There is a shift taking place in societal norms. The traditional “American Dream” simply does not suit some of us and we are forced to prioritize our happiness above all else. There is no room for negotiation when it comes to happiness.
We are all better when we are balanced. The world as we have made it is completely out of balance. I accept responsibility for my portion of the imbalance, and strive to correct course.
The past couple years have been a once-in-a-lifetime catalyst. It is up to us to recognize the signals, stop, and evaluate who we are and where we are headed.
I officially resign from life as I knew it. I choose happiness and will allow that to be my metric for all future endeavors.
The date of my last post is a lesson in the power of retrospect. It was later that day, the next morning really, that my dad suffered a major stroke and began what is now almost 2 months of hospital stay. What has happened since then has been a complete whirlwind and I am honestly still reeling from the sheer magnitude of it all.
I’ve spent much of the past two months evaluating who I am in this space in time. Some of the information I’ve discovered is revelatory, some is like so much waste; to be discarded. It has been illuminating.
The insurmountable disdain I have for my current occupation and the track it places me on has become an idea of almost daily contemplation. Rare is the day which I don’t spend hours of unproductive time ruminating on this. But it isn’t all doom and gloom…
There is no stronger catalyst than having a close family member almost die. This has a way of pushing things from the periphery to center focus. Don’t I deserve to do something I love instead of what is expected of me from the world? It’s a ridiculous question to pose out loud but it seems equally ridiculous to ponder something so selfish on the face. My father is fighting just to stay alive and I am worried about my happiness.
An old axiom immediately throws itself at me, though: If I don’t take care of myself, then how can I take care of anyone else?
There is no short answer to that question, I’ve searched.
All of this to say that what makes me happiest is to ponder upon my observations of the world. Often these observations spill out here, or onto a written page, or through my body onto a different medium. Every time they do, I spy a glimpse of who I really am. Although these moments are fleeting, they possess that which is truly elusive for me: true happiness.
Words are my calling, if only I could pick up the damn phone.
Another idea for something to write has come into singular focus and I have decided to pull on the threads it has revealed. It may unravel in my hands or surprise me with what is underneath. In any case, I need to use my time outside of work to see what my mind can put together.
There is this image I possess of myself that is one of a creative person, but that image loses focus with the day’s work. Before I know what has happened, another day has passed and I chalk it up to “some day”. Today is some day and I have the time. Nothing could be more important.
The freedom I feel today is hard to describe. After three and a half years of diligence and no shortage of luck, a decades old debt has been eliminated. Gone are the days of planning an entire month of expenses around how I will tend to this obligation. The business has been hard pressed to turn any kind of profit with this ever present burden and now it is gone.
It has me considering what this business could actually accomplish free of the constraints of debt. These are considerations that I’m not sure I have ever been able to make until now. This is a wonderful feeling. It makes me actually look forward to the coming year, and the elimination of further debts. The next items on the list are much smaller and manageable. They have much less of the crush that this one did.
Breathing is wonderful.
There have been some unexpected peaks and valleys in my emotional landscape over the past few weeks. As discussed in a previous post, the end of a decade long struggle with a business debt gives me a renewed sense of vigor toward what is coming. The flip side of that has been a nagging reminder that I am no closer to finding a real passion and/or calling for myself.
The time I have had to devote to the business and the unbalanced toll it takes on my non-work life has become entirely too much. There is a disproportionate part of my self-worth tied up in a business that will give me a modest, albeit honest living. Every day I come home, I struggle to divest myself of these trappings when I walk through the door. Even now, on a supposed day off, what comes next is invading most of my thoughts.
Lest I sound like a whiny little bitch I will highlight that I am able to live in relative comfort and I report to no one except myself. But the reporting is never ending. Checking in with myself and making sure I am invested enough in this business is 24/7, 365. When I feel like I’m not doing enough, I drag myself straight through the mud.
But in confirmation of my expectations, mercifully, a decade old debt will be eliminated at the end of this month. That provides a mile marker that I haven’t seen in years. And that gives me some clarity, even if it is fleeting.
