Living Life Without a Plan

One of the big things about my life really bothers me is that I’m about to turn forty and I still have absolutely no idea what the hell I’m going to do with my life. I did the military thing for a bit more than a decade, but ultimately the culture and constant demands wore me down. I’ve tried the office thing, but in the end I just don’t have the patience or attention span to sit in an office doing a bunch of meaningless work all day and I end up going home filled with spite. I’ve been unemployed for six months now and the money is running out, so now I’m turning to doing ridesharing full time in an attempt to make some kind of decent living at something that hopefully doesn’t make me crazy. Fortunately, I live in a city where that’s something that is actually feasible…I think.

Strangely, I think this problem is far more widespread than many people assume. It’s a trope that we do “the daily grind”, which can only be applied to a job that you hate and you’re only doing because you can’t find anything better. The average person probably isn’t doing the job of their dreams not because there isn’t an opportunity for it, but because they simply have no idea at all what that dream might be. Our need to provide for ourselves combined with a work culture that is centered around squeezing out as much production from employees as possible has created a society where the vast majority of people might be far better at something else, but we’re all stuck with the unfulfilling mess we’ve been able to find.

Of course, this is far better than what people a hundred years ago had to live with. We obviously don’t want to go back to the days where everyone had to farm their own food and build their own houses and died from just about every disease that came along. The world is a far better place than it was even just fifty years ago, so any amount of complaining about the inequities of life has to come with a huge grain of salt, and I’m fully aware of that even as I bemoan my own frustrating situation.

That said, living in the world that we have now makes it very difficult to not dream of finding the kind of life that makes me excited to get up every day. I’m not necessarily talking about winning the lottery and travelling the world for the rest of my life, though it would be awesome if that actually happened. I’m talking about finding something that sparks my passion that is actually financially feasible and allows me to make a living doing something I love to do.

Unfortunately, even at this median stage of my life I still have absolutely no idea what that is outside of really wishing I could get on a sailboat and travel around the world on it with my family. That’s a huge goal that’s always been on my list, and while I believe it would be an awesome accomplishment, that isn’t really a plan for life. It’s something that results from making enough money to be able to step away and do that. It’s a retirement goal, and I’m nowhere near being able to do that yet.

For most of my life, I’ve tried really hard to live by the philosophy of just getting through things as best I can and doing what I can to curb the frustration that tends to build up in me when things don’t go my way. The problem with that is that I’m just a super demanding person who wants things the way I want them, and that really just doesn’t work in the world as it exists. Life doesn’t bend itself around your personal desires, no matter how much you wish it would.

It’s easy to say “just get over it and work harder”, but that sentiment doesn’t work for everyone. There has to be some kind of meaning and purpose in the things that I do, whether it’s entertainment or improvement or whatever it is that makes me feel like it’s something worth doing. One of the big problems with office work for me is that virtually all of it is something that only has to be done because the government came along and created a bunch of red tape that requires paperwork to get past. There’s no real meaningful accomplishments…it’s just check in the box crap.

Anyway, I’ve reached a sort of bottom in my life that certainly isn’t as bad as it could be, but I think is as bad as it’s ever actually been for me. No real career to speak of, no real life goals anymore because I’ve pretty much given up on anything I had any hopes for, and probably a mild bout of depression that isn’t helping me move forward in any meaningful way. Not exactly a great recipe for making a positive change in my life.

I keep hoping that something will pop up that allows me to start a new chapter in my life that finally grabs my attention and allows me to feel the desire to put my all into something, but it never seems to come. It’s extremely difficult for me to just go after something when the odds are that it’s just going to fail and all that effort will end up wasted. I detest wasting time and effort, and it really galls me that those tend to be the things you have to risk if you want to get anywhere in life.

There was a time when I used to think I was lazy, but time and wisdom has made me realize that I just don’t care about most of the things I’ve done in my life. Anyone who watches me do something I’m interested in will see the perfectionist that dwells deep within me, but I can only summon that part of myself when I actually care about the results of whatever it is that I’m doing. I can’t seem to find the desire to apply that part of myself when I’m working to make someone else’s business better, which is why I’ve always wanted to find a way to work for myself. The only problem with that is…what do I do?

If only eleven years of military service hadn’t rotted my ability to think outside the box…

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