I left my job almost 4 years ago because I wanted to write and then...well...I never truly devoted myself to it. At least not with any true effort. I wrote blog posts, started a few websites, and occasionally ventured into attempting fiction scenes without a full-fledged story. That all changed a little over a week ago. I finally came up with an entire fiction story I could outline and complete chapter outlines for. Before I knew it, I had 19 chapters outlined and the skeleton of a plot that actually made sense. I just needed to start filling in the chapters.
I signed up for a website called NovelPad that let me construct everything. I could keep track of chapters, scenes, plot points, characters, and locations. It really was a game-changer for my writing. I set a goal for my first draft of 90,000 words which should be about 300 pages. The site laid out a goal of a little over 700 words per day to complete my first draft by October. This is such a manageable goal that it didn't scare me away. I adjusted my expected words per day to indicate I would probably do more on the weeks and the software adjusted everything for me. A week into it, I've exceeded my daily word count goals every day. A week after signing up, I'm about 8,500 words into my novel (or 9.4%) of my goal.
Aside from feeling like I can actually accomplish my writing goal this time, I've loved the process of writing a fiction novel. When I started, I had nothing more than a skeleton of my story, but every time I sit down to write I learn more about the characters. I have heard other fiction writers say this before and never really understood it, but going through the process myself I realize how true this is.
I am one chapter and bits and pieces of future chapters into my story and so much has changed. When I started I didn't know my lead character had an affinity for rosy-faced lovebird parrots. I had no clue the secondary character built a chicken coop in her back yard. The lead character was originally going to discover an important part of the story in the checkout line of a grocery store. This changed to a bookstore in an art district ran by two characters I never envisioned when I created the outline. Garth Brooks became Tim McGraw in a story pulled from my real life because it was a perfect fit for the story.
It is such an amazing process because I feel like the world I'm supposed to be creating as a fiction writer is actually creating itself. I know where the story is going to end up, but I've accepted that I have no clue how it's going to get there. I have no clue how many twists and turns and characters I've yet to imagine will find their way into the story. That is so cool. I'm the author of something I think is going to be really good and even I have no clue how my characters are going to get to the finale.
Feel free to check out a preview of the first chapter of my novel so far by clicking here. It is a rough draft, so don't be shocked if I've pulled it down.
Writing Is a Weird Hobby
Last weekend, I sat down and started writing a fiction scene. I liked doing it and I was inspired to do it by a short story by Kurt Vonnegut. It was short and not at all finished project, but it was the start of something I want to keep working on. That night, I posted my link to it on Facebook and went to bed. The next morning, I woke up and immediately deleted the Facebook post, but left the story up.
The reason I deleted the post directing people to the short scene is the same reason pseudonyms (pen names) are used by so many writers. I was proud of the little bit I wrote that night, but I was worried it would upset people who know me. It is so tough to write without fear when you're worried about upsetting the people in your orbit.
There were two parts to this scene I didn't want people I know to read and overanalyze. The first was the main character's nonchalance to being told he was going to die by a doctor. I was afraid this would once again be interpreted as a cry for help and I really didn't want to deal with that shit again from people in my life.
The second was my mention of cancer. There is no way to write anything about a cancer diagnosis without potentially upsetting people who are struggling with the same situation and reacting way different than my main character. I didn't want any of my friends or family to read the scene and think I was making light of something so terrible so I pulled the direct link.
The terrible part about writing as a passion/hobby is being proud of what you write while also having to worry about how people will take it. I pride myself in writing honestly even when it can be uncomfortable. I am proud of almost everything I've ever written because I knew it was always honest when I wrote it. I also know I've written things that might upset people I care about. I can simultaneously be proud of writing how a friendship or relationship fell apart while feeling terrible knowing the other person might read it. I can feel proud of writing a story about a character who feels like a terminal diagnosis is "liberating" while feeling bad about how a real person will view my character's flippant attitude should they read it.
I plan to continue working on the story I started last week. I plan on continuing to write posts on this blog. I know both could be uncomfortable, offensive, or upsetting for readers. There will be people I know who don't like me using (fucking) profanity, or talking about sex, or telling stories with depressed characters, or writing true feelings about our interactions. Since I'm not planning on going by a pseudonym, I guess I just have to accept that as the cost of this incredibly weird hobby of mine.
