My Life is a Mess

My life is not working out how I wanted.

At the beginning of the year, when I was half way to 48 years old, I went to basic training for the military. Not only was I older than all of the other recruits, I was older than most of the training staff. Not what I had planned 10 years ago. 10 years ago I was a brand new journeyman cabinetmaker, and very hopeful. My bosses were were less than generous and the resulting pay was far less than I’d hoped, and (for some reason) far less than others with my qualifications made. 12 years of struggle, off and on depression, and 10 jobs later, and I finally quit the industry and moved on to the military. Now, we have to learn to live off about 2/3 of what I made as a cabinetmaker.

At 48 years old, I’m starting a brand new career.

My neck hurts. I crashed my mountain bike a bit over a week ago and literally ate dirt. Was lining up to cross a bridge, my front tire slipped in the soft sand, and I didn’t make it across. I went face first into the bank on the other side. Split my lip, scratched up my face, and buggered my neck. Haven’t been able to work out properly since. I’ve just started get back to it, but don’t wanna rush it and make things worse. I’m hoping to be in the best shape of my life for my 50th birthday, and I’m making good progress, so hopefully that keeps up; but for the time being I’ve been working out about half as much as I want to be. The old saying of “its better to wear out, than rust out” sounds great, but even at 100% health I ache, and creak, and groan all the time.

My body is in varying degrees of pain, pretty much all the time.

Then, of course, there is the pandemic. We’re weathering that a lot better than most. My wife and I are in the military, so our pay has been unaffected, but there is the mental stress and uncertainty that the pandemic has introduced to my career. I just barely graduated basic training (if we weren’t the last class to graduate, were were the 2nd to last) but my job training is very much up in the air at this time. I have good days, and bad days; I struggle to get motivated and stay disciplined, and I fail as often as I succeed. Most people would love to be in our position, and I very much appreciate where we are, but I’m an over thinker. I can get depressed easily if I let myself, and at this point things are getting repetitive and frankly, boring. I need change, and stimulation, and I would much rather be at school learning and moving forward with my career than sitting at home; especially after the frustration of, and time wasted during, my cabinetry career.

Mentally, I am tired.

My point is that regardless of how put together things might look on my social media, the reality is far more turbulent. I try to convey that, but I don’t know how successful I am. I want to show people that lives as unpredictable as my own are normal, not unusual, and perhaps give people a few pointers on how to navigate them.

Which is why I have learned to never trust social media. I try very hard to portray the ups AND the downs of my life, and I’m very suspicious of social media accounts that show life being easy and perfect all the time.

The other day my wife started playing with a few photos we took during a day trip to a small town near where we live. She has a few photo editing programs on her phone and a generous amount of artistic ability, and within 20min she made it look like we were sipping drinks on a tropical beach instead of on a balcony 45min from our house. It was astonishing how easy they were to make, and how good they looked; absolutely able to pass “the social media test”. (A quick, 3 second glance.) I’ve heard of people taking pics in Ikea and passing them off as their own home, or a glamorous vacation. Influencers irritate me, people KNOW their lives are fake, and yet still flock to their pages and websites.

Photos can be edited. Houses, planes, and fancy cars can be rented. Jewelry can be fake and clothing can be knock-offs. Don’t even get me started on people posting pics with stacks of cash!

I want to succeed in life, but none of that motivates me, and while I get that we are all different, I don’t understand how all this fake bullshit would motivate anyone else. (Maybe it’s for distraction, not motivation?) To motivate me show me your ACTUAL work. Show me your first attempt, and your latest failure. I want to see your effort, not your reward, because your reward isn’t likely to be the same as the one I want. The work required to win will be though.

I’d much rather see how you trained, and run the race with you, than watch you celebrate victory.