27 April 2011

I must fall before I can climb

I am attending a Paul Reiser concert. It's a small place with just a few dozen people; Reiser interacts with the audience as he performs his standup. After the first act, the concert moves into a different room. In this room, the audience sits in folding chairs in the center of the room. Reiser runs around the perimetre on all fours twice. The third time around, he stops below a large bird cage hanging on the left side of the room and imitates a dog. I seem to have a lot of papers with me (I don't recall what they were). Throughout the performance I am thinking about trying to obtain an autograph afterward.


The layout of the second room seems based on a room I spent time in recently at a class I took to get a taxi driver's licence. I loved Mad About You in the 90s. I know Paul Reiser has a new show on NBC and (even though I've heard it's not very good) I've been wanting to watch it at least once, but I haven't seen an episode yet. paul reiser autgraph Besides seeing a few commercials for his new show, Paul Reiser also is on my mind because his face is on the cover of my sheet music for "Final Frontier" (the Mad About You theme song), and this piece of sheet music was among many old songs I dug out recently to bring to a restaurant where I have been playing piano Saturday afternoons.

Last week I dreamed of stairs (risers), and this week of Paul Reiser. My position at work and in life have been very much on my mind. I feel very precarious at my current job because I feel I haven't been performing up to their standards there. In addition to my anxiety regarding my security at that company, I also have deep ambivalence as to whether I even want to continue in that field at all. Living in a cubicle for nine hours a day, having only ten vacation days a year, and being too exhausted most days when I get home to do much of anything else is not my idea of a life worth living. I have been trying to start my own business, but this has been extremely difficult to manage while maintaining my full time job, especially when so many things I have to do (visit government offices to obtain permits, telephone suppliers to place orders) can only be done during M-F 9-5 hours. I also want to devote more time to writing seriously, and I want to actively pursue opportunities for musical performance. I believe that having a "day career" (as opposed to a "day job") is robbing me of the time, energy, and scheduling flexibility necessary to make an earnest attempt at fulfilling my major goals.
Therefore I have been considering downgrading from this full-time job to something with less mentally demanding requirements and more flexibility such as a bartender, temp, or taxi driver. However making such a change is very scary-- I would have an unreliable and drastically smaller income and no health insurance. Yet the consequences of not making this change may be even less acceptable-- letting another decade of my life elapse without dedicating myself to the pursuit of my true vocation. I already have deep regrets about choices I made (or failed to make) in my twenties. If I continue to follow the same regret-ridden path through my thirties, adding links to my chains each year like Marley's ghost, will I be able to bear that burden when I am forty?

I will have to make a descent (leave my current job, and accept all the risks that that entails) before I can rise (fulfill my musical and literary goals). In the dream, a birdcage is suspended from the ceiling: even though my current job is fairly "high" (it provides good compensation and benefits), it is a cage that traps me. I may have to lower myself, and crawl like a dog, in order to escape it.

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