Saturday, March 21, 2009

What is the first step?

Sometimes, when I remember how old I am, I panic and feel miserable. My life has no path. I've not done anything I want to do and yet I have no idea how to do those things. In the last year or so, as things have started to marginally improve, I've still not managed to do anything productive. I can't believe that here I am, 27, with no career path and seemingly no real career skills. I can't believe that in 3 months I'll be laid off and back to where I've been before; unable to get a good paying job with benefits to support myself.

Sure, I have lofty dreams of just liquidating what little I do have, throwing the rest in storage, and moving to Spain or something, but I don't quite have the nerve to do that. And I'm not even sure that that is what I want to do! I know I want to write, and be creative, and be recognized for these things. I know I want to be surrounded by other creative people. I want to go on Conan and be witty and funny damnit. I want to get on stage and deliver a decent enough stand up routine that I'm not pelted with watered down drinks. I want to write for a funny show, I want to collaborate with interesting people, I need to act and collaborate and be a part of something that entertains people. But I don't even have a clue how to get there.

And I'm scared that it is too late.

I know that it is never "too late" in the grand scheme of things and that I'll regret even further not doing anything substantial with my life but I feel like I'm a decade behind the game and I don't even know where to begin. I've got this ticking clock, finally I guess, of three months that must force me into action but after a decade of inaction I don't even have the tiniest shred of a clue where to begin. Failure is made worse by fear of failure, and by inaction. My life is ruled by fear and inaction. I can't even fail because I can't even try.

I'm pissed too that I can have come this far, and done a pretty fair deal as far as work goes, to still have no real marketable skills. My degrees are useless, my extensive job experience apparently doesn't count for much and as for working in the field of technology I don't have any certifications (expensive) so in applying for more "day" jobs to sustain me a bit longer I don't even qualify. I am very good at my job and very good at computer support and repair yet that won't show as anything in a pile of very qualified resumes. I should be in this powerless position in my early 20s, still just trying to get a job to get by while I figure out the rest in my off time but I'm not; I'm damn near 30 with nothing to show for it.

I've got a condo that I'm being evicted from because the owner is a deadbeat, I've got a job that I'm losing in three months and apparently no qualifications to get me another, I've struggled for years to no avail to make good friends, and a relationship with a wonderful guy who...well. That is another series of posts entirely.

I actually do have a bit of motivation, a feeling that finally after a decade of struggling and overcoming every obstacle that I am in a place where I can break free and try to get out there and see what I have to offer. Yet no where to start. No idea what to do. I'm inhibited by my own obstacles. I should just pretend that this is a quarter life crisis and that I'm not a failure at life, that I'm just totally switching gears. People do it all the time. There is no shame or failure in doing what I really want to do.

I don't know what the first step is. I don't know what the second, third, thousandth step is. And I'm scared by time ticking away because there are things I want for my life but I fear that I'm putting them in jeopardy be essentially deciding to live a life of poverty for years in some far fetched hope that I'll ever generate revenue doing and pursuing what I love.

I'm stagnating and dying inside doing what I do now and better yet, I can't even do that anymore! Life is very politely pointing out that I can never hope to have a job that pays enough to keep me indoors with food and medical at the same time (which enrages me, I've been working full time since I was 15 and this is what I have to show for it? The hell?) but it isn't pointing me in any other direction. And I'm back to that fear again; I can't bear to live another 10 years of failure. I fear not doing what I want to do, I fear not knowing how to do it, and I fear that attempting anything else will never work out.


sallyacious said...

That's tough. I remember feeling sort of like that myself once, though I wasn't facing all of the scary things you are. On the other hand, if you're dying inside and the opportunity to continue on in that direction is being taken away from you, why not try something completely different? All of the things you fear the most, the fears that kept you in jobs you didn't really want to be doing are about to happen anyway, so what do you have to lose in pursuing a dream?

(And trust me, you're not too old. Not by a long shot. The only qualifier for too old to make a major life change is the same as too dead to make a major life change.)

I know it sounds trite and cliche, but what would you do if you knew you could not fail?

The CEO said...

If you want to be a comedy write, write some jokes and try them at a Comedy Club at open mike night.

Want to try creative writing, start off trying to write advertising copy at an advertising agency.

You have to learn to believe in yourself first. You need to believe to achieve. Easy to say, harder to do.

Anonymous said...

You're not too old. I promise. I made some big life changes at ages 29 and 31 because I thought if I wake up at age 40 and am super bitter still (or end up hating life like my current boss), I'll so regret not doing something sooner.

I like the CEO's ideas...just go to a few open mike nights and watch. I'm sure you'll find you have much better material!

Eris said...

See, I know what I want to do, what I would do if there were no failure.

I just don't know how. Or where. Or...anything.