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11:42 PM - FRI 5.01.15
The Working Man Blues

The Working Man Blues

I just finished my last entry (Which I immediately posted to Facebook), so this really feels like a continuation of the same entry - I'm just trying to keep entries to a reasonable length, since large blocks of text that go on for page after page can be daunting to some readers (They are to me, anyway).

In any case, I've been thinking about "work" a lot lately - In terms of my "day job", my all-too-rare acting gigs, and the extra "work" involved in adding activities to my current "routine" (volunteer work, "cleaning up my act" at home, etc).

Writing about "work" is tough, because frankly, it brings up something I've been ashamed about for most of my life: I don't like work.

As far as I can remember, I never have.

It's a shameful thing to admit (Says the guy who has a recurring role on a show called Shameless), because you're supposed to "work hard" and not be "lazy" ("The Puritan Work Ethic" and all that). If you're not a hard-working, industrious person, you are not a "good" person, which means, by extension, that you don't deserve good things.

I used to look at it in an "I'm a bad person" sort-of-way, because I think life primed me to look at everything through "I'm a bad person"-glasses.

But at this stage, I find myself reflecting on it, not as a symbol of my essentially shitty character, but as a sign that, clearly, "something went wrong".

I think, really, a lot of "somethings" went wrong, but two things in particular factored in hugely - 1) My high IQ, and 2) my sleep apnea (Un-diagnosed till I was in my 30s).

I think - and I'm just making the connection here - that it's the same reason I didn't do well in school; I found what was available to me deadly dull.

And that would be tough all-by-itself for an exceedingly bright guy like me...but add in that I was already fighting just to stay awake most of the time (A battle I continue to wage), and it's no wonder "work" quickly became a four-letter-word.

I could "unpack" this difficulty with work further - relative lack-of-support (No adults in my life working very hard to help me "find my way"), limited opportunities for development, etc - but frankly, I don't find it terribly interesting, because it's "old news".

I'm revisiting "The Work Thing" because of the recent business at my job (Where someone new to the area was put in over me as the 1st Receptionist, at the Sunday meeting I'd worked at for 6 years).

And I don't really want to "litigate" the situation in here (I was never given any specifics regarding the decision, and it's pretty hard to fight the extremely amorphous issue of "chemistry"). I just bring it up because it's led me to revisit my lifelong troubled relationship with "work".

I started out saying that I'm "ashamed" of the fact that I don't like work. And I don't. I'm not very good at it, because I find it boring, and tiring, usually not terribly rewarding (Emotionally or financially), etc.

(My broad assessment of myself as a "worker"? I tend to enjoy, and be fairly good at, "the people part" of a job, but find everything else some degree of "boring". I'm smart, so I can do whatever-it-is, but I don't like it, and I never get much pleasure or satisfaction from it, which means I just want to get through it - I am definitely not what you'd call a "details man". And my lack-of-interest means I never really rise above "adequate" when it comes to what I think of as "The 'job' part of the job". I've worked all my adult life, and have never been "The Best" at whatever-I'm-doing.)

But I'm not really feeling "ashamed" at this point - because, really, why would I want to do something that, most of the time, just leaves me tired and bored? - as much as "trapped" (I might not like to work, but I do like having a roof over my head and eating food and all that), and "regretful".

Why "regretful", you might ask?

Because I wish someone had seen me when I was a kid. I wish someone had taken notice of who I was and what I seemed to like, had picked up on my talents, had believed in me and seen me as "exceptional" (As a kid, I couldn't have seen that in myself, because I was too busy just feeling weird and unloved).

And I wish I had found, within myself, the strength, the courage, to realize "I'm not like everyone else. What normal people do bores me and makes me tired and unhappy. I need to find my own way".

I didn't do that.

I was too fearful.

Instead, I straddled the line between the two, working dead end jobs (That didn't satisfy me, and probably not the people I worked for either), and doing the things that "spoke to me" (Acting, journaling, etc) in "my spare time".

As a result, I'm about to turn 54, and I have very little to show for my life.

So I regret my fear. I regret my "failure to commit". My failure to "own" who I really am as a person.

I wish I hadn't just "felt bad" about my discomfort with "work" - I wish I'd seen it as a "message from the Universe" ("This life isn't for you, go find the one that is").

I'm not sure I can "turn things around" at this point. I feel more fearful than ever in a way (My series of shitty dead-end jobs now leaves me heading into old age with no money), and it's starting to feel like there's not a terribly meaningful place here in Hollywood for me as an actor.

What do I do now? Can I still "blaze a path" toward something that's meaningful to me in whatever-amount-of-time-I-have-left?

What would that even entail?

I don't know.

But I have to try and find out.


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