Thursday, February 23, 2017

While You're Making Other Plans

I'm not sure I ever had a plan for my life. I can't tell you what, as a child, I wanted to be when I grew up as it changed from week to week, sometimes day to day. Heck, I still don't know. No, there was no plan, but there were expectations.

Whether my expectations were set by observing my parents and their friends or by society and the media I really can't say. But I'm almost 50 years old now and I'm not where I expected to be.

I expected I would be married and have a deep, deep passion for my "soul mate." I love my wife, whom I've been married to more than half my life now (27 years this year), and will love her deeply until I draw my dying breath but there seems to be a piece of that puzzle that either doesn't quite fit or is from a different picture.

I expected I would have children. This is something that has contributed to many existential crises as I get older. I see my friends doting on their children and now their grandchildren. My heart aches and regret swells.

I expected I would know more. This is more one of perception. I am aware that I have knowledge that many are ignorant of and that I am ignorant of many things that others have knowledge of. I do not aspire to be the smartest person in the room - several others took up that mantle long ago - but  I hunger to understand more of the things I do know and wonder what I am missing.

I expected I would be better compensated. Many reading this probably had this same expectation. I saw people in TV shows and real-life who seemed to constantly move forward in their careers. All I ever seem to do is move sideways and when I do move forward it's either so big a leap that I can't handle it or it's into something far, far worse than where I am.

With so many expectations, whether realistic or fantastic, having outcomes that I would consider not toward the positive, is it any wonder I suffer from depression? Or is it the depression that makes me feel that my expectations haven't been met?

I've read enough business success and self-help books to know that I really need to shape my own destiny. The problem is that my destiny is a giant lump of drab, gray modeling clay sitting on the table before me that I have no earthly idea how to shape. It's not that I don't understand the mechanics of shaping it or that I don't feel I have the skill. The skill really doesn't matter as it can be refined over time. What I don't have is a vision. Will it be a human figure(ine)? What about something utilitarian like a cell phone stand? Maybe something grander like a model building or even a statue? Should it be something serious? Or something fun and outlandish? I just don't know. I stare and I stare but it just won't tell me what it wants to be. And for all my wishing (and judicious use of "The Force") it just won't shape itself.

So what to do about it? I need to discover what that lump of clay needs to become. Should I ask it questions? Should I simply push on it here and there and see what it starts to look like? Actually, that last one won't work. I tried that. I also tried starting to shape it into something - anything - to see what it looked like but usually ended up squishing it back into a lump.

I'm rambling. It's time to stop since I'm obviously not going to figure it all out in one blog post. I have no idea how to close out of this so I just say TTFN.

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