Radical shifts sometimes need to happen

As is usually the case, got a lot on my mind tonight. And all day. And all year. And on back. Such is the norm…

Been researching new employment ideas for going forward. Feeling the burn-out in my current self-employment venture after 8 years — seems every 7 or so years I require a radical shift in my line of work so as to keep life interesting. Not planning on letting completely go of what I do currently anytime soon, just trimming it down to the regulars I work best with and whose requests can accommodate my future schedule changes. Learned a lot from working with animals and have been blessed to be granted the opportunity to go that route for as long as I did. Just that the scattered hours totally disturb any chance at maintaining a regular sleep schedule (or just remaining asleep for a solid, lengthy block of time so as to feel refreshed). Leads to perpetual sleep deprivation, which just causes problems over time, largely due to early mornings conflicting with my lifetime night-owl-ness. The two clash and my nightlife tends to win out, so sleep is sacrificed. By nightlife I don’t necessarily mean going out, just staying up, sometimes because I’m mulling around online, other times because I can’t get to sleep. Insomniac of sorts.

Those morning appointments, then the midday big block, then the night appointments leave my day broken into a few hours here or there to fit a social life into or to work on other projects or whatever else. Holidays are nearly always my busiest workweeks. Half my job involves inner-city driving between appointments, and I unfortunately allowed my service area to sprawl much wider than I should have, resulting in far-flung appointments in various directions. A lot of runaround. Hard on my aging car, especially in winter. Certainly much less fun to deal with while perpetually tired.

Try to keep people happy, and most seem to be, but you can’t please everybody all the time. I have the bad habit of fixating on those who nitpick or want more than I’m willing to offer. Yet I also tend to have trouble saying “no” and turning down requests. Gotten better with that over time, but I worry over it anyway. This is a job that calls for a decent amount of patience, and that’s a virtue I’m struggling with. Impatient in traffic, not always thrilled when it comes to handling rambunctious pups who are hyper after hours of being caged in a crate and/or are poorly socialized. Every job comes with its challenges, sure. The cleaning doesn’t typically bother me, except in the cases where an accident is stomped in by the pet and then trudged all throughout the house. Thankfully that hasn’t happened too often. But there’s a need to keep my own energy calm so the animal doesn’t react off of it, and for the most part I do all right there. But I’ve lost much of my playfulness over time, and not just in my job. It comes and it goes, but it matters there. Probably due to being around so many animals and rarely taking time off or being freed up to leave town even for a weekend. Seven days a week most weeks. Gets to feeling like I’m chained to everybody else’s schedule to where my life revolves around allowing theirs to flow as they’d like it to, but then I don’t get enough downtime for myself and wind up tired more often than not for relishing my late-night hours when I can do as I want. Just creates a weird situation over time…

Plus, there’s the issue of “wholesomeness” when it comes to people’s expectations for those of us who provide services of this sort. Pets are like kids to a lot of people, yet pets don’t speak English or worry over cultural norms or what have you. But owners do, especially in a “whitebread” city like this. “Whitebread” is my term for bleached, sanitized, culturally-barren, suburbanized places like this area. Also referred to as “cookie-cutterville.” Might sound mean, but I’m just being honest. This area (or at least the side I live and work within) is composed of a bunch of smaller towns and suburbs that grew up fast within the last 10-20 years, faster than the locals seem able to keep up with even, and so much feels commercial, starched, with tons of big-box chains and sprawling suburban neighborhoods chocked full of nearly identical new houses devoid of real character. And Prius drivers. In short, not exactly where I dreamt of winding up for nearly a whole decade now. But here I have remained…for economic reasons. That’s one thing we have no shortage of around here: employment opportunities. Hence why the economic “recession” of 2008 barely seemed to register with us.

Never claiming to be a “wholesome” individual in the way others might aspire to be. Not my game to play. Not that these folks aren’t generally a nice bunch. Maybe “niceness” itself is getting to me at this point. Gets boring. Lacks deeper dimensions. Feels fake too often. Or at least feels alien. Like I don’t fit in here and never have. Known that all along and have given a go at trying to blend in, but it’s not working. Leads me to feeling like a freak, like a cancer by comparison, and that’s tough on one’s self-image. Wish they’d be a little more open, more straightforward and willing to confess sins instead of buttoning up and striving to impress one another. Not speaking of people I work for here, just people in this area in general.

