I’m 28 years old. I still have no idea. It’s becoming a very real possibility that I never will. And well, that kinda sucks. It’s weird, people have been asking you the same damn question your whole life, and somehow the best you can come up with is “I don’t know.” Sure there have been variations to the question like “What are you going to do for a career?”, “How are you going to make money?”, and “What would make you happy in life?” The answer is still “I don’t know”. Sometimes it’s disguised as I just want a job that I’m happy with, I don’t need that much money to live on, or I’m going to get a degree in Communications. But it all comes back to the same answer. The same three words.
Where did I go wrong? Is there still hope? Let’s follow Carl Sagan’s lead. “You have to know the past to understand the present.” Did I ever want to be anything? Bear with me; I’m starting real young here. (oh, like you have something better to do) Age 4: this is around the time people want to be firefighters, baseball players, or Batman when they grow up. (Yes I said the B-word, if you haven’t got the Affleck bashing out of your system, take it back to twitter…they still…no even they don’t care anymore) I can’t remember wanting anything like that as kid. Sure Batman must have been badass even then, but still, a little bit unrealistic. Of course, one kid said he wanted to be a dump truck, so I guess all bets were off. Of course, the only real memory I have from that age is crying under the desk because the class ran out of chocolate milk. Let’s try a little further along.
Age 8: I got really into animals, loved the zoo, and probably wanted to be a vet. Glad I grew out of that phase. Certainly wouldn’t have the money for schooling, or the intelligence (have I made that clear yet), or the desire to stick my hand up an animal’s butt to see that one through. At least I have a sweet collection of rubber wild animals to reminisce about. By age 14, I had replaced lions, tigers, and bears with sports, music, and girls. It took all of 4 seconds to realize with no athletic or musical talents, a career in those realms were out of the question. I’m glad I picked up the social skills to talk to girls, but I’m doubtful there’s a career in that for me either. I’m still awkward talking to most of them. And there’s no chance making any money off anything else that I fake my way through learned how to do with them. I’m fairly certain the girls of my past will agree. (Sex! He’s talking about sex. He’s bad at it people! Disgusting.)
Age 18: When everyone else was starting to seriously think about the question that guidance counselors get off to at night, I began to dabble. After some soul searching, I honestly thought I would get into psychology. Spent a small fortune on college specifically for this purpose (actually still spending, 2022 could not come some enough…..) and I realized after 2 years that I have no empathy. Do you know how hard it is to help people through their problems when in your heart of hearts you really couldn’t give a flying fuck? Get over it, everyone else seems to have adjusted fine, and please shut the fuck up are not the emotional responses you need to have as a psychologist. Between 18-24, I realized I didn’t want to pursue psychology, but instead wanted to get into radio. It was during these years that the non-official, but for all intents and purposes death of radio occurred. And not long after the Great Recession. There’s certain things you should see coming: new technology, changing economies, long-standing personal distaste for all human beings, but sometimes your judgment on what you should be doing is clouded by the fact that you have no desire to do anything useful/profitable/respectable/at all.
I’m 28. Not much has changed in four years. People think I’m unmotivated, lazy, stupid, etc, and it’s not true. Well, not entirely true. I am most definitely a dumbass, but I can be extremely motivated if there’s something I would actually look forward to doing. Am I crazy to not want to work in insurance? Or to run financial reports for businesses whom I couldn’t care less about their failures or successes? Does anyone truly (don’t lie to yourself) find meaning in their jobs when they help strangers build their portfolios or save money for their eventual depressing retirement of excessive golfing and pottery lessons? Most careers just seem dreadful to me, and while that’s fine for a kid whose biggest concern is beating the next level of Mario, or even for an 18 year old balancing their long term plans with more immediate plans like how do I sneak this backpack full of booze across campus without drawing too much attention, “I don’t know” is no longer acceptable for someone who should be in the prime of his career. Or at least the start.
At 28, you can confidently rule out hundreds of things that can’t be done due to lack of physical skill. Toss out anything too involved with said people you couldn’t care less about. Then cross out dozens more because you don’t have the necessary education and/or the money to get this required education. And even if you did, you still have no desire to go back to school for some other unfulfilling career after the first 4 years of education were a bust. I don’t know if I will ever understand how everyone is so content. Sure, I made some shitty decisions, but you, person who did a better job than me, your life looks just as unappealing only with more money to help soothe the boredom blues. I don’t like my life, I don’t like your life, what the hell life am I supposed to enjoy? I wish I could just take the blue pill (not Viagra) accept my life of mediocrity as good enough, and be happy. But I can’t. And when you realize you can’t be anything that you want, and you eliminate every other career you could do but makes you feel like you’re living in Office Space, then what’s left? I don’t know.