A few weeks ago I read a Facebook post from my freshman year History teacher. He had answered one of those nonsensical surveys that asks things like how many times you’ve crossed the Equator or who the last person that pointed a gun at you was. For the most part the answers confirmed what traits and facts I already knew or suspected. But when I came to “are you doing what you want with your life,” I stopped. There wasn’t a long explanation, no confirmation with small caveats, just “no.” How could that be? From what I knew, from the effort I saw him put forth, this man loved his job. If that’s not what he wants to be doing, what is? When did he give up what he wanted to do, when is it time to stop chasing forever.
I’ve never had conventional ambitions. Then again no one does. No one dreams of being an HR rep or managing a Chili’s. But they do it. I’ve never understood that. Even in college the idea of getting a degree just to “get a good job, find something stable,” was so foreign and bleak to me. I wanted to do things like play pro baseball or be a pilot or be one of those researchers for the Parks and Wildlife Department that just catches and tags fish all day. Even now, PGA Golf Professional is hardly something anyone would consider a mainstream career. But it’s what I want to do, it’s the forever I’m chasing. It’s the forever I’ve been chasing for eight years, the forever that I’m starting to wonder if I should abandon.
With ambitions so unconventional you wouldn’t think I would be as self criticizing as I am. How can someone scrutinize themselves so badly if they want to play pro baseball? Something as outlandish and unlikely as that must surely require an infallible personality impervious to daily discouragement. But I always have. I over analyze what I do day to day and grade it on a scale of accomplishment comparative to what I did before, what I want to do, and what everyone around me is doing.
I think that’s what has me wondering if it’s time to stop chasing. I’ve been out of high school for eight years. What do I have to show for it? Some of my classmates, some of my best friends, have been successful for the majority of the time we’ve been out. They graduated, got great jobs, and they’re competent adults enjoying the fruits of their effort. Meanwhile all I’ve done is take six years to graduate college. I’m not PGA certified, my progress with that can be described as happenstance at best. I’m taking a PAT next week but if I’m being totally honest I don’t know if I’m ready. I’m not financially successful, or stable, or competent, or even survivable. What is this all for? When is it time to cut my losses and own my own existence. They say everyone has their own path, everyone’s life moves at its own rate, but everyone also has to recognize reality at some point too. If we didn’t the world would be nothing but jobless hobos ranting about how they’re going to be firefighters or football players someday.
Plus, it’s not like reality is all that bad. I look around at my friends that have real jobs and they’re happy. They don’t wake up hating each day because they failed their little 5 year old selves by not becoming an astronaut. If my history teacher can not be doing what he wants but still give his best effort, the best effort I’ve ever seen, why can’t I? How long can I keep delegitimizing my years by reassuring myself this mediocre existence is all part of some penance to be rewarded. Eventually I’m either going to hit a brick wall of reality or receive that reward I’ve assured myself of. Wouldn’t it be better to turn around before I see what’s at the end of this road? I don’t know, but I do know I’m tired of feeling like a floundering failure of an adult. I guess it’s just whether that feeling of regret for not seeing my forever all the way through would be worse than my suffering now.