My Life Sucks
What a great way to kick off a new project, but really there isn't another way to say it. My life started sucking about 5 years ago and then continued to gradually suck more until this day when I decided to start writing about how much my life sucks so maybe I can figure out how to fix it. I will try my best not to sound like a miserable asshole while I write things for this page, but it will be difficult because I AM, IN FACT, A MISERABLE ASSHOLE (right now).
But maybe, just maybe, doing honest accounting of the things causing my life to go down this path of utter suckiness and genuinely trying to address them can make me less miserable and less of an asshole. Or I could be totally wrong and it will only amplify the negatives. But what the hell? Might as well give this a shot. Nothing else has worked in 5 years.
An Honest Accounting of the Bad (aka a not great dating profile)
1. I'm Broke and My Credit Sucks
I'm a 38 year-old gig worker. When I say I'm broke, I don't mean I can't pay for nice things. I mean I'm one or two bad weeks from not being able to make rent. Rent, which has more than doubled since I moved into my one-bedroom apartment in Phoenix 8 years ago.
Assholes will say to me "Well, that's what you get for renting. You should buy property." To those assholes, I point to the second part of this heading. My credit sucks! I know that's on me and a series of bad decisions in my 20s which will be haunting me into my 40s. But let me just say, this system of credit scores that governs the way people live sucks and is designed to keep people down once they get down. Instead of getting a mortgage for less than what I'm paying in rent (which I have paid reliably for 8 years), my credit score dictates that I get to have my life controlled by the whims of property management companies for the foreseeable future.
I am beyond living paycheck-to-paycheck. I am living days-wages to days-wages. I often have to use gig companies "instant pay" options to cash out at the end of the day to pay for whatever bill is due that day. The last week of every month is a mad scramble to make sure I can cover rent. I am stressed right up to the moment I make that payment each month.
I feel like this is an important time to state I'm not writing about this because I want people to feel bad for me. These are still first world problems. It is like the title says "an honest accounting" of where I'm at as I start this new project.
Five years ago, I could run a half marathon any time I wanted and hike any trail without fear I couldn't finish. I was a little over 200 lbs, which was great for a man who spent a lot of his life hovering around 300. Today, I'm back over that 300 mark again (explanation coming in the next item on the list). I had started getting back on track last year. There was a point where I was hiking every day for two months. I felt like things were turning around. Then, I could no longer pay my $312 a month health insurance premiums.
As counterintuitive as it seems, I decided to stop hiking because I didn't want to risk getting injured on the trails or potentially coming in contact with a rattlesnake and not being able to afford the treatment. I sacrificed the one thing I was doing for my long-term health because of the possibly devastating short-term financial consequences. The health care system is just as fucked up as the credit score system.
3. Romantic Relationships
I have not seriously pursued anything romantic since my last relationship ended over five years ago. I haven't messaged anyone on a dating app in years. I haven't even tried to get a phone number since New Years 2017. Coworkers tried to set me up (back when I had coworkers) and I came up with excuses because I knew I would have been a miserable person for anyone to be with at the time.
Not long after my last relationship ended, there was a night where I was sitting next to a cute girl at a bar. Something she said or did reminded me of my ex-girlfriend's mannerisms. Almost impulsively, I withdrew. I stopped talking to her and I remember thinking "I'm going to drink and eat so much that no one could possibly be attracted to me." I intentionally let myself get out of shape as a defense mechanism to avoid attracting someone who could hurt me. I did that for so long, that it has been extremely difficult to stop the bad habits I resumed during that time. Even when I got to a point where I felt emotionally ready, my confidence has been so terrible I just stopped trying.
I push people away. Or maybe, more often I never let people in. Right now, I think it's not inaccurate to say that I'm a hermit without a true human friendship. My closest/only friendship with any carbon-based lifeform is with my dog, Rogue. This is an unbalanced friendship since he relies on me for basic life needs.
As for human friendships, I love and miss my friends from high school and college. I think they are great people and genuinely enjoy when we get opportunities to reconnect. As for friends in Phoenix, where I have spent 15 years of my life, I don't really have anyone who is close. Currently, my closest friend here is my brother, Tom, and that is really stretching the concept of the word friend. I don't think I've seen him since Christmas but we text most days. Those texts are always about sports and/or sports gambling, but at least it's something. We didn't really have a close connection before sports gambling became legal in AZ, despite having been roommates for the first 7 years I lived here.
My most recent attempt at a close friendship ended because I felt like I was putting in more work to maintain the relationship than the other person. I was always the one who had to ask to meet up. I was always the one who had to start text conversations. Most of those text conversations were met with short answers to conversation-starter questions. Even when I bluntly stated I felt like I was trying harder to maintain the friendship, nothing changed. In a lot of cases, I might push people away. This time, I feel like I tried hard but was met by someone even more closed off than me.
5. No Career Prospects
I am a gig worker with two Masters degrees. It is not my education that is to blame for my lack of career prospects. This is another thing that is the result of bad choices from my early adulthood. I spent the first decade of my adult working years in for-profit education. Looking back, it was a bad choice. It was a path that ultimately led to a personal moral reckoning. I spent ten years in an industry I no longer feel was ethical or respectable.
I left for-profit education and jumped into gig work thinking it would be a bridge to the next industry. I've found myself stuck on that bridge for almost 4 years. How do I get off this fucking bridge?! How do I start a new career trajectory when I don't even have any references I've seen face-to-face in the past 5 years?
6. A General Feeling of Pointlessness
This is the toughest of all because it is so difficult to articulate. It is the feeling most associated with swings of depression, but it is also an overarching feeling in my life. What is the point? I am a goal-oriented person. This might be why I was attracted to gig work. Daily and weekly goals keep me doing that work. But when I get past the basic monetary life needs, I often find myself thinking the rest of life is just pointless.
I'm not religious so I'm not looking to score points for an afterlife. Really, I believe the ultimate goal should be creating things that endure after you die. For me, I thought that thing would be writing. But the person who most supported me in that was the same ex-girlfriend that started my downward-spiral and she was definitely a liar. So now, I don't really know what my enduring thing is yet. Maybe when I figure that out I'll solve life (get it?).
These are the first six areas of my life I've identified to be contributing to a really negative outlook. Certainly, there will be more to add to this list as I do the work to get things on a better track. Saying these things suck is not a cry for help, but if anyone reads something I write and has suggestions or advice, I'm open to hearing it. That is an effort to welcome people in instead of pushing away. Maybe it's working already.
7/18/2022 07:06:44 am
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Randy Miller is on a quest to move his life along the scale from completely sucking to sucking slightly less to potentially sucking very little. He isn't really sure how he'll do this, but maybe writing about it will help.
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