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What We Do Defines Us

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Volo, May 3, 2011.

  1. Volo

    Volo
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    Call it lame, call it what you will, I could give a shit.

    Tonight I logged into Facebook for the first time in years. I spent hours seeing what friends long past have been doing with their lives, seeing what they've accomplished, if only brief glimpses of it, and asking myself the eternal question.

    What have I done that's been worthwhile?

    I've spent most of my life trying to stay out of conflict, mostly because of my race, and trying to become a master in my line of work, the culinary arts. I'm still young at 25, but I wonder if I would've been better off spending the better part of my youth traveling the world, or branching out into things that didn't involve working or cooking.

    Self-doubt is more common that one would think, and in the safety of anonymity I figure this would be a great place to air any insecurities you may have, young or old, if only to add perspective.

    FOCUS: Are you confident that you've accomplished what you've wanted, or have you fallen short? Why?

    NOTE: Keep the red dots and the bullshit to a minimum. Trying to convince someone to step up and smarten up is a good thing, but being a piece of shit while doing so is not. Tact is a skill often overlooked when searching for solutions.
     
  2. DrFrylock

    DrFrylock
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    The White

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    This goes well with our other thread today, about whether you're turning into your parents or not.

    As I posted in that thread, Dad was the one with the ambition, not me. It's not that I have none at all, but that I've set the bar for my own happiness at a reasonable level for me. My life goals, since I was very young, could be summarized as follows: get to the top of Maslow's hierarchy of needs and remain there. I got there when I was around 24 or 25 and have firmed up the base pretty well.

    As I've posted before, I met all of my mid-career goals by the time I graduated college, and all my late-career goals by the time I turned 30. So I had to make some new goals, but the ones I make now are more for fun and to see whether I can do them or not. If I get there, great. If not, oh well. I decided to try to get good at writing because I like doing it, and I've gotten good enough to get paid for it several times. One of my (few) late-career goals was to write and publish a real book in my field, which I expected to do when I was in my 40s or 50s, but I got a chance to do that, so I did it already. I decided that my right brain wasn't doing enough and I wanted to learn to play an instrument (despite having no inclination or innate ability in music whatsoever). I started with the diatonic harmonica, which is perhaps the easiest possible instrument to learn how to play, and this gave me enough confidence to try the guitar, which I've now been playing for about 10 years. This brings me enormous personal satisfaction.

    I have decided my one remaining goal is to have a single high-impact moment in my life at some point. Something that, if I never did anything else, would have made the whole thing worth it. Every time I watch the Lord of the Rings, I get a little quixotic, because every character in that movie gets to have that moment. They all go off and collectively defeat the great evil of their day. Nothing quite so spectacular happens to them for the rest of their (long) lives, but it doesn't matter because they had that one moment. They were there when it mattered.

    There are, of course, plenty of real-life examples of this. The folks whose work caught Osama bin Laden would be the most recent example. John Aaron saying "try SCE to AUX." The people who worked on the Manhattan Project and were there for Trinity. Jonathan Larson finishing RENT. Sully Sullenberger landing his plane in the Hudson. That sort of thing.

    I have had many small moments like this, but no really good ones. I don't think you can engineer that sort of experience. I think all you can do is try to engineer as many situations as possible where you might have such a moment, and hope one comes along. So I do that and bide my time. The danger, of course, is that if it happens I will turn into Uncle Rico and be pining for the glory days for 30-50 years, but that's a risk I'm willing to take.
     
  3. lostalldoubt86

    lostalldoubt86
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    Sometimes, I wish I had more fun in high school. I didn't go to Senior Week or have a date to prom. But i did have three part-time jobs and knew how to manage money before most people my age. I just think I might have lost my virginity before I was 22 if I had more fun in high school.

    Other than that, I'm figuring out the career stuff, I'm going to figure out the romance stuff once I'm settled in a job, and I'll figure out the rest when it's in front of me.
     
  4. thevoice

    thevoice
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    So far so good for me. I'm in my mid-20's, and I'm working in the business that I always dreamed of pursing.

    All I've ever wanted was to be a hockey play-by-play guy. I still remember the thrill of calling my first game on the radio, and for me that's a thrill that still remains today.

