I’m closer to 40 than not, but I’m no closer to knowing what I want to be when I grow up. Essentially, I’ve bounced from one job to the next. As is traditional for those who are burdened with a Liberal Arts degree, I have a fair bit of retail experience. Approximately half my life has been spent in varying shades of customer facing. “I’ve done worse for less” has been something of a mantra, especially when I go from one job to the next, and it’s proven true. For the most part, though, I can keep my resume on one page, which is either a bit sad or kind of impressive, depending on which lens you care to view it through.
Over the years, I’ve had inspirational sparks, brief flickerflashes in the dark that seemed to make sense. Damn near to the last, they’ve guttered out, or withered on the vine, or left me because I wasn’t “emotionally available.” Depending on the age, I’ve wanted to anything from a garbage man to a massage therapist. If I’d ever had proper abs, I may have been able to add “rent boy” to that list.
Generally, when the suburban ennui runs particularly hot, I’d tamp it down, way down deep so it can flourish and grow like some kind of cave fungus. Like herpes, it’s not about a cure, it’s about suppression. Now, I do feel that for a guy who’s career plans have taken a play from a game of Pong, I haven’t fared too poorly. These days, I answer phones for a living, and once again, I’ve done worse for less.
As of late, there’s been a tonal shift. The traditional curb stomping hasn’t been as effective as in the past. Somewhere, the idea that my time and efforts could, nay, should have some greater sense of fulfillment has burrowed in nice and deep. When you are the equivalent of a speed bump in someone’s business day, you don’t generally get a case of the feel goods.
Let us take a moment and appreciate that, much in the way anxiety breeds anxiety, a lack of fulfillment is incredibly unfulfilling. I don’t much care for feeling like my life is the guideline for the next Wes Anderson movie. There isn’t nearly enough quirk to make it sustainable. Considering I own three ukuleles, and a burgeoning love for Vampire Weekend, I do have to concede there’s a splash of twee.
In terms of figuring out what I want to be when I grow up, I’m kind of like the exact opposite of Liam Neeson in Taken: I do have a set of skills, assuming we’re generous with our descriptions, although they are so non-specific as to be largely unimpressive. They certainly won’t massacre a Ukrainian crime ring. They might deal with an onion ring.
Relax. I just got the results back from my cholesterol blood panel. My bad cholesterol levels are fine, I can handle some fried food, mom.
I’ve had the chance to pull some better-than-average money in some of the past gigs, but it wasn’t the right path. I can assure you that a salesman who isn’t too focused on making money is great for the customer, but rather bad for the company. The next time you need to buy a cell phone, look for the guy with the light in his eyes dimmed by discontent. He won’t push much of anything on you, I promise.
Now, there are bills to pay, etc. As much as I’ve thought about clearing out my 401k and just, yanno, totally just find my own groovy purpose, man. I get that. Whenever I hear someone earnestly preach that adorable “work like the money doesn’t matter” shtick, I kind of want to punch them right in the chucklebox. I may even do just that when I figure out what the “chucklebox” is, and where one finds it.
It’s always had a disingenuous ring to it. I’m not saying that money is the end all be all, but it does matter. How much it matters is up to you. As long as I can keep myself in ice cream and Netflix, and keep my kid in shoes, I’m largely good. Well, I have been good with that, but that’s looking fit to change on me, whether I like it or not.
I’d like to see if I can’t get ahead of this thing. It would be a nice change of pace to be ready, instead of reacting. For the life of me, I still haven’t gotten any closer to knowing what will help me find that fulfillment. Knowing what I don’t want to do only gets me so far. I can’t manifest the answer by gritting my teeth and wanting it bad enough, and soul searching hasn’t done too much as of yet. Sure, there’s a mile-wide “I don’t know what I don’t know” in place, and if I’m being honest, it’s kind of pissing me off. It nags at the back of my mind much like the urge to smoke a cigarette. It’s been a long while since I last smoked, and I know I don’t really want to take it up again, but it’s a persistent nagging all the same.
Trying to navigate this new twist feels a lot like trying to find buried treasure without the map or handy dandy X marking the spot. I don’t know which direction to head in, nor what tools to pack. My tactics at this point are amounting to keeping alert for any indication of where to go next.
Sadly, the universe is not much for a blatant sign post, even though that would be a huge help. Seriously, a big ol’ sign post would be awesome right about now.
Crabby wrote this and would love you check it out.