After a few weeks of overwhelming work, my boss seems to have gone beyond stress to hysteria. She can’t stop talking, or eating, or working for that matter. Taking simple things out of my hands to finish them herself for no reason.

But I wonder if it’s more than an adrenaline overdose. Her eyes and smile sparkle while her body radiates misery.

This is hard for me to bear. It seems to me she has everything. Beautiful land, a big house, a good business, wise and engaged parents who support her work on a daily basis, a handsome and helpful husband, a well-behaved and artistic teenage son.

I yearn for such a home, such a husband, such support from my family, and time with elders. I berate myself for wasting my chances at these things, especially time with my grandmother. I am angry with this woman for not seeing what she has, not valuing it. In fact she is angry at all these beautiful people in her life, and the only person she is nice to is the client who the rest of us find to be the most ignoble.

All this destructiveness cannot be haphazard. She is angry, at everyone, and herself.

Apparently because no matter how much I think she has, and want what she has, it’s not what she wants. And there is not enough food in her three kitchens, not enough witnesses even when her tables are full, and not enough help and tolerance from her family to satiate  her monstrous, enraged hunger.

Jealously annoyed with her, I suddenly realize that this is what people say about my life. I move around the world at will, unencumbered by mortgages, family, career. I create projects and dance with beautiful men. Why am I not satisfied?

Because nothing is enough when it’s not what you want.

Sometimes I blame myself for failure of gratitude, an inability to “count my blessings” as grandma taught, or dissatisfaction as a first world indulgence. Sometimes I look back a decade and see that I had so much but was as miserable as she. I wonder if the unwillingness to appreciate what you have is a failure of character or a drive for self-actualization.

I drive through Italy with money in my pocket and stop to contemplate the view from village after village. Is this view enough? Would this place be enough for me?

Enough. Is it a feeling? A quest? A decision?

It sounds calculable. It seems like a bottom line. One could use a spreadsheet.

But it’s hungry, insatiable, indecisive, on the move in the night.

The math is complicated because both sides of the equation are in flux.

It’s not only about how to get paid for what you did. It’s also that you wanted to do more and didn’t get the chance or didn’t dare.

This desire does not rest, and is angry.

The math is complicated because it’s time for the world to pay up for what we give it. And then there is the quotient of labor that is expressive, and which was denied.

It is not only a settlement, it’s the grief from what more our lives could have been. And the further problem is that the perpetrator of the tragedy is oneself.

We do not want to settle.

No one else can give you the thing you didn’t give yourself. You cannot ingratiate your way to it. There is no one who can carry you or save you from this.

Originally posted onSyntax of Power