Sunday, May 18, 2014

Happy Birthday

It's already past midnight, but I think that, having been born a little later in the morning, I have a few more hours before being exactly 25 years old.

Lest you think this is a Quarter-Life Crisis post, rest assured that this is, in fact, how I've felt for at least 10 years. Needless to say, I'm not going to be able to get it all out now, nor to have it particularly well ordered, but here's a shot at doing something since I'm probably not going to sleep.

My life is going nowhere. I mean, I know that's not exactly, technically true, but that's the only way I can describe it.

I've never really been successful at anything. I graduated high school in the bottom 5th of my class, and I had to attend summer school for a month following the commencement ceremony to make up an English credit in order to actually earn my diploma (to be fair, this was due to a bureaucratic error).

Now, I realize that this first point can easily be dismissed, because schooling isn't the measure of a person's value - except that, implicitly in the perspective given me by every single person I know, it is. The most important thing I can achieve is to earn at least a 4-year degree, because that alone stands in the way of me ever becoming a useful citizen or contributor to society. Furthermore, I'm "too smart" not to keep banging my head against the wall of higher education; the little progress I've made in the past 7 years really is probably the best use of that time. I'm sure anyone would trade 7 years of their youth for the same privilege.

That's fine. Some people don't go to school. Do what makes you happy.

What makes me happy is playing frisbee, sir. What makes me happy is having meaningful interaction with friends. What makes me happy is feeling understood and validated. What makes me happy is changing the world a little bit for the better for someone.

That crap's not practical, though, is it? I can't make a living at being a good friend, a trustworthy confidant, or a normal person. That's just expected. I'm not allowed to want those things, because just wanting that makes me a slacker with no ambition and no vision.

What makes me happy? Well an alright substitute for happy is daydreaming about being happy someday. The problem is that it's harder and harder to delude myself as time passes - soon enough, "Successful Someday" will have today's date on it, and then it will self-destruct as it comes face-to-face with reality. I get through the reality by hoping for Someday, but all that is is empty hope. The someday that's approaching is just another old day that I wish wasn't what it is.

Yeah, ok. I realize that 25 isn't old. I realize that some people change carreers in their 50s, or that some people don't even start doing what they truly want to do until after retirement. I have a lot of time left, I guess, maybe. But when you're just getting by, time isn't the cure to your woes. As you have more and more days to survive, time becomes a woe.

Great. Another day I can eat, work, and sleep. Another day I can wish for someone to understand me, to actually enjoy me, to value me, to help me discover how I can better the world in some way. Another day people can like me and laugh at my jokes but not really care what happens to me.

So that's all that.

What are the problems?

Well, for one, I suppose my definition of success is a little warped. That's part of why school doesn't work for me. I can't fill out worksheets. I have to pour something of myself into my work, and it takes a lot to dig that stuff out to meet some parameters. Either I write something simultaneously groundbreaking and accurate or it's not worth writing. I can dump verbose nonsense on paper on command, but I'm morally incapable of submitting tripe as anything other than tripe.

That's why this blog has nothing on it, either. I want to share my life, to write what I know and what I'm learning, to be authentic and transparent, but does anyone really wanna read that? It's not all like this, but it does include this sometimes. Whatever I start out talking about all gets muddled and directionless, and the internet's already saturated with bloggers in their 20s whining about this and that and talking out their asses. Besides the fact that everything I know has probably already been said better elsewhere, I don't even know that I've learned much of anything worth passing along. Certainly this isn't.

Another problem, I guess, is that I don't really feel feelings with the exception of despair. Despair and pining and wishfulness. And I don't know how to process them besides writing unnecessarily dramatic blog posts that my grandparents are going to read, I guess.
Ok, that was a bit much. I'm leaving that paragraph there, but I do feel a pretty normal variety of emotions, probably. I've just learned pretty well to stuff most of them and not deal with them and never offend anyone by being too authentically myself. Obviously, the highest virtue is to speak and respond from a place of unblemished rationality, even if that leaves no one ever sure how you feel about anything. At least there's the safety of knowing you can't make an incorrect judgment that way.

I'm emotionally dependent on other people. I need to have everything I say and feel validated by someone else in order to have any confidence in it. Alternatively, if I'm still confident in what I said and it's not acknowledged by someone (or several people) important to me, I feel misunderstood and alone in the world.

I have control issues, I think, but only over uncontrollable circumstances and other people's actions, you see. Of course my personal locus of control is external.

Related to the last two, I really have trouble achieving any personal goals that no one else expects of me.

Listen, I don't really know who I'm mad at. I'm kinda mad at myself for acting this way, but at the same time, I can't apologize every time I try to be honest. I shouldn't behave like some undeveloped man-child, but if that's what I am, we might as well put it out there and stop pretending.

Maybe this alienated everyone, or maybe it drew in some people I've never met. I guess, finally, I should say that I am actually asking for help, please. This isn't something I can just fix by trying harder, or by just doing my homework, or whatever. I'm going worse than nowhere on my own.

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