So there was this guy.
He was born in an anonymous American city, moved on. Went to school, graduated, went to school again, graduated. He liked to read, write, run, meditate. He tried to find a good job; he was unsuccessful for a long time, then moderately improved his situation. Got insurance, money for eating out, a spare, minimal apartment.
Then he restarted, again.
He got more serious about his job search. Met someone, got coaching on how to make it all happen. She was harsh, but she was right – about being sloppy, about needing to work on presentation, on being serious about the things that require seriousness. He didn’t much like to hear it, but the truth is the truth; it is no respecter of persons.
In a more metaphysical sense, she compared it to sleep. He’d been asleep, for decades, seemingly. Eyes half-open, wandering nowhere. So, wake up. Simple. Work. Aspire. Scheme. Do.
So he changed, which was inevitable, since all is change; rather, he made a concerted effort to change in a positive direction. He’d always been into self-discipline, improvement projects and suchlike; this took those, and extended it. It was important to find work that mattered, important to be happy in life, important to not outsource that job to a mythical partner who can’t compensate for a week’s worth of unhappiness on nights and weekends.
He had to ask hard questions, too, as we all do, in this vale of tears. About how much to put into relationships, and work, and the in-between. It means, in practice, saying ‘no’ to people, in various ways, in different forms – and this answer never really sat well with him, never seemed entirely like the right choice. But he made his choices, as we all do.
For years, he’d had this mental image of a croupier, standing behind a table, dealing cards. He was always very crisp, very efficient, very good at what he did: telling the bettors to make their bets, maintaining the flow.
Meaning this. Place your bets, gentlemen. Some will win, some will lose, but you have the same betting units of time that everyone else does, and the game will continue regardless. Time is limited, and we must spin the wheel.
Keep it moving, please.
There were no second chances there, but there are in life, and he resolved to get going, at this late date.
So took the plan, sketched out, very roughly, and implemented it – too quickly.
He blew a fuse. Loosened his tie, hung up his jacket, closed his eyes and slept. He thought…
Relax; it will come.
Then he got up and tried again.
And this time, it came.