Tuesday, April 25, 2017

On Aging, Choices, and Other Monsters

When I hear people talk about whatever they think is wrong with their lives, it always seems to be about boredom to one degree or another. They want something to happen. They want to feel like their lives are exciting and full of action. They want to feel like they matter to other people -- that they're important.

I'm the opposite. I usually feel like too much is going on even though my "too much" often looks a whole lot like other people's "not much". I feel like I have too much to worry about and too many responsibilities. I also often feel like I matter too much to others and in all the wrong ways -- that too many people count on me for too many things I'm not really equipped to provide. Only those that know me well enough to know how resentful I become when I don't feel like the things I do are noticed or appreciated remember to thank me often enough. Most don't thank me at all, let alone return the favor ever. In other words, I get very little back out of life considering what I put into it at times and that feels almost unbearably unfair.

I'm also noticing that the older I get without any of that changing, the more important money seems to become to me. Not just any money either -- my money. Money I earn under my own power doing things I'm good at. As much as I don't like not having a choice about whether or not I work, I very much enjoy making money. I especially like that I'm in business for myself. I don't have a boss. I get to call all the shots 100% of the time. I don't have employees or business partners either, so I get to take 100% of the credit for everything I've accomplished from a business standpoint. It's a neat feeling -- indulgently selfish in a way I don't get to be when it comes to any other area of my life.

That said, I'm beginning to understand why so many people do throw themselves into work or money-making when life gets really shitty or feels super thankless. It feels like something you can control. It feels like you're doing something that will actually prove helpful if your life decides to shit the bed even worse than it already has. People may or may not let you down when you need them. Money never does. You can turn to it whenever you need food, or clothes, or a place to live. The more of it you have, the more choices you also have. Choices are important to me -- possibly more important than anything else.

Life is stressful for me right now and some of those ways are new. Suffice it to say that I'm definitely middle-aged and life is throwing things at me right now that it throws at everyone when they reach this period in their life. Some days I'm dealing with that fine. Others days, not so much. But knowing that I'm also actively building some kind of financial security for myself right now is helping a lot. I definitely feel like I'm being as productive as possible as far as where I'm putting my energy professionally. It's not enough to dissolve the resentment and disappointment I always feel on some level as to how my life turned out, but it's definitely something.