For the better part of four years I have focused a great deal of my attention on the elimination of a debt for the business I am charged with operating. This is a debt which took a decade or more to incur, one which took away entire days of my life with thought, planning, and execution. Through my concerted, often dogged efforts, the debt has been brought within striking distance.
As of January 1, 2022 this seemingly endless debt will be officially cleared. The overwhelming sense of relief that is forthcoming has already begun to wash over me. There is grand feeling of accomplishment when you see the finish line of a grueling march. With this feeling comes a serenity of knowing that I will never be again be flattened by this debt and the weight that it bore upon me. Never again will my sense of self worth be tied to whether or not I attended to this obligation.
This is a prime opportunity to take stock of this accomplishment and to extend my sincerest gratitude to all of the players involved who faithfully honored their contracts and payment arrangements. All of those people who aided me in orchestrating this years long attack on debt. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Without all of your efforts this goal might never have been possible. You have an ally in me for life, for whatever that may be worth.
Today’s smile is genuine and unforced. 2022 promises to bring more of them. Let’s go there and see what kind of greatness is in store.
There has been an incessant voice in my head for as long as I can remember that has told me to keep moving. Keep trying to find that certain something that will feel like purpose, the fundamental thing that drives my life. This has given me ample opportunities to try my hand at a million different things with varying degrees of success but none of them so far has felt like the one.
Am I missing the point of the whole thing by constantly searching? Does this rob me of my availability to be present in every moment? These are the questions that come up every day in my mind. These are the thoughts that are responsible for how I operate on a daily basis and I don’t feel as though they are always my own. They feel like automation to some degree, and that is a frustrating feeling.
The first voice every morning is one saying to search. The voice offers no advice as to which direction I should be facing with this search, just that it should continue in every waking hour until satisfaction is achieved. Thus far the satisfaction has been either painfully brief or completely out of reach. Both scenarios leave me wondering if there is something fundamentally misplaced in my mind and heart. Figuring this out requires a different form of searching, a deep dive as opposed to a broad casing.
Writing of this now engages the broad search and it makes me want to create lists, set priorities, and go. So for now, head down and grind. Keep pushing. Rest, revise, repeat.
It is Thanksgiving in the States today.
The one aspect of this day that holds is an open expression of gratitude for all of the good things we have. In my case, it is a near daily sense of gratitude for being able to work with family and make my own way in the world. Gratitude in the unbelievable fortune of being with someone that I love and that returns it more than I could ever dream of. I live in a place and time where I have all of the first world comforts a person could want and then some. There is never a day I worry about having a roof over my head, food to eat, or enough to drink. In many ways, I am spoiled to my core.
There will always be an abundance by comparison, and I’m forever grateful for that.
It’s always a strange week for those of us in the States who have Thanksgiving as a holiday. On a Thursday.
It is a hold over from our early times, from before we were even really a country yet, but it doesn’t stop us from ruining the better part of a week in the name of forced interaction with people you seldom see. It’s also a perfectly legit excuse to get middle of the week wasted the night before Thanksgiving.
This year is slightly different in my circle of humans. There isn’t really much of a plan on Thanksgiving but we are going to host friends on another coveted American “not really a holiday holiday” Black Friday. That is a much better use of our time and money, as none of us are really shoppers anyway. It is certainly nice to be able to look forward to something when I know winter is knocking at the door within a month. The doldrums have set in and I can feel them early, but I’m doing my level best to essentially distract myself from the months ahead.
This space is a lovely form of distraction. I’m thankful to have it, and a family and friends who will help me through.
Cheers to them all.
Walked out this morning to a howling wind while it was still basically dark outside. The woes are nigh-daily and it is as important as always to manufacture my own sunshine where possible. Vitamin D does well to help with some of these woes but it isn’t/won’t be enough.
Another year in the Midwest but I knew it was coming. Hang on tight, lest you get blown away. Only another 4 or 5 months til the sun comes back out.