And I am, once again, not happy.

I think at this point I have to acknowledge the pattern – I get unhappy when I go back to work.  I honestly don’t think it’s the work itself. On the whole, I like my work.  But I seem to enter a different mental mode when I’m working.  On weekends, and especially on holidays, I’m off in some vaguely irresponsible la-la land.  When I’m working I find myself thinking constantly of all the responsibilities I have, all the things I have to do.  I become jealous of the precious few hours of free time my work schedule allows me.  I worry about money, and how much longer my car will last without expensive service, and bills.  I think about how how holidays and birthdays and other events keep rushing up at me, with me ill-prepared.  Basically, working makes me acutely conscious of my irresponsibility.

I’m 24 years old.  I have maybe 35 years of active life left, if I’m lucky.  I don’t have a college degree or even a diploma.  I don’t have a pilot’s license. I’ve visited only two foreign countries.  I can’t ride a horse or shoot a gun with any proficiency.  I’ve never changed my own oil.  I’ve never contributed anything back to the open-source community.  I can play a few chords on the guitar, but I can’t play the piano and I don’t know music theory.  I don’t know art, I don’t know wine, I’ve forgotten most of what I know about coffee, and I can’t waltz, tango, or swingdance.  I can’t defend myself in a tight spot.  I’ll probably never get a chance, at this point, to act on stage.  I want to own a house in the mountains but I can’t take care of the one I’m renting.  I’m an uncreative and uninspired lovemaker.  I don’t have the resources to provide the upbringing I intended for my [step]children.   I know in some ways I’m more a father than their biological father is – but I still feel I’m acting the part of mom’s boyfriend more than stepdad.  I’m religiously confused.  I don’t know what I want out of life.  And my wardrove sucks.

Ins short:  I used to be ahead of the curve.  Now I’m behind it.  I know it’s not because I’m incapable of all those things.  I’m smart, talented, and a quick study.  What I lack, as always, is motivation and self-discipline.  I can’t settle on exactly what I want out of life, and even where I’m pretty sure what I want, I’m unable to create and stick to a plan of action.  In addition, I am paralyzed by fear of some things.  College, in particular.  It’s difficult to explain why.  But the intimidation I feel from institutions of higher education is palpable.  Odd, considering I was going to community college at 16.  In general, I’m intimidated by any large endeavour.  It’s like the feeling you get in dreams, where you want to move, or just open your eyes, but you just…can’t…do…it. 

I’m not looking for sympathy with this post.  I don’t need to be reassured that I’m doing well and I have plenty of time ahead of me.  What I WOULD like is to hear, from those of you who have accomplished at least some of your goals in life, how you managed to do it?  What strategies do you use to defeat apathy and make yourself stick to a plan of action?  How do you get over the intimidation of not knowing where to even begin?

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  1. What I WOULD like is to hear, from those of you who have accomplished at least some of your goals in life, how you managed to do it?

    Pure, unadulterated stubbornness. And accepting support even when my own pride cringles and rails against it.

  2. What I WOULD like is to hear, from those of you who have accomplished at least some of your goals in life, how you managed to do it.

    Dear Avdi, as you know, I am a competitive person by nature. Imbued with learning disabilities, and told constantly that I would never amount to anything but “a stupid secretary, or a waitress”, this provided the fuel that I needed to go out and prove myself. Yes, at first the desire to succeed was built upon a desire to go out and nail the naysayers’ b*lls to the wall, but this was the Machiavellian impetus that I needed. Sometimes it is all about wanting to be better than one’s “oppressors” that can drive you. Not saying it works for everyone, but that’s what does it for me.

    1. Maybe I would have done better if I’d had a few naysayers, instead of being surrounded by people who assured me I’d go far…

      1. Maybe so. The most driven people I’ve met are those whose early lives were surrounded by putdowns and persecution. Oddly enough, I can be thankful for those sort of circumstances, because they made me who I am today.

        1. I have to agree here…

          My mother was always one to say.. “brains are a dime a dozen–so you’re nothing special” right as I gave her the 6th report card in a row with straight A’s… When I graduated from high school as 4th out of 625, had a grade point average above what was possible getting Straight A’s with honors credit (because of AP classes) and had 42 hours of college credit going into University of Illinois–her main statement was not “I’m proud of you..” but rather.. “Why weren’t you higher up in your class and why didn’t you take AP European History–it would have gotten you more college credit..”

          Because of this kind of thing–which occurred in most facets of my life–I knew early on that I wanted to be successful enough that I wouldn’t have to ever depend on this bitch–and for me, that meant tackling the big tasks…

          At the moment, I am facing a huge task–my dissertation–and I am struggling to stay focussed, but I know that I can do it, and that I must do it–because to turn back after all this effort would be a waste–and the reward is too worthwhile..

          Then again–I’m a pretty driven individual.. and always have been.. I have never had problems with depression.. I have an inner demon/engine/taskmaster who pushes me when I don’t want to do stuff..

          I don’t know if this little monologue will help at all.. but take it for what you think it’s worth…

      2. Avdi you suck, you’ll never amount to anything, your lazy, incompetant and incapable of achieving your dreams…

        Now get out there and prove me wrong!



  3. One thing you have to do is not have to many goals at once. Soemthing that I struggle with is that You can only pursue so many things at one time. I have a lot of talents and I’d like to be proficient in many things, but the truth is I can’t. Maybe some people could but I don’t have that much motivation and desire. Right now I’m doing one thing. I’m getting through college. That is my number on goal and everything else is second. Not because I like college so much but because I’ve decided that that’s what I want to do and that that is what is going to help me complete other goals, but right now this is thegoal I have to complete first. I refer back to that goal whenever I wonder what I should be doing with my life. I hope that along the way I can become more serious about photography as well, but if not there will be time after I graduate. I can’t play the piano either and I took lessons for two years. I’m actually planning to take some music theory next semester or so.
    Incidently if you want to learn how to change your oil feel free to bring your car over next time it needs to be changed and I’d be more than happy to show you how, Subarus are a snap to change oil in.