    My ultimate goal is to call games in the NHL, but for now my mid-range goal is to call Major Junior (WHL, OHL or QMJHL). I realize that by broadcasting standards I'm still a pup, but I'm definitely getting to the point where I am ready for the next level. The problem is, is that there are so few openings, and so many applicants. I've got a ton of confidence in my abilities, and I'm a great at networking, but it's still an uphill battle.

    I admit that I've had a few sleepless nights over the past year, wondering about what the future will hold for me. I like my current situation but I don't love it.

    I live in a city with 20,000 people which is an hour away from all of the amenities a guy could ask for. I firmly believe in what my company stands for, my co-workers are great, and I feel entrenched in this community. Add the fact that I'm engaged to a lovely girl, and am healthier than I've been in a long time, and life is seemingly great. But it's not great enough.

    I want to get to the next level, and am willing to do whatever I have to (within reason obviously) to get there.

    Settling here for the rest of my life would not be the end of the world, but financially I need to find something bigger and better because I want to provide a great life for the fiance, while achieving my goals.

    My goal is to be calling Major Junior by the time I'm 28. When I get there, the drinks are on me.
     
  5. Guy Fawkes

    Guy Fawkes
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    The thing I wonder about the most is what if I hadn't fallen into my current profession.

    It started out as a part time job that spun into a career. I never had aspirations of being in sales, I wanted to be in advertising and marketing (not that they're that much removed from it). I never wanted to manage people or a company I just fell into it.

    Every time there was a chance to break away and do something else the old greenback made me stay. I think that speaks to some level of complacency and greed on my part.

    Still I put some faith in due dates. The realization that this part of my life is winding down is a good thing. As the rest of the company panics about maintaining growth and revenue I'm forecasting exactly when I'll pop the escape hatch and call this endeavor a wrap. In the mean time I need to search myself and abilities to discover something more meaningful to do with the next few years of my life.
     
  6. audreymonroe

    audreymonroe
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    The most powerful cervix... in the world...

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    I'm probably not the person this thread is intended for, since I'm just starting out, but I've been thinking about this a lot lately so here I am.

    Up until about a month ago (with a few bouts of optimism scattered throughout the past year), I was pretty unhappy with how my professional life was going so far. Throughout college, I was basically expecting to be offered an editorial assistant position at a magazine when I graduated, and maybe that would've been realistic if I was entering the magazine world when I graduated high school, but I soon realized how unlikely that was by the time I finished school last year. However, I still believed that if I moved to New York right away, I'd have an entry level job by the Fall. The job search has been damn brutal. The worst part is I keep almost getting jobs. I'll be basically offered the job but then either someone who already has connections there pipes up, or someone ends up having a sliver more experience. Or, I've gotten dozens of jobs at start ups that have promptly dissolved or disappeared without paying me or before I can even start working. Or, I'm not even getting interviews for jobs I'm perfectly qualified for (if not over qualified for) because the competition is girls who have been working for years as unpaid interns because that's apparently the only way to get in the business nowadays. (And I do mean years, I have plenty of internships under my belt, just at a couple months stints at a time and a few that aren't directly related.) And I actually have a pretty wide net of jobs that I'm interested in and qualified for that I've beenapplying to. I can't imagine what it's like for people who don't have a clue for what they want to do with their life.

    I was feeling really defeated and having a beginning of life crisis, but recently I had a shift in perspective. I've had a steady writing job since before I graduated, and I have a handful of other gigs that pay, even if they don't pay well. I've lived solely off being a writer for my first year out of college, in the most expensive city in the country no less. And, since I can work from anywhere, I'm taking advantage of the freedom of not being tied down with a full-time desk job and living in Costa Rica for two months this summer, just because I can. I'm doing alright, and I have confidence that some a bigger, better job will come my way soon enough. But, in the meantime, I'm enjoying remembering that I have my entire life ahead of me, and if I don't have it all figured out and set up for the next fifty years eleven months out of school, then that's okay.
     
  7. Harry Coolahan

    Harry Coolahan
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    I've spent the last four years attaining a professional fluency of Arabic. I'm currently trying to get a job in Iraq or elsewhere in the Middle East.

    If this doesn't work out, dear lord will I have spent a lot of time studying this difficult language for nothing.
     
