Every day for the past few years, I’ve opened my eyes each morning to the horrifying reality that my life is filled with shit I don’t like and don’t want to do. Sure, I claim and try to lead a life of engaged passion, but the truth is, like the rest of you, I too am inwardly deteriorating as I struggle to get by.
The two degrees I spent $100k and 10 years of my life acquiring are essentially worthless. The knowledge I gathered while acquiring them is now all mostly forgotten. The friends and connections I made there are mostly distant memories of impersonal connections.
It feels like I’m being strangled by my own aspirations and unfulfilled potential. It’s felt like that for a while and I’ve been trying for nearly just as long to figure out what the fuck went wrong in my life to end up here. Sure, here includes stable income, a decent apartment, a healthy romantic relationship and a generally great life.
Unfortunately, all of that is not enough to trick me into thinking that everything is fine.
My career stalled after college and I’ve known that since about a month after I walked across Eastern Michigan University’s Convocation Center stage, but haven’t known what to do about it. So, I spent the next three years getting by, bettering myself and making a life, while keeping a brave face about being trapped in my college town.
I’ve been fed up for a while, but thanks to my doctor prescribing me Zoloft last month, that suffocating cloud of depression, anxiety and constant fatigue is lifting. For the first time in about two years, I’m feeling like me again and it’s making me face some panic attack inducing truths.
Most important among them: I hate the work I’m doing.
When I started blogging, I had a (slightly) better than average grasp of English, a rant in my heart and the courage (or audacity) living in a mid-western cocoon can provide.
I was far from being a professional writer or anything, but I wanted to get there. I was full of passion, energy and ready to take on the world.
After a year of blogging, I got a job at EMU’s school paper The Eastern Echo and thought I was the shit. I took my job so seriously and got promoted to creative director in just a few months. I took myself seriously and felt like I was so critical to the operations of things.
To my dismay, though the general look of the paper has taken a considerable dive, The Echo is still chugging along without my industry leading front page designs.
College and the way it threw opportunities at me inflated my ego. It made me believe that I was elite when really I was just a better beginner than most others around me. It was enough to make me a shining star or at least feel like one.
I was so sure that after college, I’d start writing books and become one of those awesome sex educators I’d always looked up to. I was sure, I’d become Mr LTASEX and have the world educated by my every tweet. That didn’t happen.
I did get a few really cool gigs that fell into my lap, but fizzled into nothingness. LTASEX has become bigger, more professional and makes a profit when I don’t factor in labor. I now net a small, but helpful sum from my freelance work and passion projects. Yet, in truth, I’m in essentially the same spot.
Four years ago, Nicki Minaj’s “Moment for Life” was my jam. I really connected with Nicki’s ferocity and determination to capitalize on her early success to make a lifelong career. I felt like my moment was only a day away and it was inevitable.
Today, Nicki is feelin’ herself, but I’m still waiting for my moment to get here. These days I’m more like Gwen Stefani wondering what I’m waiting for.
While the general shittiness of our economy and a lack of guidance are definitely to blame, it’s mostly my own damn fault. I’ve been doing shit I don’t want to do for years because it was more comfortable, safer and this is the result.
Logically, I’ve known for a long time that passion, creativity, intuitiveness and ingenuity are the keys to success – mine at least. Even as a kid when I was made to feel crazy, I knew I was right and needed to follow my own compass.
Still, my family managed to smooth my edges just enough that I can’t tell the difference between intuition and anxiety. So, while I knew that everything I wanted would be available to me if I followed my nose, I’ve also developed a deep distrust of my decision-making process.
I’m in constant conflict with myself. Instead launching into the cool stuff that pops into my head, like I used to, I now immediately send each idea through a rigorous checklist to make sure it’s worthy. When the cool idea inevitably fails, I end up doing the safest, well-traveled and most boring option available because it seems less risky and just smarter.
Every time it happens, I feel like I’ve made a smart decision and I’m convinced that it will work for me, but it doesn’t.
If I’m able to convince myself I’m interested in the more boring option, I have to get it out of me immediately. Otherwise, it’ll sit in in procrastination limbo with the rest of the smart (for someone else) ideas I’ve greenlit.
For the longest time, I thought that behavior was just the result of an overactive mind that can never recapture the joy of a rational compromise made days or weeks earlier. In reality, I was just unable to recapture the delusion that made me think making stuff I don’t like would ever pay off.
Like everyone else, I’m more than numb enough to do stuff I don’t want to do like paperwork and paying back student loans. Still, like everyone else, if all I’m doing is shit I don’t want to do, I’m going to be unhappy, unproductive, and irritable; I might even have a hard time getting out of bed.
Funny enough, that sounds exactly like what I’ve been dealing with for the past three or so years. It’s the reason I’ve needed to take so many extended breaks from LTASEX. It’s why my articles for other publications are so damn difficult to write and not very interesting to read.
It’s why I’m stuck wading water when I feel like I could be doing something amazing or at least exciting to me.
Every day, I open my eyes to the horrifying reality that my life is filled with shit I don’t like and don’t want to do. I’ve been making the best available, smartest decisions, but they aren’t the best for me.
I’m so tired of doing the safe thing because the best thing for me is scary and untraditional. Doing the shit I don’t want to do is boring, unfulfilling and not worth my time. So, I ain’t doing that shit no more. Now, if only I could get my anxiety to agree…