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I Don't Know What I Want To Do with My Life

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Friday, May 20, 2011

I Don't Know What I Want To Do with My Life

Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.

I was checking the morning headlines, like I always do, from the only news' source I need, Yahoo, which combines pithy pop with dumbed down, keeping me informed with the minimal amount of effort while being highly entertaining (I particularly like the Eat This, Not That columns).  Today one of the bits was about surprising careers with 100K earning potential.  And who wouldn't like to earn 100K?  'Cause I sure as fuck ain't doing that as a writer.  And, yes, at 40, I still don't know what I want to do with my life.

Here are some possibilities.  Please feel free to give me your vote!

And we'll break this fucker down with some easily digestible bullets to keep the line moving...

Writer.  This is still number one, because I've spent the last ten years studying it. Other than that, can't say I have a lot of endorsements for the profession.  It's sort of lonely, there's a fuckton of competition and very little payoff.  There are those who say "writing is its own reward" and how it's "something [they] have to do." That ain't me.  It's sort of torture, writing, especially first drafts, which sucks balls. Starting a story or novel or (gasp) a fucking poem is about as appealing an idea as letting my balls dangle in the garbage disposal.  Once a story has taken shape, an exhausting stage to get to, then, yeah, I enjoy it. Basically, the only part of writing I like.  You get to play with syntax, the rhythm and cadence of language. It's the frosting part.  I like playing with individual sentences on a molecular level. Which makes me probably best suited for editing.

Drug and Alcohol Counselor.  I am about a third of the way into getting my DAC certification to help other addicts and alcoholics recover from addiction.  Something I am certainly well qualified to do, and I think I'd be good at it.  It is probably my greatest accomplishment, having quit heroin.  But at the same time I sort of hate that it is my greatest accomplishment.  What's it say about a man whose claim to fame is crawling out of the same hole he dug for himself?  Plus, the pay is shit, hours ridiculous, and success rate dismal and depressing.  It's just a fact that most addicts don't clean up, and imagine taking that home with you.  Despite all my bemoaning how much I hate humanity--which I do--on an individual level, I love you bastards. Seriously.  There is only about one person I knew whom I genuinely loath.  If I meet someone, get to know them, I like them, and I'd want to help my clients, and when I couldn't, I'd take it hard.  I know.  Like my lawyers say, I am an enigma.  

Personal Trainer.  This one is intriguing.  I spend most of my time bodybuilding and working out, so it's kind of a no-brainer.  I certainly love it, and I'm learning a great deal about nutrition and exercise.  Also, the hours are terrific, and getting certification is like $500 and takes less than a week.  Not to mention, this was one of the unlikely 100K careers on the Yahoo list.  So what's the problem?  Well, for one, my abs.  Which suck.  Until I get that six pack I so desperately desire, I'd feel like a charlatan.  It'd be false advertising, man.  I know there are dumpy trainers out there. I see them all the time.  But I ain't paying them to train me, and I don't want to be one of them.  The rest of the package is looking good.  Biceps just over 17", benching over 300 lbs., running and eating right.  It's just my mutherfucking abdominals.  Maybe it's time to bite the bullet and get that smart lipo...

Boxer.  OK, we're in long-shot territory, I know.  I'm fucking 40 years old, I've never had a professional fight, and when I did box in college I sort of sucked.  And I've got arthritis in my (hip) joint, so hard running is out.  What we'd be relying on would truly be blunt force trauma.  Which I might be able to deliver if my opponent stood still and promised not to move.  Still, I'm probably going to join an amateur team.  I have the gear, train daily; I want to be the next (white) Heavyweight Champion of the World.  (Yes, I've seen Rocky way way way too many times.)

Private Detective.  This is why I came out here, after all.  And it was looking good for a while.  I made some calls, got some meetings, even almost had my first "case" (which, interestingly enough, would've put me back in Miami, on the heels of a 50-something socialite), but nothing panned out.  Too bad.  As Justine can attest, I am good at lurking.

Teacher.  Those who can't... I like teaching writing.  But I'm not fucking adjuncting.  Six fucking courses, $2000 a pop?  Reading shitty prose from Business Majors who don't know what a semicolon is, butchering the language I love on their way to making more money in a bonus than I'll ever earn in a lifetime?  No fucking thank you.  I'll teach like a real professor at a state university (like my heroes, Cappella, Hazuka, et al.), but to do that I'd need a couple books published. And if I could get that, then I'd be a writer, too, and this question would be moot. This is the best option. Teaching a cushy 2/2 course load, writing the occasional book.  Might as well just add astronaut and right fielder for the New York Yankees to the list.  (Actually, I couldn't hit any worse than fucking Swisher is right now).

Goodfella.  Not sure if they still call it that, but I always wanted to be a criminal.  I think I'd be good at it, the whacking people and stuff.  Great benefits.  I'm a 1/4 Italian.  But it's not like you can just walk in and apply for a job in the mob.

17th Century Explorer.  Get my own ship.  Constant adventure.  Lots o' wenches.  What's not to like?  Ah, hell.  Who I am kidding?  I'd probably get scurvy.  


At May 20, 2011 at 11:33 AM , Blogger Jason said...

L'il brudder! He can do it on his own.

Can't swear this is a good book about writing,just came out, but I love the name:

At May 21, 2011 at 7:53 PM , Blogger troubledwaters said...

"... I think I'd be good at it, the whacking people and stuff. " I nearly fell off my chair laughing with this one. YOU!?!? You are tenser than the strings on your guitar before a gig! You even wrote here, in your blog, "...I have such a goddamn anxiety condition". Look Joe, I putted the dot thingie after the rabbit head thingie.

At May 21, 2011 at 7:57 PM , Blogger Joe Clifford said...

But the actual WHACKING part, Idan, that I think I could do pretty well ;)

At May 21, 2011 at 8:15 PM , Blogger troubledwaters said...

Joe: you whacking someone might qualify as murder-suicide.

At May 21, 2011 at 8:25 PM , Blogger Joe Clifford said...

You, sir, are a mean, mean man.


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