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Monthly Archives: November 2021

Making peace with the choices you’ve made isn’t easy.  §

I’m not writing a lot.

Mostly because there’s so much to write about. Thing is, you pass a certain threshold and if you bother to jot down how you feel you’ll just be complaining all the time.

I need to fix that, but I lack… something. I’m not sure what.

In the social media era, there’s no shortage of people out there loudly describing the success that they have and the way that they have it. Hard work, discipline, ambition, etc. I’m just not into it.

I don’t care enough.

They say that your preferences are evidenced in your choices, whatever it is you say out loud about yourself or the way you want your life to go. If you look at my life, then, what I am mostly giving evidence of is a desire to stand pat, despite the fact that I’m not thrilled about where I’m standing.

Risk aversion fits in here somewhere.

I’m just tired of problems. I’m familiar with the problems I already have and have had, and what I don’t want is any new ones, because I have the vague idea that if I were to encounter any new problems, I’d just want to quit. Everything.

I’ve had it.

I’ve got every standard problem that an American person can have. Failure to completely launch. A boatload of student loans. Underachievement due to choices I made about the course of my life. A life that resulted in divorce, and now single parenthood. I have a stodgy, computer-centric 9-to-5 that leaves me sitting on my ass all day. I’m out of shape and don’t work out or watch my diet enough.

Basically, despite having started out to rule the world and making great progress toward it for a while, I’ve ended up where the average American ends up.

I also don’t particularly want a better life. It is dawning on me that I was raised lower-middle class and that’s what I’m comfortable with. I don’t want a shiny, brand-spanking-new house and a bunch of swanky functions and cocktail parties to go to.

I want a cluttered, aging house, a car I can work on myself, an average yard, and evenings watching football in the winter and episodes of whatever is random in the summer. I just don’t want to live like “the beautiful people.” If I can’t be in a position to be where the power brokers are, I just want to grab Taco Bell a lot of the time and basically piddle around.

The problem of course is that I’d like to piddle around better, but that’s not really how it works. You do better by adopting a different lifestyle that I’m not really prepared to adopt. There is no “better lower middle class,” there is only “better as in Whole Foods and clean windows.” They go hand-in-hand.

What does this mean for my future? I’m not sure.

I’ve been encouraged to date a lot but I don’t really find myself interested in any of the people I’ve seen, much less met. On the one side there’s the Whole Foods and Instagram crowd. On the other side it’s bad grammar and poor educational attainment.

I think to really be happy in a relationship any longer, I’d have to find another academic flame-out in the same mold: I wanted to rule the world at one point and could have with “higher-end” decisions, but in the end I settled for Taco Bell and a used car.

There aren’t many women out there like that—women who can talk Dostoyevsky and the Frankfurt School and who understand every dependent clause in a long sentence and use large words astutely, but who also aren’t busy making sure they have an Instagram-worthy house and really just want to play checkers while watching the game.

It’s a dying breed.

Where I think I really belong is in the “absent-minded professor” population. Small town, regular life, just read a few more books and everyone wants to hang out with them. That’s not really a thing anymore, and likely won’t be again.

So it is what it is.

I’m dying alone someday. Oh well, maybe we’ll have won a natty by then. Probably not, but a guy can dream while he putters around the house buried in debt.