Once you realized that everything in life, all the rules, all the technology, and all of the great things that you admire were created by people that were no smarter than yourself – you realize – you can do anything.
I think probably the best days of my life were spent doing menial tasks, but with complete freedom. For example, in college I had several jobs. I did some free lance web design and even some tutoring, but my main job was as a cook. I spent at least 4 hours a day back there behind a hot flat top making orders as fast as my arms would allow me. It was hot as hell, the work wasn’t glamorous, and I doubt anyone could care less who was back in the kitchen making their perfectly prepared meal.
Those days were great though. I barely made any money, but I had all the freedom in the world. I would get off work, take a shower, and head to the gym or to go grab a beer with friends. The other guys I worked with back in that kitchen were great too. We would sit back there for hours a day, but the time flew by because we were busy – and keeping each other entertained. Later I became a manager at that same establishment, but I would still return to the kitchen during a rush just to get a piece of the action. I never minded the labor, the repetition, and some strange since of satisfaction from seeing the results of my labors right there in front of me.
Today, I have a job most would argue is “more important”. I guess I work for more expensive clients and a mistake would cost people a lot more money, but sometimes I don’t think that I get one ounce of satisfaction out of it compared to the days of my kitchen existence. Honestly, some days I just sit at the computer and do work that I doubt will really add much value to the company. I know what I am doing is necessary, but damn I do miss the days of seeing my finished product right in front of me. These days – sometimes – I don’t even feel like doing what I do.
This job gives me security though. If I stayed with this company, making great money, I could literally retire by 35 if I wanted to. I could pay my house off in the next 5 years. I get offers for interviews almost every week. What I do is really in demand – even in the rough economy. Sadly, I am fairly sure it is not what I want to do for the rest of my life.
What I really want to do is one of two things: own my own business or travel and write. I want to open a restaurant or start my own business consulting firm. Something about working for yourself just provides unlimited satisfaction in my opinion. I just have to work up the security and balls to drop everything and make the leap. Give up security, give up insurance, give up a nice paycheck – all to pursue a dream. Hell, its what I talk about doing all the time, but putting those thoughts into action is a lot harder than just saying it.
I’ll put my time in. Make a plan. Build a security net. But I realize that doing those things can take forever, so eventually I’ll have to make the leap and do it while I still have the fire inside myself to do it. I keep reminding myself that this is the only chance I have to live my life – so everyday I spend wasting it on a false since of security is a wasted day. The time for action was yesterday – I have to really think about what I want out of life and do it. Now is the time.
Yesterday one of my wife’s best friends came over to the house. She recently had a baby, who is one of the cutest babies I have ever see. Like one of those babies that doesn’t look like a baby, but rather an old man trapped in a newborn’s body… Anyways, we have known her friend sense high school and she used to be beautiful and fit. Now she looks horrible. She gained about 40lbs and looked like life just knocked the shit out of her for 9 months and then took a giant dump on top of top of her formally fit body.
I mean I know that pregnancy takes a major toll on a woman’s body – I mean you have another person living off of your resources for nine months, but damn – I really do not want to see my wife go down hill like that! THAT is the least of my worries though. I could care less if my wife gained a few pounds, really.
The worst of it was that she is miserable. I can see it all over her face. The way she talks about things she planned on doing or wanted to do, but now can’t. She and her “baby-daddy” aren’t doing to well financially either, so I imagine that is a great burden. I know that my experience would differ if I were to wait until later in life to have children – I mean I am already more financially stable than they are and given time I could “sew my wild oats” for travel and life adventure, but I can’t really EVER see myself wanting children. I mean if my wife was to get pregnant accidentally I would embrace it and LOVE it, but purposely getting her prego isn’t something I think I want to do.
My best friend is in the same situation. He is a little older and mature, but a man after my own heart. He too, is miserable. He wants to travel, have free time, and have adventures, but can’t. It’s like a prison and I can see it written all over his face. He is also frustrated with his wife who has gained weight and stopped “trying” to look beautiful since pregnancy. She too seems miserable. She’s like a caged dog begging to break free anytime she has the chance. Very few couples seem genuinely happier after child birth.
I’m not bashing every couple’s decision to have a baby here. Not at all! I’m just saying that pressure from society to have children is kind of well, retarded. Why does me and my wife HAVE TO have children? I know that she feels the pressure more than I do – she was taught since childhood she was going to grow up, get married, and pop out babies. I mean, she’s Catholic – that’s almost like Mormons when it comes to having babies! I’ve even heard people criticize the decision as anit-religious (which bothers my wife much more than me). I’d almost rather adopt a child that REALLY needs a home over having one of my own…
Anyways, I know my chances of actually oneday producing an offspring are high as my wife and I have sex often and that is what happens when you have sex, but one thing is for sure – I want to wait. A long, long time. Don’t give me this shit about women’s uterus’s drying up either. My mother-in-law’s 42 year old friend just had her first child (by accident). I want to travel, educate myself, and do everything in life I ever wanted to do before even thinking about having a child. I think it’s more healthy that way anyways. I’m tired of seeing these kids have kids.
I want to be mature in my thought, know myself, financially able, and ready to teach this child and prepare them for the world they are about to enter. I don’t want to find myself trapped by a child before I am ready. Anyone who is truly ready early, I praise them – but for me – I want to live my life so fully that when I die I can say – yep I can go easy. Part of that life plan might include a child, but I’m in no rush and I think I’ll be all the better for it in the end.
I just got a message from one of my good friends, a room mate in college, who says he is moving to New York City in September. He is going to work on wall street. I have to admit that I am kind of jealous. I spent 10 days in NYC last July and it is probably my favorite city. It’s true when they say “there is no city like New York City”.
On the other hand I have been reading a lot of blogs, books, and doing a lot of thinking about the “zen” lifestyle. The parts that have really been hitting home with me are about the “minimalist” and “appreciating what you have” way of thinking. I mean if I were to live in NYC it would be very easy to get caught up in the rat race that is Manhattan and truly lose “myself”. I doubt that moving to NYC and working on wall street would really make me happy in the long run – or maybe even in the short run.
I guess my point is – self evaluation. Making a decision about what really makes me happy. What makes me content. How I can thrive. Sometimes I seriously think about selling everything I own, quitting my job, and just traveling. Working odd jobs to make ends meet and just walking the earth for a while. Kind of like a journey of self discovery and understanding. However, when the reality sits in and I find myself with nothing – I wonder how I would feel. None of this really matters anyways – I own a home and have a wife who would never want to do such a thing, I think.
There are other way to experience the world and work on self discovery rather than dropping everything and leaving. I guess it wouldn’t have to be that radical. I mean right now I have been traveling as much as possible and writing – both of which has helped me learn a lot about myself – even if no one reads a word of this. (which they probably won’t)
The key to reaching any goal is to know what you are shooting for and honestly I don’t know what I’m even aiming for. I know what the status quo tells me to do, but somehow I don’t think those rules where written for me, I don’t think I fit in that box, no perfectly at least. I guess that is kind of what “growing up” as a person is all about – deciding what to do with yourself. I suppose I should just be thankful I can worry about such things and my basic needs are well taken care of. I could be worrying about where my next meal would come from instead.
For now, I’m just gonna try to appreciate the little things and explore when I can. If I keep doing the big things right - hopefully I will figure things out myself and eventually know exactly what I’m shooting for – and get it.