Questions on Life

Before we get into the promised topic, my wordpress has recently decided I’m mildly retarded.  In the blank box at the top of the page, it now reads “Enter Title Here”.  No shit?  Where have I been putting it?  My Publish button is huge, like about twice the size it was before.  Have the wordpress people been reading my posts and muttering about idiots?  If they have so much time on their hands, why don’t they clean my house?

***************

Okay.  Show of hands…who thought they would be doing (enter job description/title here) when they grew up?  Whatever.  Assholes.

Okay.  So how many of you are like me and occasionally look around and think, “FUCK!  Is this all there is?”

I don’t hate my life, but it certainly isn’t what I imagined it would be.  As an adolescent I saw myself as a future jet setter in exotic places, with beautiful people, and money falling around me.  My parents were the only things holding me back from the good life.  After my first year of failed college courses I realized that unless I wanted to be a drug dealer or a hooker, the most exotic place I was going to see was the back of a Country Kitchen restaurant.

A second chance at higher education gave me the opportunity to have a career rather than a job.  Yet somehow those plans all ended up in the garbage:   

Veterinarian–Who doesn’t want to be a vet when they are a kid.  The idea of playing with animals all day and getting paid for it is the stuff of dreams.  Of course, no one ever tells kids that they may have to kill the animals people don’t want or that they will come home smelling of blood, shit and vomit every damned day.  My dreams of being a vet ended when 1.)  I realized I wasn’t smart enough and 2.) I passed out at the clinic while the vet was removing the stitches from my dog’s leg.  No one wants a dumb, passed out vet.

Social Worker–This went hand in hand with my Save the World career.  I could help people.  I could stop child abuse, get families the food, shelter and medical attention they need and everybody could sit around holding hands and singing “Kumbayah”.  The world would be a better place.  This came to a screeching halt when 1.)  I realized I wasn’t tough enough emotionally and 2.) I got an up close look at the level of child abuse people were willing to dish out on their kids.  Social worker my ass, I was going to be a hitman.

Historian–I love history.  It’s some funny stuff and I could spend days doing research in stuffy libraries, putting together the lives of people long past.  I had to look for other employment when I discovered 1.) It pays dick and 2.) Nobody gives a shit about what happened last year let alone a hundred years ago.  We’re all savages.

Teacher–Go back and read #3 except replace the basic needs with education.  Again, I was going to make the world a better place.  Funny thing about teaching: 1.) Schools want to try before they buy.  They want you to substitute teach for at least a year before they hire you.  This is great if you are young and fresh out of college and your parents are still used to supporting you.  It sucks more than a little if you are a single mom and 2.) Wyoming schools think it’s nice that your GPA is high “cuz we like smart people as teachers, but, uh, can you coach anything?”  Ack!

Sometimes I feel I have achieved nothing with my life.  I did raise two pretty cool kids and I gave food and shelter to animals, but those are basic things, not great things.

I haven’t saved a whale or a rainforest.  I haven’t stopped global warming or cured cancer.  I haven’t written the Great American Novel or even a crappy American novel.  I’m not an artist or a musician or a dancer. 

Are other people as content as I think they are, or are we a nation wallowing in discontent?  Am I having a mid-life crisis?  Maybe I would feel better if someone named a street after me.  And I had a million dollars.  And a jet.

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Catherine
    Apr 25, 2010 @ 01:46:13

    When I was young I wanted to be 1) an archeologist, which came to an ended when I realised you had to study and it was boring, I just wanted to brush soil off objects in the ground and find Egytian tombs filled with treasure

    Ohhh! An archaeologist! I wanted to be an underwater archaeologist until HELLO! I’m afraid of water. Freaking duh.

    and 2) the conductor of an orchestra which came to a halt when I realised I was tone deaf and couldnt read music. In my early twenties I was very energetic but frustrated waiting for big break, someone to recognise that I could save the world and that lasted until my mid thirties but for the last ten years I have been pretty much content trying not to damage the world and giving up on my dream of saving it.

    Maybe that’s what I should aim for…not ruining the world. I always say if you can’t be a role model at least be an example.

    Another great post, which shows however much we think we are individuals, most of us go through the same old s***.

    Thank you! It is very comforting to know that many of us struggle with the same issues.

    Reply

  2. blogmella
    Apr 25, 2010 @ 05:11:13

    All the ideas you had for what to do with your life were good and I’m sure you had the brains needed to do them – But reading through your list, it seems that what got in the way was your disappointment with REALITY. It never really matches up to the ideal world we have in our heads, does it?

    Just like sex, life is always better in my head.

    I think I have had similar problems…

    I don’t like dealing with “savages” either, man’s inhumanity to man (or animals) puts cold fear into my heart.

