Tuesday, September 26, 2006


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.

1 comment:

Random Kath said...

Did we have the same childhood? I know totally what you are talking about - the first 25 years of my life were spent mostly cloistered in various rooms and apartments, reading and watching TV by myself - occasionally going to the movies and going out with co-workers, but nothing too involved.

But you know what - after a while, it got kind of, well, lonely and boring. I just suddenly felt the need to start connecting with the world at large. So I started doing community stuff and putting myself out there, and then I did the worst/best thing I could possibly do - had a one year relationship with an absolute, borderline abusive jerk. That kind of experience tends to wake you up as to what you want out of life . . .

I don't really regret the risk I took, since if I didn't go through it, I wouldn't have appreciated Mr. Random so much when he came along or any of the other things in my life that were actually working . . .

Wait, I feel like I'm babbling again . . . I was just trying to say that, yes, I've been there too, and that you feel this way now is the first step to finally wanting to take a few big risks which will lead you to where you want to be. Making huge mistakes really suck, and I'm as big a perfectionist as they come, but as the saying goes, "To make an omlet, you have to break a few eggs."

Thank you for sharing these thoughts, because you are totally not alone on this - I still struggle with it quite a bit . . . old habits die hard . . .