A Missing Monday

On a typical Monday I try to mention and highlight some of the articles that were published the previous week. Last week, though, nothing was published. Like a lot of people, and I suspect like a lot of freelancers in general and writers more specifically, I judge myself based on my writing. A productive day writing means that I had a good day. I am what I create. I am my job. There’s a way in which I believe that this is a poisonous and negative mindset. This is not the standard by which we should judge our lives. This is not a standard that leads to good mental health. Thinking like this won’t make anyone - and won’t make me - happy. But I still think this way. I need to stay on top of my e-mails. I need to check in on social media. I need to pitch and apply and obsess. Even if I’m not being productive, not really, I need to be working. I need to keep moving. And that mindset is exhausting. More than exhausting, it’s toxic. Because I am more than the widgets I produce. I keep thinking about how when I was younger I worked many jobs which have many derogatory terms, but I worked customer service. I always thought that I was more than that job. I never let that job define me in my own mind. Of course customers thought that anyone who worked such a job was a braindead useless moron they could scream at, but as anyone who has worked such jobs know, those people exist, but we never let them define us. But now I let my job define me. It is perhaps the only thing that defines me. It would be flippant and inaccurate to say that I have nothing besides work in my life right now, but it does not feel untrue to say that. An so I consider the fact that last week nothing was published, that I was away and not working for much of that time, and there is an existential worry about this. Because what am I if I haven’t done anything? More to the point, I’m not happy with my life. I’m not happy in my life. And if I am both unable to change and unproductive, then what is the point? What am I living for?