Appreciating a Short Story
I have never give short stories much of a chance. Typically, if I see story is less than 5 hours of audiobook time I avoid it completely. But if there is one author who can get me to give the short story format a chance, it is Kurt Vonnegut. As a person who loves to write, I'm ashamed to admit that I wasn't really big on reading some of the great authors until recently. I've only gotten three books into Vonnegut's catalog (Cat's Cradle, Slaughterhouse Five, and Breakfast of Champions) but I do love his style. I've always wanted to write my own stories, but I'm so worried about grammar, format, and style I let myself get paralyzed. Vonnegut has a unique style I know doesn't conform to traditional writing and that's what I love about it. So it goes.
This morning I decided to take 19 minutes out of my Saturday morning to listen the audiobook of 2BR02B (to be R naught to be) and I'm really glad I did. In 19 minutes of audiobook time or 15 pages of written work, Vonnegut managed to create a utopian/dystopian world. He, somehow, also relayed enough information for the reader to form background stories for at least five characters.
In the end, Vonnegut told a story so shocking and disturbing in 19 minutes/15 pages it has stuck with me all day. I actually took a nap after listening to it and had dreams of the world he created. That is an amazing skill. This is what I want to do. This is the purpose I want to strive to achieve. I want to write stories people feel some way about and it doesn't matter if it is a novel or 500 words of short story.
After my experience with 2BR02B I finally took the time to start a story I've had in my mind for a long time. I don't know if it will be short, a novel, or absolutely nothing, but Vonnegut's writing inspired me to at least start taking the first steps with it. I posted it on my Medium page here.
I cannot even guess how many times I asked her to just tell me the truth. No matter how she thought I might react or how bad the things she did were, I just wanted the truth. I'm an open-minded person and as such I don't necessarily believe that monogamy is the only healthy relationship philosophy. If I find someone I love enough to commit to, I know I can be monogamous, but if there is something else they feel they need I'm not completely opposed to it.
However, there is one big caveat to all of this. The only way this can work is with complete honesty. And this is where our story gets twisted. It's the part I still struggle with. After finding numerous sexual messages between her and other guys in texts and on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, I flat out asked two questions, 1) do you want to be with me?, and 2) do you want an open relationship? Her emphatic answers were "Yes!" and "No!" in that order. After eventually finding out she was, in fact, cheating on me, the cruelty in these two answers is what still lingers.
If she knew she was going to keep cheating, why didn't she just say she didn't want to be with me? If she knew she still wanted to explore other things outside of our relationship, why couldn't she just say she wanted an open situation? After all this time, the only thing I can think is that the thrill was in the lies.
The things that turned her on the most were the thrill of lying or watching my devastation every time I caught her. Either she liked getting away with something and didn't care how it affected me or she liked getting caught and enjoyed witnessing my emotional destruction. I still don't know if it was narcissistic pleasure or psychopathic torture.
I left the door open. I was willing to give her anything she wanted in exchange for honesty. I was willing to adjust my own personal vision of a loving relationship to suit her needs and it still wasn't enough to stop her from lying as she stared straight into my eyes. At any point, she could have given me reprieve by just saying she wanted out or she wanted to be non-monogamous. But at every turn, she chose to lie and it only prolonged my suffering.
I have tried so many times to put myself in her shoes, to try to examine all of my faults (and there are many) to try to understand how it was possible to tell those lies. I just can't get a grasp on it. No part of me can imagine staring into another person's eyes time after time while they begged for me to be honest, only to say something I knew wasn't true. Maybe once I could convince myself it wouldn't happen again but by the second, third, and fourth times I would know all I'm doing is damaging the other person. I think she knew she was damaging me, so I'm left to wonder why she didn't stop.
Believing the person you loved was sick enough to hurt you for her own enjoyment is a fucking mind trip. It is not something you just "get over", as so many people advised me to do. I hate that it has been over 5 years and I still have no desire to start dating again. If I could have gotten over it by having a bunch of one night stands, I would have gladly done it (I have in the past). This was different. This was walking away from someone who I did still love because I realized her intent wasn't love. It was destruction and I'll never understand why she wanted to do that to me.
