Recently I’ve ventured out of my comfort zone by signing up for a few classes that I thought I would enjoy and making plans to attend certain events that I had otherwise kept away from. I always used to make excuses like I didn’t want to go alone, or I couldn’t get off work, or I didn’t have the money. Lately I’ve been trying to push myself to do these things because that is truly the only way to grow.
My most recent venture is a 10-week glassblowing class. I’ve wanted to do it for a while, but knowing I have an unpredictable work schedule stopped me from signing up. This year I said screw it and signed up anyway. Somehow I’m going to figure it out.
Most of the Mondays aren’t a problem, but two of them are. I put in my requests, but was told that unless I can figure something out with my coworkers, chances are I can’t have those days off. Funny thing is that I usually have no problem getting days off but now that I legitimately have something I want to do for myself, it has become a problem.
The lady that does our schedule asked me if this class was for any kind of school credit. Apparently if I was enrolled in school, I could easily get the day off whether there was someone to cover or not. I have a problem with this. How is a school class any different than a class to better myself as a person? Learning is learning and whether it is sponsored by a university or an art museum should be irrelevant. I think it is important to learn all that you can. Skills and experiences are a great part of our human existence. I work for a university as it is, you would think they would be for all learning, but clearly they are not.
I don’t know how we are supposed to be able to work a job (I’m technically part time, by the way, for this very reason) and maintain any sort of individuality. When your place of employment doesn’t want to give you the time you need to grow, it is very stifling. I have to work at least a little bit just to keep a roof over my head and food on my table. When my own creativity is snuffed out by my job, it really hurts me as a person. Some people may think I’m being silly because it’s “just a glassblowing class” and not something that is “necessary” to live. What really is necessary to live though? In my opinion, it is those types of classes that make living worth it. If all I can do is work and sleep, what is the point in existing? Some people may say I could take the class at a later time, but if not now, when? How do I know my work schedule won’t continue to be more strained? Maybe in the future I will have other projects I am working on and this will have to go to the wayside. I understand that we need to be present in our workplaces and that jobs have to be done, but somehow it shouldn’t have to be at the expense of our livelihood.
I am working hard on not needing to rely so heavily on work in the corporate world by saving money on what I buy and getting bills and debts paid off. Someday I hope to only have to work on occasion to make ends meet. There are so many things I want to do in order to fulfill myself as a human being and sitting at a desk all day isn’t one of those things. I don’t mind contributing my part, but I need to have time for me as well. I think we all need that. Most of us are lacking parts of ourselves simply because we don’t have a way to work on those things. I think we as a society need to find ways to better include personal growth into our workplaces and society in general. We shouldn’t have to suffer in order to benefit some corporate greed. There has to be some way to make education in any form accessible to workers everywhere.
If we aren’t allowed to learn, how can we be expected to be? Growing as an individual person will make us all better workers, better family members, better friends, and better humans. I think we all deserve that, and even more, I think we all need it.