When I was eight and playing pine-cone wars with my buds back in Lower Alabama (LA), I never would have dreamed that one day, I’d be doing what I do, or that I’d do some of the things that I’ve done in my life; like working in the DoD and…yeah, that’s pretty much it for the cool stuff.
But also, growing up, I never would have thought I’d end up married to a woman who works full time and we’d be putting our kids in a daycare to be raised by perfect strangers.
I’m not sure where I thought my life would take me, but I’m sure it wasn’t a house in the burbs of Atlanta and exotic family vacations to…the beach.
Looking back, it’s amazing how far off I’ve drifted from “The Plan.” Granted, I didn’t have much of a plan, but I had dreams man! I was gonna do things! I’m not sure what, but THINGS!
I had ambition too. Money…oh! I always wanted to make lots of money, but that was just Alex P. Keaton talking and truthfully, I never completely got that out of my system.
But it’s funny how time changes you isn’t it? The things that you thought were important to you then, are now just footnotes at the bottom of the page, “***Chris was going to do so and so, but then kids came along…”
For the most part, I don’t have regrets. I mean, I did things. Sure, maybe I didn’t travel the world, but knowing what I know now about hygiene and bathrooms in other countries, I’m not so sure it was a loss. But, there is one thing that has changed about me though and perhaps it’s the most surprising since it’s really the one thing that I could still have–the one thing that my life hasn’t thrown up a bar against–ambition!
Do you remember when you started your first REAL job? Do you remember being on the bottom of the totem pole and just grinding your teeth every day and thinking to yourself, “Just wait, one day I’ll be the boss, you just wait and see.” I had that once. I still do–sorta–but now it comes with conditions, such as:but it now comes with conditions. Such as:
- I want to be the boss, AND still be able to walk away from work at the end of the day without having to spend hours upon hours checking e-mail in the wee hours of the night while my family sleeps
- I want the money, but I don’t want to spend all my time in useless meetings talking about “high level overviews” and “program guidance.”
- I want the vacation house and all the perks, but I don’t want to have to have an “office” at my vacation house so I can stay in touch with work
Basically, I want my cake, and of course I want to eat it. What else would you do with cake?
So I find myself at war with…myself…over work. As it is with most companies, at my job, I’m expected to constantly grow in my career. I’m supposed to WANT to get out and get involved in new things, which inevitably means adding more work onto my existing work load, which screws with my aforementioned “wants.” It’s expected that I want to climb the corporate ladder and I do; no really I do. I just don’t want all that other crap that comes with it.
To put it plainly, I’ve lost my ambition. Maybe that’s not quite right, I still have my ambition, but I don’t want all the strings that seem to come attached with it. Does that make sense?
Sometimes I look at my mom up in rural PA and think, “Dang, that’s the life. It’s simple and it’s beautiful up there, and she doesn’t have a care in the world (as she snorts loudly while reading this).” But then, I realize that it too has its problems. Everyone’s life has its problems…we all just hide it behind happy faces and platitudes. Man, what a crappy way to go through life. I’m really working on this whole acceptance thing. Hey, don’t sugar coat it–I’m not getting any younger and the things that I dreamt of as a young man, are by and large never gonna happen if they haven’t happened yet, so I just need to suck it up and “accept” that things are the way they are and try to make the best of it.
(This sounds like a mid-life crisis I know.)
It can’t be just me right? Did you have a Plan? Have you accomplished it? If not, why? I’m curious how many people’s lives actually worked out the way they thought it would.