Legalize it Already!
Writing Honestly without Shame for Purpose
When I laid out the concept for "Randy Solves Life" my intent was to write about posts about the six topics I laid out in my original post and the steps I am taking to make each of those things better. Again, those six topics were finances, health, romantic relationships, social relationships, career, and searching for purpose. But then there are days like today, 4/20, the day recognized by many pot users as a day to celebrate weed, where I have a specific topic in mind. I could try to shoehorn this one into the health category and talk about the benefits of marijuana, but that really isn't why I think it should be legalized.
I want to write about legalizing weed because I think there are still people uncomfortable with the idea. I also think they are uncomfortable with it because they have a stereotypical view of a "typical" marijuana user. There are people in my life who I suspect view pot smokers as dangerous drug addicts. Thinking of these people made me realize maybe one of my purposes in life is to write honestly and without shame about things others might be afraid to express. And with that rationale, I can justify placing this post in the "Finding Purpose" category of the site.
With that out of the way, here are three statements I believe to be absolutely true:
1. Federal marijuana laws are stupid.
If you don't think they are stupid, you probably live in a state where recreational weed is illegal and maybe even one of the few where medicinal isn't approved either. How stupid would we all agree it would be to go to jail for possession of Coca-Cola or a venti latte because it was illegal in Alabama? Enjoy your Coke or Starbucks in Georgia, but the second you cross that state line: "Fuck you, criminal!". That is the current stance on weed. Enjoy all the pot you want in Arizona, Nevada, or Colorado but if you cross that Utah border your ass belongs in jail. This is stupid. There is no other way to put it.
2. There is no stereotypical marijuana user.
This past Saturday morning, I sat in a dispensary waiting room surrounded by a soccer mom, a video gamer nerd, a guy wearing a "We the People" flag t-shirt, a grandfatherly type, and a few stoners. Each of these stereotypical descriptions might have conjured up a mental image but it probably isn't the same image as saying I was surrounded by pot users. Yet, here they were, a diverse group of people waiting to see a budtender to purchase federally illegal drugs on a Saturday morning.
3. There is currently enough marijuana in my kitchen cabinet to land me in jail in several states.
I don't consider myself to be a stereotypical marijuana user either. In fact, I hadn't used weed in nearly 18 years until it became legal in Arizona last March. I don't use it often. Typically, once or twice a month on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon or an occasional Friday night. I don't smoke it. I prefer taking it in edible form because I don't like the concept of any kind of smoke filling my lungs. I take it for the same reason I take another mind-altering substance, alcohol, to relax and get my mind off of anxiety-inducing things for a little bit.
I bought a tin of gummies legally for the first time last March. That first tin lasted me until June. When the original tin of ten 10-mg THC gummies ran out, I took advantage of a two-for-one special giving me 20 gummies which lasted until this past Saturday. Considering how long the last two packages lasted me, I decided to only buy one again this time. Of the new package, I've taken one gummy. There it is, a detailed documentation of my use of a schedule 1 narcotic as categorized by the DEA: 31 gummies, consisting of 310 mg of THC over the course of 13 months. I am currently in possession of a tin of nine gummies that would make me a criminal in my home state, North Dakota, unless I made up a medical reason and got a doctor to give me a card.
I will go out on a limb and say this probably isn't the stereotypical usage pattern people who think marijuana is a dangerous drug envision when they voice support for the current federal laws. I would also bet these people know others who would use pot as responsibly as I feel I do if it were legal in their states. It isn't dangerous or scary and there is no need for such a stigma to still exist. If discussing honestly, without shame, my use and experience with legal weed helps remove that stigma for anyone, then there is purpose for my writing.
What is your state's stance on marijuana legislation? Whether it is legal in your state or not, what is your personal stance on federal legislation? Leave a comment to let me know.
Searching for Purpose
Probably the most misunderstood part of my opening post was saying I felt "a general feeling of pointlessness". After several extremely uncomfortable conversations, I realized the way I intended this statement was waaaaaaaaaaaaaay different than the way it was interpreted. What I probably should have said was I didn't feel like I had a purpose in my life. To summarize:
"Life is pointless" = Scary statement, maybe you should be committed to a mental health facility.