Not trying to complain, just venting a little and thinking a lot over where to go from here. Whole life overhaul is in the works…

I have some new ideas out on the horizon. Pulling together a new gameplan for after my time down South. Don’t have roots here, so why do I stay? For money? Money can be made elsewhere. For people I care about? There are two in particular I’d hate to leave behind, but one of them I have a lot of ongoing problems with, too much water under the bridge by this point. The other will remain my friend regardless and probably would be better off if I do whatever I need to in order to get in a better emotional space. Thought that staying here would be good because it demonstrated my willingness to stick it out rather than cut and run like I had done in the past, but apparently I misunderstood that ambition. Life’s too short to stick with something that’s not working out. Given this area 10 years of my life, yet still feel like a stranger in a strange land here. Maybe that’s my faulty perception to blame there, but this feeling never lifts. Very much looking forward to taking some downtime in Mississippi.

Might go broke in the process of making this shift, and so be it. The IRS might have to wait a while to get its money out of me this year. There’s more to life than money, not that I’m rolling in dough over here. Probably could make more if I desired to do so. But dwindling desire and waning ambition has been a big problem in recent years. Just not motivated to do much anymore. Lost my mojo years back and so far haven’t found it again. Tired, depressed, succumbing to bad habits, not taking care of myself like I probably should, retreating and feeling alienated. Sometimes I get up for a spell but keep sliding back down. In a rut, basically. Not much to look forward to. Bored. Agitated. That’s been the situation. In the past I handled this sort of thing by shaking things up with radical change, and that usually did the trick. Gonna have to do that again soon. Figure out a new direction and throw myself in it, get immersed, sink or swim. Don’t have much to lose, so the only thing really holding me back is my own self and a lack of confidence. Helps to keep in mind that it’s just life — might as well play with it. Explore it. No fun feeling trapped by it. And for what? To suit other people’s expectations? Well, other people have their own lives to manage. This one is mine.

For a long time I’ve worried about feeling more lonely, about winding up alone and ostracized, but I feel lonely here already. Fear is a hell of a monster. Still not sure what exactly I’m afraid of. Failure? Well, it happens. Can’t know until you try. Sticking around here for the rest of my life, feeling like an outcast who’d be better off elsewhere, failing to comprehend the locals’ ways, spinning my wheels and chomping at the bit because I have too much time to think and wound up stuck inside my own head, squandering whatever potential I may possess due to feeling utterly uninspired most days — not a happy way to live. Not fulfilling. Not challenging. Not conducive to further growth and development.

Since I’ve lived here I’ve regressed more and more each year. Don’t exactly know why. Too isolated maybe. Not connecting. Just feel uncomfortable more often than not. Like this is some sort of strange incubator that I’ve overstayed my time in. People are people anywhere you go, of course, and I don’t begrudge these folks for choosing to live as they do. Maybe this really has little to do with them. Maybe the original reason I wound up here has tainted the situation and makes growth and change feel stagnant inside my own self as a result. Maybe I fear taking on more and different responsibilities out of a sense of self-doubt. And likely these stupid fears are the ultimate problem themselves. No one is holding me back but me. There’s no getting around that truth at this point.

The past is the past. I can’t change it. Could’ve conducted myself better in terms of my social life and whatnot, but whatever — can’t change much of that now either. Learn the lessons and move on. A fresh start is sometimes needed, so I’ll be on the lookout for opportunities to raise money and figure out where to move to from here. Would rather be broke and roughing it than remain feeling trapped and isolated. My mind needs to focus elsewhere — it’ll eat me alive if I allow it to continue ruminating and worrying over shit that I don’t have the power to change or influence. A better use of my time and energy is to learn new skills that I can carry forward to the next leg in this journey we call life. Have some ideas in mind that I’ll keep to myself for now. The next 3 months will be dedicated to researching these new paths.

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3 Responses to Radical shifts sometimes need to happen

  1. Wyrd Smythe says:

    FWIW, during my 34 years with The Company, I changed positions roughly every seven years or so. Wasn’t so much intentional as just happened that way, but looking back, I’m glad it worked out that way. So I totally agree. Shake things up every 7-10 years or so. Keeps you interesting and on your toes!

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