I fear that my previous post may have left the reader with an unfairly negative view of my present circumstance. While it is true that I feel like I’ve been stuck in a sort of “teenage stasis” for the past six months, and also that I am not, in spite of my best efforts, making anywhere near as much money as I would like, there is one added detail which the phrase “eking out a meagre existence” cannot quite convey.
And this detail is respect; both from myself and from other people.
The fact of the matter is that, even though I am only working a mere two hours each day for $12 an hour, and even though my job consists of explaining mathematics so basic that I haven’t even needed to think about them for almost fifteen years, this is by far the most useful that I have felt since I left Strasbourg. In short: people need me–and they are thankful for having me around. I have earned respect–or at least, the weak sort of respect that would probably evaporate the moment that my students found out what I really was, but I will take it anyways.
Now, it’s certainly not good to premise your self worth on other people’s sense of your utility; but this is a bad habit to which I happen to be prone. And I defy anyone to feel good about their lives while spending each day, every day, sitting around on the couch looking for job openings.
Of course, a sense of usefulness can’t be cashed in for clothes, food, rent, books, or electrolysis sessions, but it’s certainly worth more than my income alone would suggest.