Knowing What You Know Now

Every time I go back and visit campus, I find myself thinking that, if offered, I’d probably take my old job back in a second.

That’s weird, because I didn’t enjoy my job. Most of it was soul-crushing cubicle work, and although the pain was lessened by the presence of some wonderful people, it was what inspired me to start a website in the first place.

But things would be different if I came back.

The work would probably be just as tedious, and the office would probably run just as inefficiently, and the people would probably make it just as tolerable as it used to be.

But I would be armed with knowledge I have now — knowledge that I didn’t possess back then. That’s the difference.

All of the old stressors and annoyances and aggravations would cease to exist. Or more accurately, they would cease to affect me. Because how could I possibly allow myself to be affected by things I now know to be trivial?

When I first started the job, I was eager to please, and I was motivated by fear. I wanted to do my job well, and I wanted people to like me, and I was afraid of getting in trouble. As the semesters progressed, I became more comfortable with the job, and I grew more at ease. Less anxious. Less afraid. And yeah, less eager to please.

So now, if I were able to go back, I’d be able to do so knowing there’s no reason to fear payment request forms, or to dread voicemails, or to wear khaki pants.

I know these things because of the time that has passed since I worked there. Compared to what I face now — on my own, blazing my own trail — sitting in cubicle is a cake walk. Looking back, it wasn’t so bad.

Sometimes, you don’t really know what something is until you put some distance between yourself and that something.

Imagine if you could go back to high school knowing what you know now. The experience would be completely different. You’d know that getting a C in AP Biology doesn’t make you a bad person. You’d know that no one cares if you’re in the Honors Society. You’d know that everyone in the hallway is scared shitless and has no idea who they are either.

Of course, we so rarely get the opportunity to go back, knowing what we know now. But we can still take what we know now and apply it to the present and the future.

We can ask ourselves, In a year, will this matter?

In a month?


Is it worth being afraid?

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