overvalue them. For some they are prisons. I wrote Awards.

In people’s repeating “empathic” reactions, I see that they don’t look into my joie de vivre, but at a status. They look at their assumptions, fuelled, no doubt by fears that hold them on the spot. The career ideal has grown wild. Perhaps that can only be seen from the sideline.

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5 thoughts on “Higher up”

  1. It is great Gilles being who you are and how I know you, man full of joy and integrity…unusual combination now days. Except that I love you I admire your approach to life and the way how you show it.
    We live in times when people mainly follow descriptions. It is a well managed society training people to be followers, not to have perspective and integrity. The best way to b successful in that is to give them so much to work that they forget even that they are alive. Sad. Although it is not an easy path, I know, the one you described in this article, it is a path of freedom, something that is priceless.
    This is an honest writing, direct experience of truth and as such, it is incomparable. Chapeau!

  2. Give energy to what you have and can do.
    The rest is part of an illusion so do not lose energy on that. Because that is negative energy.
    Of course look for a job but in a Zen way.

  3. Yes, I agree, though it is not always easy to put this theory in practice.

    And you don’t always know, right? You have to take risks sometime. Learn. And even after you’ve learned, there are no fixed laws on how to be successful or happy. Does that mean many of the tryouts lead to ‘negative energy’? And consequently, should one then stop trying?

    I’m still not so fond of the term ‘negative energy’, even if I think I know what you refer to. Stagnation? The reason why I don’t like it, is that I don’t think a living being can or should avoid it. Sometimes things go smoothly and maybe unnoticed, other times it takes a building of pressure in order for a breakthrough to happen.

    Or do you mean something else?

  4. Negative energy is based on illusions/glamour and the inverse: two sides of the same coin.

    Trying something is not that at all but expecting something as a result is often that. Based on illusions. A world problem, somebody wrote.
    No harm done for the ones that try out something and are honest with themselves. Realistic expectations. Otherwise it becomes an escape in the future that reigns the ‘now’. But that has nothing to do with trying out something.

    No observable change does not mean that there is no change. That is just a matter of focus. One looks at some problem where no change is observed but this does not mean that other things ‘stagnate’.
    I would never see these things as stagnation. Remember the story of the ‘Japanse steenhouwer’. I like that one as a learning process.

    So good luck! (but don’t try to become Olympic champion, too late for that).

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