Feb 11 2010

Chapter 9: Working Class Pups!

Feeling the urge to be a more productive part of society, Gray & Nameless set a goal to join the workforce!

Feb 14 2009

Status: Not Complicated

I am not a co' ho'.

I am not a co’ ho’.

Raise your hand if you’re tired of people old enough to know a thing or two by now (and I’m talking to you, my fellow aging Gen Xers) complaining, lamenting, wondering: “how did I get here?” Not just in terms of their relationship, but their life: career, income, self-fulfillment. I used to do the same. But at some point, increasingly I’d ask that question of myself (rather than of a friend, rhetorically, over my second double macchiato, as was my way in the past). And when I asked it of myself, I actually required of myself an answer. And it hit me:  Because that’s what I’ve chosen. Wealth and a relationship and self-worth cannot be had if the price is feeling trapped. Compromise? Of course. Frustration? A given. But trapped: never, ever again. Not in a job, not in a relationship, nowhere. Let freedom reign.

I’m smart. So why am I not Wealthy? Married? Satisfied? Sometimes I need to remind myself, to be quite honest.

Why am I not wealthy?
Because I chose to walk away from a lucrative corporate gig a long time ago. It paid well but I was miserable. I felt trapped. The good definitely did not outweigh the bad – no amount of money is worth feeling trapped, not to me. So I walked. I could quite easily have more money. There are lots of ways right outside my door I could easily earn a great income with lots of benefits. Perhaps I’ll find one that fits well and doesn’t feel come with that “trapped” feeling. In the meantime, I know exactly how I want to live my life, what I want to do with it: and it can pay off. It’s a longshot, I know. And that’s okay. I’m doing okay. It’s 100% worth the tradeoff. I’m loving every minute spent trying. This is an adventure.

Why am I not married? Again, I chose to not remain married. I loved being married. I loved him, he loved me; we still love each other. But Dave Mason said it best: “There ain’t no good guys. There ain’t no bad guys. There’s only you and me and we just disagree.” And if you spend your life together in disagreement, it’s not good for either party. It felt like another trap: one I’d built around myself. Some people stay with the wrong person for fear of ending up alone, or for the kids, or because they loathe the confrontation/battle of divorce, so they take the lifelong path of least resistance. It’s up to you: risk being alone for the right reasons or with someone for the wrong ones. And that is for no one to decide or judge but you.

Climb Me.

Climb Me.

Why am I not satisfied? I choose — no in this case, I’ll always need — to ameliorate. Because I like the act of striving, pushing myself, wanting to accomplish more, improving myself. I’ve been satisfied many times, and to great degrees. I just don’t remain satisfied for very long. Show me a mountain and I have to climb it. And there’s always a mountain to climb. I like the climb as much as the view from the top. And I mean that literally, not metaphorically. But you can do what you want with that mountain and that metaphor.

Self pity, tear down this wall!

I wonder if he's satisfied.

I wonder if he’s satisfied.

But let’s talk about you now, my fellow aging Gen Xers, who are still stuck on the “why me?” loop. Most of you are fiercely smart. Too smart for your own good. It was great currency in your 20s, when having a low-paying job with cool cred was hot. Or you were working a McJob until your big break, when your indie-alt-grunge band “Carpet Picnic” (or whatever genius name it was then) was discovered, signed to Sub Pop, and changed the face of rock forever. Or you were working to Save The Children (or The World, or The Peppered Moth) in a non-profit organization — which made you a good person. Fine and dandy.

But we’re 15, 20 years on, guys. You didn’t go into it for the money then. And you stuck with it. So why, oh why are you whining that there’s no money now? “How did I get here?” “How did this happen?” Answer: Because it’s what you chose. You could change it any second. Get a broker’s degree. Go into pharmaceutical sales. Not into selling out? Write the next blockbuster movie franchise that elevates the genre into the category of  “art”. Just do something, anything, different. Differently. Or own it, take pride, be the best you can be at it. Or… choose to stop complaining. It’s only your life we’re talking about after all. Just how much of it do you want to spend complaining, regretting, lamenting – and annoying everyone around you in the process (while you still have their attention, that is)?

Sure, there are some circumstances we definitely do not choose. Death of loved ones, layoffs at work, and other’s behavior all come to mind. But whether we stay vs. go? Choice. To listen vs. ignore? Choice. Accept vs. change? Choice. Path of least resistance (and often, least reward) vs. challenge? Big choice. Big choice. Choose wisely.