  8. Frank

    Frank
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    I gave up on my 'dream' and pursued a career path which gives me the maximum profit for my skill set. I ended up loving the field and most of my nutrition classmates ended up with low paying, boring, dead end jobs. I think the most successful one is a bartender.

    Being a greedy pig ftw.
     
  9. Rob4Broncos

    Rob4Broncos
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    Since I'm only 22 and still have a whole world in front of me that I've yet to explore, I'd say I don't yet qualify to answer this. However, I have a question for the older, more experienced people on here:

    Is there a particular age (or age range) at which I should aim to attain certain life goals? I've asked something similar on here before, but basically I'm wondering how much time I truly have before I should give up on lofty dreams and start thinking more "realistically." Lately, I've been stressing about the career field I'd like to go into, how it might not work out, and how I had hoped to be much further along professionally than I currently am. I was talking about this with a fellow board member, whose response was, "You're 22. Jesus Christ. Cut yourself some slack."

    I know age is just a number, but at which point should I stop being a fucking dinosaur?
     
  10. Frank

    Frank
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    Very subjective. I know lust4life on this board is in his (I think) 40's and is pursuing his dream of being a (again, I think) counselor. Not only would I say he's not too old, I'd argue that his age and life experience make him much better suited than a green youngster chasing that dream. On the other hand, if he told us he was pursuing the dream of being a professional athlete in his 40's, I'd call him a fucking moron.

    So yeah, there's no magic number, but you need to be realistic. In any case, barring wanting to be a competitive skier or something, I can't imagine being 22 before you really get into your field being "too old."
     
  11. AlmostGaunt

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    Focus: No. Philalawyer nailed my set of circumstances in his book, when he said (much more eloquently, but I'm at work and don't have it on me) something to the effect of: 26 is a rotten age. Too old for the juvenile antics of the early 20s, but not yet ready to give them up, because looking at the sedate lives of peers who are settling down is deeply uninspiring.

    Speaking of Phila, god I love this quote: "Sitting there staring at the screen, I knew that perfect mix of freedom and irresponsibility was gone forever, but on a deep psychic level, free of the cheap pragmatism that told me its loss was necessary, acting like I still had those liberties - at least for a night or two - seemed the only dignified course. Not the mind-set you want on a headful of bourbon and laughing gas."

    Long story short, I used to believe in the narrative constructed around me as a 'rising star' in the office, and I was entrusted with responsibilities far above my expertise. Then both my awesome bosses left, one to retirement and the other to found his own company, and they were replaced with the sort of risk-averse, just competent middle managers that riddle the University environment. (Incidentally, one of my greatest fears is ending up as one of these non-people - people who have stayed at an institution so long that they actually believe they've become part of it, and let it define their identity. The title of this thread actively horrifies me.) And, a few job switches later, I have yet to find a job that inspires any sort of passion in me. Cliche` as it is, Billy Joel's phrase 'real-estate novelist' rings very true.

    Still, one day when I write my best-selling novel, evoking (but not too closely) thoughts of Stephen King's early work, you'll all be able to say you knew me when. I'll start writing it just as soon as I lay this poker hand down, and finish this bottle of scotch. Maybe tomorrow.

    Incidentally, if you have an Android phone and play poker, fuck me if FullTilt's Rush Poker client isn't awesome. Real money, and quicksilver fast. I haven't been bored at work since I installed it. If you want it, use your phone's browser and go to <a class="postlink" href="http://www.fulltiltpoker.com/mobile/rush-poker-mobile" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.fulltiltpoker.com/mobile/rush-poker-mobile</a>
     
  12. Rob4Broncos

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    I suppose this has relevance here:

     
    #12 Rob4Broncos, May 4, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2015
  13. Senna Vs. Prost

    Senna Vs. Prost
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    I have broken into a career that people ten years older than myself still can't make a living at, have a paid off car and will probably own my own home within a year or two. I'm 22. And I still feel like there's so much left to be done. Most of my friends are working in retail or food service though. I rapidly lost my taste for drinking and partying when I should supposedly be in my prime years - maybe I've grown up too fast?

    I was talking with a friend about the larger topic of identity and how actions are what defines us, but external things like dress, possessions etc tend to be the things that people use to form a picture of you in their mind. But that's probably part of a larger discussion unrelated to this topic.