    1. “Incidently if you want to learn how to change your oil feel free to bring your car over next time it needs to be changed and I’d be more than happy to show you how”
      [[[me too… *chuckle* ]]]

      See Avdi…we are both different and very much alike. Neither one of us knows how to change oil but we can both change motherboards. Likewise, we are different, you are slender I am strong like Ox and smart like Bull.


    2. I agree. Pick your goals. I have short-term goals (keep checking account balanced) and long-term goals (retire from work that I *have* to do and do work that I *want* to do).

      I also eat vegetables more than in the past. Vegetables seem to help me.

      I work out. It reduces stress.

      Therapy has helped me.

      All of these things are the results of many experiments. Your ‘recipe’ may be very different from mine. Try things, see what helps, and use it. Every so often, review what you’re doing and see if it still makes sense.

      But this advice is probably not a surprise.

  4. I realized this week that when I receive money I pay the bills as far in advance as I can and savor the rest because I don’t believe we will have enough to cover us again anytime soon, though we of course always do. Because I grew up eating from the food bank and my parents constantly stressed out about which bill to set aside for later, I seem to be rebuilding that pattern in my life. Mike has always had money and was raised by entrepreneurs and wise money handlers. He saves a bit, spends some on himself (and forces me to do the same) and pays what is needed at the time. He always finds a creative way to get more, because money isn’t a safety net its a life of its own. If I may…God provided manna for each day and told his people to not save it or it will spoil because he will provide for us each day what we truly need. Venturing out with new ambitions has been such an awakening. I have learned to let go and to know the worst could happen and I would be OK because I have my family. I can feel like a kid again because snuggling with them does refill me and I am able to face each day. My simple plan of action is to learn to deal with the surprises life throws me with enthusiasm. Goals are not safe- they are scary- they mean you have to take major risks, endure setbacks, lose what you may think is precious, only to find something so much more worthwhile around the corner. You gain enemies, you are forced to fight, and you learn how to win. I hate this time because it is uncomfortable, but I am learning and evolving into something I hardly recognize. And not knowing where to begin is good- because as soon as you decide to take a step your path appears little by little around you if you keep your eye on that goal or at least a vague idea of what you would like to accomplish.

  5. I’m 28 years old. I have maybe 22 years of active life left, if I’m lucky. I only have an associates degree after 5 yrs worth of college credits. I don’t have a pilot’s license. Nor my nautical Captain’s license. I’ve visited only two foreign countries. (Baja Mexico and Bermuda…and I spent all of my time in Bermuda sitting on a duffle bag in a parking lot and sailed away the next morning.) I can’t ride a horse or shoot a gun with any proficiency. I’ve never changed my own oil. (Not sure if this is a bad thing.) I’ve never contributed anything back to the open-source community. I can play a few chords on the guitar, and a few notes on my three violins but I can’t play either of them well enough to pass for a 3rd grader. Not only do I not know music theory but I’ve got no rythm. I don’t know art, but I am learning a bit about wine. I’ve never known much about coffee other than Willoughby’s = good and Dunkin Donuts = bleh. I can’t waltz, tango, or swingdance and i’ve had few opportunities to even slow dance. I can defend myself in a tight spot and perhaps better now than a year ago…but I will still get in trouble even if I walk away. I’ll probably never get a chance, at this point, to act on stage nor play Tevye in a Fiddler on the Roof production. I own a house but it’s often more pain than it’s worth and it doesn’t have a garage which I need. And it’s old, rickety, and constant in need of fixing. I’m might be a creative and inspired lovemaker but i really don’t know. In truth, my sexual prime is almost over and i’ve not even done the deed. On a good note I am less religiously confused than i’ve been in a while and once again at peace with God and that is a beautiful thing. I know what I want in life but I just can’t seem to find it.

    You may be in a somewhat different place than I but you are not alone. I’m not too far away from you in many regards, and in those regards you are closer to others. You are between me and they. And I am between you and them.


    Perhaps I’ll see you two again when I come down to Baltimore this weekend to pursue the favor of Ms. Parsley.

    Jason “The Saj” friend of Avdi the Aphid

  6. When things were hard and I couldn’t see “up” because Mom was paying half rent and I was on food stamps and WIC, and was a single mom to boot, I decided I wouldn’t stay that way for long.

    During my day job (data entry clerk) I taught myself to design web pages (with the help of a certain ). I think around that time I had caught wind of the company talking about starting up an intranet. The new skills I taught myself were enough to win me a job that doubled my income and got me off federal and familial aid.

    I think it takes, for some (me!), dire need.

  7. I’m sort of a passerby here (through razerwolfe). I’m not trying to be a jerk here, but your entry shows that you focus greatly on the things you don’t have or can’t do. What about those things you do have and can do? A serious focus shift is needed here, it seems. If you agree, it would be helpful if you literally sat with a pen & paper and listed those things out. Those things you have and can do didn’t come by themselves, did they? They took effort, which means it took how many failures before success was achieved? Ambition can only come from within, so if it’s something you lack, I’d suggest starting with small goals. Afterall, if you have no goals at all, then any road will do. With goals, certain roads must be taken to achieve them. But it has to be something you want, not just something you make up for the heck of it.

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