Now let's make sure, that this time, this never happens again.
--Dante Hicks, Clerks cartoon
Over the weekend I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who is having some major "life" issues. I don't remember if this was about a possible relationship, a job concern or something else, but I told him in a serious/sarcastic voice, "Do what I do: avoid life!" Then I started thinking about how mentally tied-up I am. I tried to understand why this is the way it is.
I'll say this flat out: I don't like making mistakes or doing something that I'll later regret. Making mistakes is what got me fussed at for most of the my life from a variety of sources. Because I made a "careless" mistake, that would make me regret why I even made the decision in the first place. Now I feel like it's difficult to make decisions beyond what clothes I'm going to wear, what food I'm going to eat and when I'll do laundry. Why? Because I want to avoid the unpleasantries of life in hopes of having conflict-free life.
This all may sound like pure silliness, but this is something I struggle with daily. If I don't have to be anywhere on a day off, I'll just stay at home and do a mixture of writing, reading and watching a DVD or two. I know people may think that's a charmed schedule to work a few days and have the whole rest of the week off, but it's not the greatest. I work very hard during the week with writing the book and searching for a new job, so when I work on the weekends, the free time feels very condensed. I appreciate the time I have to work on the book and write other stuff, but it feels like the default activity when nothing else is going on.
I have this negative image in my head of someone wasting his or her life away by living a life of pure laziness. I'm talking lying on the couch for days, eating junk food, yelling at Fox News and posting asinine comments on message boards. There is no harm in general relaxation, but living this mentally and physically sedentary lifestyle just doesn't work for me.
Yet "life" issues for post-education young adults seem incredibly daunting. Trying to construct a life of my own is difficult when I see older people stuck in traps (like bad marriages, bad jobs, health problems and so on). For those of us that see only the end result, I think it's natural to want to avoid anything that could lead to a bad situation. Taking such avoidance to an extreme, there's this "missing out" feeling that rears its head from time to time. What if the path to some possible bad situations is the same path that could lead to great or even better situations? Walking and staying on that path isn't easy.
Feeling this way and talking about it sounds rather whiny and melodramatic, but I get the sense that a lot of people feel this way at some point in their lives. Why I talk about it is because this is a part of the phase of growing up after we're supposedly all grown up. We grow everyday, but it doesn't seem like that when we're doing versus reflecting.