One year ago I gave up drinking, but picked up a different vice: working from home. You’d be surprised how similar they are.
They may seem completely unrelated. You may even be thinking, “working from home? How is that a vice?” Well, look at it this way: they can both be poisonous, they can both be amazing, and too much of either will have you doing things you never expected to be doing in your underwear.
In my case, weirdly, both changes came as the result of failed two-year relationships.
Sobriety, which I had wanted to take up for health reasons, started as a new life phase after a tumultuous two-year (romantic) relationship ended. One might expect me to hit the bottle pretty hard after a break-up like that but, no, I went the other way and faced my feelings head-on stone-dead-sober. It was like walking out in front of a oncoming semi and stopping it Luke-Cage-style. (If you’re unfamiliar, he’s like a black Superman.)
Working from home, on the other hand, started after our company’s two-year lease on an office space ended. Again, you would expect when building a company that you’d start working from home and then transfer to an office space as you grow. I went the other way. We later opened an amazing new office space but I only go there now and then.
I guess I’ve never been a fan of convention.
But, really, that’s just a shoe-horned coincidence. Alcohol and working from home really are similar.
The Good – Happiness
Alcohol makes you happy. At first, at least. It’s right there on wikipedia. The ‘euphoria’ stage of drinking is amazing. It’s that sweet spot of intoxication where friendships are forged but you aren’t yet promising to do things you won’t actually want to do. “Yes! We should ABSOLUTELY hang out more.”
Working at home also makes you happy. At first, at least. You set your own schedule. There’s no alarm clock or cold winter-morning showers. You’re so comfortable. Sweat pants more-often-than-not. Taking a mid-day break to go to the gym. Regularly cooking 8-hour sauce recipes. Holy shit have I made some amazing red sauces.
Go too deep into either though and suddenly things start to turn.
The Bad – Overindulgence
I think we have to go inside my head for this one:
Seven glasses of Jameson whiskey on a Friday night? Sure, it was fine, it was a good night. Totally worth spending Saturday hungover. Oh, they want to go out again tonight? Well if I rest all day I’ll have the energy for one more night.
Eight glasses on a Saturday night? Okay, it was fine, it was a one-time crazy weekend. And I’ve got my whole Sunday to recover. And maybe tomorrow I’ll still feel it a little bit and have to wear dirty underwear to work because I don’t have the energy to do laundry today but, whatever, no one’s happy going to work on a Monday morning anyway. I’ll rest this upcoming weekend. Oh, what, they want to go out next weekend again? Well, sure, we’re only young once.
Drinks + Ubers * 4 = $$$/month
I love working from home! I didn’t leave the house today! Pretty great. Have you seen the office-dwellers on a Monday morning? Look at their faces. They aren’t happy. I am happy.
I didn’t leave the house today either! Two days in a row. This is great.
Wait, has it been three days this time? No, five days. Wait, when was the last time I went outside? Eff it, who cares, I don’t need outside. I don’t need anyone! I’m just gonna get back in bed. I can work tomorrow, I’m too sad to work today.
Vitamin D supplements + anti-depressants + therapy = $$$$ / month
The Ugly – In-Person Conversations
“Hey pretty lady, what are you tonight doing putting your dress on my floor where it looks better buy you breakfast yes please c’mon I’m lonely?”
“Uh, why is that drunk guy talking to that coat rack?”
Oh man, don’t make eye contact. Just pay for the groceries and get back to your home where things make sense.
“Your total is $42.50. Paper or plastic?”
So what’s the best way to live?
I miss drinking, I really do. Just not as much as I like being sober. Being sober has helped in all the ways I hoped it would health-wise. I also save money and never have hangovers. But. There’s that social aspect I miss. The bonding with friends over a bottle of wine. The having a drink with your partner over dinner. And then there’s the taste. Whiskey is like every emoji dancing on my tongue at the same time.
Except the bad ones like the toilet, though I guess if you drink enough…
So, yeah, I won’t go back to drinking. Not yet at least. If I ever get cancer though, all of the finest whiskeys are going to find my face-hole faster than you can say, “do you know how much cancer treatment costs? You can’t afford to be spending money on expensive whiskeys right now!”
Future-me should never have gotten married. She’s such a drag.
I love working at home. I love that I can be productive minutes after getting out of bed. I love that initial sprint of work in the morning, then being able to use my own kitchen to prepare lunch. I love not feeling rushed or anxious like I do during those mornings in which I have somewhere to be. I love that I never have to do anything during any sort of rush hour.
But working from home is a poison just like alcohol. We all know what happens if you drink too much. Too much working from home is just as bad mentally as alcohol is physically. Work from home too much and you get so far inside your own head that sometimes you lose empathy for others. You get so comfortable in your rut you forget how to live. You can become selfish and lose perspective on the bigger picture. At least, I do.
Luckily, I have great co-workers and an amazing office to go to when I want and a job that requires I talk to people regularly. And also a great girlfriend who is in no way a drag and also in no way asked me to add this sentence there are you happy now?
It’s really about loving what you choose
It comes back to the whole comfort and control thing that I wrote about a few weeks back. You want a nice mix of both in both of these areas.
But it also comes down to choice. There is no perfect choice. Everything comes with compromises. And if you expect to find a choice without any compromise, that’s when you’re going to be disappointed. So be sober. Be a drunk. Work from home or live at the office. It doesn’t matter.
Just be happy with your choice and accept that nothing is perfect. Your choice will come with problems. The grass is probably not greener on the other side, but you can spend your time hopping the fence or watering the grass on your side. Either way, the thing that makes the biggest difference? Your attitude towards it.
So go forth and buy that new pair of pants!
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