    I don’t like jumping through hoops… I could read before I even started school so, in my head, I am too clever to have to “prove myself” to get a job.

    I don’t like filling in forms. Fuck off with the paperwork.

    Anything that pays well bores me. This may be a defence mechanism against being asked to deliver.

    I’ve tried to be married (twice) but either they can’t put up with me, or they turn out to be bossy assholes. I’m attracted to men that I can’t actually deal with, or that can’t deal with me.

    One failed marriage was enough for me. I don’t jump through hoops or fill out forms either. I’m not competitve and endless forms smacks of future boredom. I don’t kiss asses well or deal with administrators.

    Reality sucks.

    Some of my best moments were on stage, doing stand-up. There were no rules, the feedback was immediate, there was no paperwork, it paid for shit (so I couldn’t fail an employer) and I was fairly good at it. It wasn’t boring and the people I worked with were fucking insane… I fitted right in – something I normally struggle with. I was over 40 when I started and no way could I ever be “famous” but I had a paying hobby, met lots of friends and best of all – most stand-ups are young, hilarious, men. Yay!

    You do stand up comedy?! That is so awesome!

    I MUST start doing comedy again, in Manchester this time, I miss it.

    I’m nothing like the person I wanted to be when I grew up, I failed at marriage and I’ve never had a “good” job . But I AM authentically what I am – I don’t pose, I’m not a snob, I don’t try to be beautiful, I do try to be kind and if I bullshit I at least make it amusing. I’m mostly harmless – and that will have to do.

    Being happy with yourself is the best thing because if you aren’t no one else will be either.

    Reply

  3. Sherri
    Apr 25, 2010 @ 07:12:11

    Your list is almost identical to mine.

    I think we all need to be happy with our ordinariness, because after all, the chances of escaping it are almost nil. I’m actually pretty relieved to find I don’t have a responsibility to be special, which is what I always felt growing up.

    Maybe that is it. Responsibility was pounded into my head at a very young age. Maybe I feel guilty for not being more responsible and therefore successful. Responsible/successful people have the big house, fancy cars, good jobs, exotic vacations. I’m shirking my responsibilities and while it feels good it also makes me feel guilty.

    Reply

  4. beckyb26
    Apr 25, 2010 @ 07:35:21

    I’m dealing with a lot of the same stuff, as are a lot of people I know. I was just talking to a girl yesterday who was saying she thought she’d be in a different place at 29. Try being 35 and having the same feelings!

    Try being 45 and wondering where the hell you are.

    Blogmella is right, we all have fantasies, but only a few of us overcome the reality of becoming something we’re not. Just live a life where you are loved and where you love and I think the world WILL be a better place and you’ll finish knowing you touched people’s lives. 🙂

    I live a simple life and maybe that is the best life.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Reply

  5. darcknyt
    Apr 25, 2010 @ 10:46:53

    I think for me dealing with my ordinariness has been very traumatic for many of the reasons other people listed here. When I was a kid, I decided I wanted to be a doctor. I was under constant reminder and pressure to do that until I gave up on it after my first semester of college. I dropped out and the world went black.

    What I didn’t know at the time was, it went black years before. My parents were counting on my fulfillment of that dream for THEM, not for me. The pressure to be something extraordinary came onto me from everywhere because I excelled in school and it looked for all the world like I’d be the first person in my family’s line to finish college (which was bullsh!t anyway; my cousins on my dad’s side were already college grads and one of ’em was an attorney). On my mom’s side that would’ve been true; most of them end up losers. I followed suit and that sucks.

    Now I think I have a chance to do something extraordinary again, with the ability to write and the chance of publication. Of course, I read about the industry and I know how slim my chances really are, so reality is poised to intrude on my fantasy life again. And thank GOD in heaven I didn’t become a doctor. I’d have been the most calloused, uncaring SOB with no bedside manner whatsoever. But hey, I loved the science of it all. I just hate math, which was, oh, say, 60% of it in college.

    Yeah, you’re in the same boat with a lot of people. Don’t you feel better, now? We’ll all go down together. 😉

    I do feel better knowing I’m not alone in my discontent and discarded dreams.

    For me, the pressure to succeed was never external. Nobody had ANY expectations of me since most everyone I knew saw me as a dumbassed baby maker. All I ever heard from former teachers, people from town, former classmates and relatives was, “You can’t do that. Maybe that is part of the problem as well. Just as I get on the brink of achieving something, I quit. You and I have talked before about my issues with writing…two or three chapters and I toss it in the trash. Maybe I can’t do that.