"I don't feel like I have a purpose" = Oh, maybe you should get a hobby or something.
I don't feel like I've been doing things that are my life's purpose for the past few years. When I was working as a college counselor, I viewed my purpose as helping people with their education. Although my feelings about that job have changed in recent years, it still served as my purpose for nearly a decade. As a delivery driver, I don't look to my job to provide purpose, but I also haven't been looking outside of it either.
I believe there is a distinct difference between career and purpose. I'm not just going to wait until I start a new job to look for things that help me find purpose. This way if I fall into something I don't love doing, I won't continue to feel like I don't have purpose beyond my work.
Writing is something I love to do. When I get into a good rhythm I can do it and feel good about it for weeks at a time. It is also something I fall out of for months, sometimes years, at a time. I'm hoping starting this blog and sticking to less frequent posting schedule than I've done with my other blogs will help me stay engaged.
When writing topics dry up or writer's block sets in, I can't just let myself feel purposeless again. That's why I think I also need more hobbies. I write because I like to create. Unfortunately, I'm a terrible artist. I press way to hard when I use a pen/pencil. This seems like it should be easily correctable, but somehow in 38 years I've never managed to fix it. However, I do want to do something slightly artistic. A few weeks ago, I invested in a Dremel tool for woodcarving. The picture accompanying this post was my first carving project. I don't know why I'm drawn to carving. A few years ago, I bought a rotary tool to put some holes in a plastic bucket. Since then, I've just wanted to buy a better one and try my hand at carving.
I don't think creative hobbies are the only things that will help me find purpose. I'm not sure what else I'll do but I'm considering things like volunteering, maybe for an animal shelter or a food bank. Just like my plan for fixing my finances, I'm going to do some reading (actually listening) on the subject of finding purpose in life. My first audio book for this part of "solving life" is going to be:
Again, to clarify, my life is not "pointless". I just feel like a need to find my purpose(s). Mom, you can sleep at night without having to worry. I didn't start this blog to write about giving up. It is about finally trying to find my way rather than just hoping things will fall into place.
What things make you feel purposeful in life? Have you ever had to go through a time of searching for purpose? What books, tools, or tips helped you? Let me know in the comments.
"Bood' jay? I'm sorry I don't speak French. Oh, Budget! Still kinda foreign to me."
At some point in my life, someone taught me the concept of personal budgeting. Maybe it was one of my parents, or a teacher, or most likely both. They taught it to me. It made logical sense. Then, I proceeded to spend the first decade and a half of adulthood leaving that knowledge tucked deep in my brain while I wondered why I never seemed to have money.
As I attempt to turn my finances around, the book Broke Millennial has once again introduced me to the concept of personal budgeting. You know what? This time I'm actually going to put it to use rather than let it collect mental dust in my brain, probably next to the plot from an episode of Boy Meets World. The book introduced a few different budget tracking concepts. I plan on attempting the "Count Every Penny" strategy. My goal for this is to get a better understanding of where my money is going.
As I start counting every penny, I'm going to try using the Mint app for personal budgeting. I'm not sure if it will be detailed enough to track everything. There have already been a few things I noticed that could be difficult. For example, I pay my rent with a debit card that cannot be accessed by through Mint. Having such a large living expense unaccounted for by the app could reduce its usefulness. I expect I'll have to use the app as one tool and supplement it with maintaining my own budget spreadsheets.
From now until the end of April, my goal is just to get a grasp on where my money is going. By the time May rolls around, I'll set a monthly budget to follow. Preliminary info from Mint shows my spending breakdown as follows:
Based on this information from Mint, it is possible to surmise I am both broke and really boring. Look at that! I'm already learning something on the first day of budgeting.
Do you have any tools or techniques you use for personal budgeting? Are my percentages way out of whack from normal humans? Let me know in the comments!
Where I'm Starting
In my first post, I outlined 6 things I'm not happy with in my life right now: finances, health, romantic relationships, friendships, career, and lack of purpose. I believe improving all of these things will be important for living an enjoyable life. Although I intend to work on all six concurrently, I feel like it is important to put an emphasis on one area at a time. As I start out, I plan on focusing on fixing my finances first. This is the biggest stressor in my life so it is the thing I think can help the most proportionally.
