The unhealthiest phase of my life was between the ages of 20 and 25. I smoked a pack a day, ate terrible food most of the time, went to bed after midnight every night and got up just in time to shit and shave for work. Yes, I was that guy – the last one to stumble in the office door.
Most people like to live in a safe space of their own design. They don’t want to do anything that will test their abilities, confront ideologies that challenge their worldview, nor will they do anything that others might see as odd or socially unacceptable.
I’m not talking about streaking at a sporting event either.
It’s Friday evening here in New Zealand, and another work week has just reached the end of the line.
My commuting costs were nil, my conversations with coworkers and managers were limited to the comfortable arms-length of phone calls and email, and no one disrupted my work by demanding that I attend to their needs right now, like some sort of needy toddler.
To this slightly-reclusive introvert, it was bliss.
When I was studying at university, my aspiration was to become a professional gambler.
That’s right – I wanted to make my millions through betting on football matches. Now, I’m not talking about going to the bookies and taking a punt on the season’s designated punching bag because they are paying $20 to beat the best team in the league and just continuing to place irrational bets because I “have to make it back”. That’s what is known as problem gambling, and I was going to become a responsible gambler.
When I was 16 and taking a gap year because I was sick of the banality of academia, and nowhere near ready mentally to take on a degree course, I took whatever job I could find.
That job was driving forklifts, lugging bags of concrete and cutting timber to size for builders. Everyone at my work hated their job. It was a place that “dreams go to die”, as I was advised by a colleague when I first started working there. I was apparently making a huge mistake.
No man is an island. It’s a commonly accepted truth that we all need human interaction in order to be fulfilled, but I have a confession. I avoid social occasions where I can.
I’m not an agoraphobic hermit, and I do enjoy spending time with my partner, wider family and a few close friends. You could say that I am more of a peninsula than an island, but I have never understood how people enjoy work Christmas functions or weddings.