    Reply

  6. DarcsFalcon
    Apr 25, 2010 @ 13:44:19

    When I was little I wanted to be a dancer, but my parents refused to sign me up for classes, so I blame them. 🙂 I also wanted to be a race car driver, and a drummer.

    Am I where I expected to be? No. This is an alternate universe to my REAL life, and I wanna go back!

    That pretty much sums up how I feel. 🙂

    So no, you’re not alone.

    A girl race car driver? That was funny back in the day. I don’t know if I would change my life, but I really thought there would be more.

    Reply

  7. Sparty Girl
    Apr 25, 2010 @ 18:18:39

    I have to say, overall at least, I’m pretty content with my life.

    I think my first paragraph was for you. 🙂

    I realized a long time ago that I didn’t want to work hard enough to be a famous actor/writer/brain surgeon. To be REALLY good at something takes a lot of work. Like 60, 70, 80 hours a week. I don’t want to work that hard. Never did.

    I’m not dedicated enough to be REALLY good at anything. I’m much more of the Jackson Pollack approach, fling yourself at it and see if it works.

    I’m blessed that I’m smart enough to do as well as I want with about the amount of effort I want to put into it.

    I guess I could say the same thing. I’m at that point where I don’t want to put any effort into anything. I just want the money and accolades.

    Read a little Thoreau… I’d much rather have time to pick raspberries with my kids in the summer. Beats being on Broadway any day.

    Decide what you want. You are a good enough writer, Holly, and so are you, darcknyt. You need some luck, sure, but enough hard work will get you a long way down the road you want to travel, if you really want to go there. How many years did Mary Higgens Clark write in the dark of the mornings before her kids woke up, and how many rejection slips did she get before her first book was published? You can do it, just like she did.

    Thank you! MHC was/is much more devoted than I am. In the end, I feel that no one wants to read the crap I’m writing. It’s easier to hold an audience (and MY attention) with a few paragraphs rather than long, rambling chapters. Maybe I should write a book of nothing but 2-3 paragraph chapters. HA!

    Reply

  8. Bob
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 05:32:42

    I went to school for english, thought about being a writer or a teacher. I have a boring office job for a school board. Kind of close to a teacher. Problem is that the job isn’t permanent even though I have been there for 5 years. Definitely hasn’t gone the way I thought it would.

    I’m seeing a trend here and I’m starting to feel better.

    Reply

  9. Zombieman
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 08:02:11

    Right there with you on this post. I was aiming for the Astronaut or Archeologist myself, maybe both. I could unearth alien remains? When I think about it, that would still be cool…

    That would be cool.

    I tried to save the world (Peace Corps) only to realize the world doesn’t actually need/want saving,

    That is the truth, isn’t it. The police say the worst call they can get is one for domestic violence. They go in to save a woman who is being beaten by her man and she turns on the police. No one wants saved. If they do, they find a way to save themselves.

    then I switched my focus to pursue money. (Guess how that turned out?) Now I am content to do a little writing and spend time out back grilling and pondering my own little corner of life. I have to look at the back yard; if I look another direction I see the world and that is just too big to contemplate. I’ll make the perfect old man some day.

    I’ve never actually pursued money. I always thought it would just fall in my lap. I don’t know what I was thinking.

    Oh and absolutely I am not doing what I made it through college for, not even close.

    Glad to hear that. I don’t feel so alone.

    Reply

  10. Soylent Dave
    Apr 29, 2010 @ 10:20:09

    Like – apparently – loads of people, I too wanted to be an archaeologist when I was a lad. Sadly I grew out of the idea before Jurassic Park was released, or that would have been The Most Exciting Film Ever for young me.

    Indiana Jones got me started on the archaeologist gig. Then I took a couple of classes and realized it was boring as shit.

    Other than that, I’ve never really had a concrete idea of what I want to be when I grow up – some half-hearted thoughts about being an author or maybe a teacher, but I can think of too many reasons why I don’t really want to do either.

    I read a degree in something I wasn’t interested in pursuing a career in (Chemistry), so that didn’t help, and then – like everyone else – I fell into a career that had absolutely nothing to do with anything I’d been studying, and wasn’t what I’d ever expected to be doing (retail management).

    And – although I had to knock that on the head when my mum got sick, and it wasn’t what I dreamed of doing when I was young – it’s probably what I’m going to back into.

    The thing is, we have lots of opportunities – study, temporary jobs etc. etc., but I find that most people seem end up doing something that they’re good at, even if they didn’t expect to be.

    And there’s a certain amount of satisfaction in that (even when the job itself isn’t).

    I never thought of that. I never thought I would go back to waiting tables, but I am good at it (sometimes) and I can sleep at night knowing I did that little job well. It’s not rocket science or saving the world, but it makes people happy.

    Reply

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