It is also an extremely important time for me to focus on my financial situation. As I write this, I'm anticipating having to blow a major hole in my finances this week. I am a gig worker. I do food delivery for third-party delivery companies. I have two cars for work, a 2016 Kia Forte and a 2002 PT Cruiser. I prefer using the PT Cruiser for work to reduce the wear and tear on the newer of the two cars.
Having two cars has been really important for doing this work. When I had only one car, a day in the shop for repairs meant lost earnings along with repair bills so a $600 repair also came with $200 or so of lost earnings for every day I couldn't use the car. The drawback to the two-car system is when both cars need repairs at the same time. And that is where I'm at today.
I won't bore with the details, but both of my cars need repair work done. The Kia starts, then stalls, the restarts then stalls again usually in less than a mile. I really wish it didn't restart because I would guess it was an alternator issue. Alternators aren't cheap but at least I know what to expect. The PT has been overheating. I tried all the cheap fixes I could but didn't have any luck. When this has happened in other cars, it was usually the radiator fan. This time, I don't think I'm that "lucky" since it won't cool down when the car is moving. Like an alternator, a new radiator fan isn't cheap but at least I know what to expect. It's the whole devil-you-know versus the devil-you-don't thing. I'd rather know what to expect in costs instead of potentially getting caught off-guard by something major.
I know openly discussing finances is the second taboo I've broken within the first three posts on this site. I plan on breaking this taboo a lot. There is such a stigma around finances, most people would rather discuss intimate details of their sex life before admitting their credit score. Mine is 634 or 581 depending on which credit card or bank report I rely on. According to the two sources they are both FICO scores also which is extremely confusing to me. I'm sure there is a reason for two vastly different FICO scores, but honestly, I've never been interested in personal finance so I pretty much just refused to learn even the basics.
This is where I start, I have spent years just kicking the can of my finances down the road and hoping by some stroke of luck it would all clear itself up. After roughly 15 years of spiraling further out of control, it is time to take accountability and stop thinking it will get fixed through no effort on my part. Today, I take responsibility for not being able to cover my car repairs without doing major damage to my savings. I want to learn to take control of my finances so the next repair won't hurt my wallet nearly as bad as this one will.
The first step I'm going to take toward improving my finances is turning to books on the topic. I'm not going to be reading the "become a millionaire" self-help stuff, just basic personal finance tips, tricks, and strategies. For my first book I've chosen:
If you have any personal finance books you would recommend please tell me about them in the comments.
Clearing some things up
I guess my last post has been slightly misunderstood. So let me clear it up a little before I move on to the rest of the intent of this blog. Yes, I do feel like my life sucks right now. I know there are a lot of people who have it way worse. The first post was a STARTING POINT not a cry for help. I hope writing about these things openly and honestly will give me an opportunity to analyze the mistakes I'm making and do better in the future.
My goal for this site is to tell the story of tackling these things one problem at a time and trying to get myself in a better position. I didn't write the last thing to make people feel sorry for me. I wrote it because I want to look back at it some day and feel like I've come a long way. As the Author thing on the side of the page (or bottom if you're on a phone) says I'm "on a quest to move [my] life along a scale from completely sucking to sucking slightly less to potentially sucking very little. [I'm not] really sure how [I'll] do this, but maybe writing about it will help."
I hate that being honest about things is interpreted by some as bad or shameful. I do not believe the best way to get through life is to plaster on a smile, say everything is always great, and take pictures for The Gram. I know this doesn't make sense to everyone. I know it might not be the way others would handle these feelings. But it is my way and I'm not embarrassed to express my feelings.
This was not my original plan for the second post. I was going to do the exact same "honest accounting" of the good things in my life. However, since I made some people nervous I figured I better clear the last post up a little. I'm sorry to anyone who was concerned by what I said. I plan on using this website to talk about steps I'm taking to improve my life, not as a place to bitch about how bad I've got it. Please bare with me and don't jump to conclusions based on any one thing I write.
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.
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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