Swinging for the fences

I haven’t been compelled to write in a while. I was hoping, unfairly, that this trip to Arizona would magically open my mind to what I want my next step to be. I don’t think it has, but it’s been a good exercise to lay some of this out and see what feels true and where I can call bullshit on my thoughts.

I am good at working toward goals, but right now I don’t have any. Just a vague sense that I’m not doing all that I can or “should” be doing. I used to feel like I was going to change the world. Now I just wish to feel like I’m doing something meaningful or useful, even if it’s in a limited way, and fun. I think fun is underrated. There’s also a draw to being left alone to create in obscurity, which is pretty easily achievable, but won’t keep a roof over my head.

Over the last year and a half or so I’ve had this thought that I can’t quite ignore and it’s that I believe we place far too much importance on our value as a race and that no matter what we do it has little to no value in the grand scheme of things.

And now that I’ve finally written that out, who the hell cares? Maybe it’s a good thing. We exist and we have to do something with our time. I no longer believe that any one profession is better or more valuable than any other, we’re all just people after all. No special fucking snowflakes here. It doesn’t matter if we’re saving lives or fixing the office printer, so long as we do good work and we try to grow and better our selves. Unfortunately, a lot of people get stuck and mucked up with obligations and forget to water themselves, eventually shriveling up to die in the shallow soil of the lives they’ve accepted in complacency.

I don’t know that I’m capable of falling into that trap. At least not without being hideously aware of my shitty existence. I’ve always always always been that person who’s looking at what’s next, what else, what more? It’s both a good and bad quality. It pushes me to do better and be better, but it also keeps me from appreciating where I’m at and what I’ve done. It’s not a great thing to always be seeking more. Sometimes it really is enough. For instance, my personal life is off the charts phenomenal and I’m beyond grateful and aware of it. It’s my professional life that’s lacking at the moment.

Ultimately, I think as long as I’m not actively making life worse for others then I can do whatever the fuck I want. I just wish I knew what the fuck it is I want to do so I can make some effort towards it.

Societal norms, particularly the lure of the safe company job, are so ingrained in how I can possibly expect to take care of myself that it’s brutally difficult to see what other paths I can reasonably take. I am somewhat open to risk, will be more so once I’m out of debt in a few months and can actually start putting money aside, but there is nothing I’ve been able to conceive that I’m passionate enough about pursuing to make the risk worthwhile! And having to worry about fucking health insurance and retirement some day really put a damper on swinging for the fences. Damn responsibility.

Having to be a slave to money means that I have to be a slave to other people to exist in modern society. The problem is, I don’t want to have to rely on other people in order to make a living. If I make a product, then I’m reliant on people to buy it. If I sell a service, same. There’s already so much shit in the world. Do I really want to add to it?

I don’t know that that’s possible to escape without promising myself to a life of poverty and pretending to worship a god. While giving everything up and sitting in silence holds some appeal, I think that’s probably a short-term Eat Pray Love kind of experiment at best and not a long-term solution for the life I want to live. Refusing to engage with life for an extended period of time seems cowardly and boring.

Damn it all to hell and back. I know I want more control over how I’m spending my days. I want to minimize the demands on my time for what I feel are pointless requests. I’d like to feel like I’m providing some level of value, although I know I will continue to wrestle with achieving that because of the aforementioned feeling that everything is basically pointless, at least on a macro scale.

My favorite projects allow me to be creative and resourceful and typically generate a tangible product. I like to work with both my head and my hands and prefer to work independently. If only I knew what I wanted, then I could try to lean into it. I’m so good at getting shit done for other people. There really shouldn’t be such a hang up starting something for myself, but I’m stuck on needing it to feel worthwhile and wondering if anything I can do will ever feel that way. I need to come to terms with my ego.

I’m aware that this is a painfully narcissistic post. There are some schools of thought that would suggest at least part of my problem is that I’m too focused on myself and not enough on how I can service others. But when I think about being of service to others in a general way, it loses meaning for me. It goes back to a sense of disconnection, of questioning our value as a whole. I can’t function on the macro scale. It has to be more personal for me–one to one and then perhaps build from there, but starting small is hard and makes me question, “What is the point?” Is it enough to help one person at a time? Who am I to decide whatever I might have to offer is actually useful to someone else? It’s a crisis of confidence and validation. I mostly have my shit together, but I’m extremely conscious of how little I really know and I have so many doubts and questions about my own existence, how can I possibly impose myself on others claiming I can help? What do I have to offer that isn’t already on the table a million times over? I know no one can tell me what I’m worthy of, it’s something I have to come to terms with myself, but I’m struggling.

Most of my life I have been drawn towards wanting to help/please others, particularly those in my immediate sphere, out of a desire to be liked and to foster a sense of belonging I suppose. I’m damn good at it and that still holds true, but I’ve realized over the past year that it has come at the expense of often smothering my opinion or wants to make space for others to have what they want. After 27 years of this, I’m exceptionally bad at asking for what I want or even knowing what that is. And I struggle to trust that if I have the audacity to take up space and be fully seen that the people who matter most to me will still love me. I’m rolling my eyes a little at the cliche language that seems to be defining our generation, but it holds some truth. In reality, I don’t think I want anything particularly radical. It’s mostly about making a conscious decision to have and share my preferences and opinions particularly when asked instead of shrugging and saying, “Whatever you want.” And maybe also being brave enough to voice negative emotions when people overstep my boundaries instead of letting things slide for the sake of their peace.

Gosh, what a rambling post. I think I’m glad I wrote it out. I don’t have a conclusion.

I think maybe I’m excited to see where I go from here? Maybe it’s enough to question, enough to be aware, enough to be open and engaged with life. Every day I’m learning. We’ll see what happens next.

 

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