She was the office ergonomics expert. Her job was to help employees adjust their work environment and to make sure you are sitting in the best possible posture, you know, for your long-term health and what not. In other words, the best shape you can be in by spending your waking minute doing something humans were never meant to do, sit in one spot for the better part of your life. She made me sit upright, chest up, shoulder blades retracted, neck straight and look straight ahead as she adjusted the table height, changed the setting on the back rest, moved me back till my lower back touched the back support. She then adjusted the height of the armrest, the height of the chair till my feet were firmly on the ground, moved my keyboard, suggested I use a mouse pad with wrist support and preferably a mouse that tilted so it would be better for my wrist, and as she left she said “This is just the right setting. Don’t change anything.”
As the day progressed i found it harder to stick to the posture. Her words kept coming back to me and it sounded scarier and scarier by the minute. “Just the right setting!”. So, i was to not move and stay in exactly the same position because it was good for me? To get comfortable in this setting and never change. For how long? A year? 10 years? Till i die? “Just the right setting”. The whole idea of finding something that is probably not great but just right and hoping to stick to it and stay that way forever was a scary prospect for me. And I couldn’t get it out of my head.
Here’s my issue with this. There’s is no right setting. We weren’t meant to sit like we have an invisible full body cast on all the fucking time. We were meant to be free. I’m sure she herself slouches and sits with her elbows on the table staring intensely hoping the bloody excel was saved before it crashed. Just the right setting, my ass. I bet this is what we do in most areas of our lives. Find just the right environment and stay there until we die.
Find just the right job. Nothing too fancy where you have to work too much and make sacrifices. Someplace where your colleagues aren’t blood-sucking vampires, and your company doesn’t kill baby pandas. Hope you can get enough money, so you don’t have to think about stealing groceries and with someplace with flexible timings so your partner won’t get lonely and have an affair with the neighbor. You won’t have a great work life, but you know, it ‘ll be “Just right.”
Find someone who’s just right. Not great cos well, if they were that great they probably wouldn’t choose your sorry ass, and not entirely so terrible that you’re embarrassed to go out in public with that person and have to lie about sleeping with them. Just right. Someone who your family doesn’t hate but can live with. Forget chasing your after someone great, just settle for “just right.”
Find just the right setting in life that keeps you from killing yourself. Find that house in the suburbs, annoying kids who you probably don’t love as much as you pretend and find just the right tv so you can forget your sorrows while binge watching Netflix mindlessly.
Say fuck it. Fuck “Just right.” Shoot for more than that. Shoot for great. Shoot for awesome. Shoot for the fucking moon. Forget the right setting. Live life like you are the fucking hero in your own life. Would you be sitting there in front of your screen like a stiff mummy? Or would be trying to get the shit done with so you can get the fuck out of there and do some actual cool stuff? Anything can be just right for the moment. But in the long run, things change. Would you prefer to be 65 having done nothing exciting in your life cos you spent it sitting carefully in the right setting too afraid to hurt yourself? Or would you rather be 65 with a bad back but with one hell of an adventurous life?
Accepting the just the right setting is like saying I have given up on life and I will now live in this unnatural position forgoing all the things humans were meant to do. Instead, I will listen to this random woman and prepare to live the rest of my life like a famous cadaver in a museum. No, I can’t do it. I’m not going to sit in this unnatural position and wait to be replaced by the robots. Join the revolution and stop looking for the right setting in life. There isn’t one.
P.S: I speak of the right setting as a metaphor for the mindset of course, and for the sake of your back, please sit straight;)!