Perpetual Adolescence

Something strange to notice these days, is how much time young adults spend trying to remain in their adolescence. A record number of young adults or choosing to remain living at home with their parents, or living with roommates into their thirties. While some of these people have good jobs and contribute at home; not their home, but their parents home, many of them eke out an existence working at a Starbucks or similar coffee shop, or in a music store. They tend to have useless degrees as well, such as sociology, associates level psychology, or the dreaded gender studies. These are expensive courses that put people in terrible that while not preparing them financially to pay that debt back.

These are the people you see protesting all the time. They join groups like Antifa and travel around the country, unwashed and angry. They’ve got the time for it, because they’re not working an actual job. They tend to be very aggressive toward those that promote the STEM fields in school, and try to surround themselves with people much younger than them, more impressionable. 

Psychologist and cultural critic Jordan Peterson calls this a Peter Pan existence. This title makes sense. Peter didn’t want to grow up, and despised anyone who did. Captain Hook was the specter of adulthood, with the crocodile constantly chasing him, ticking, ticking, constantly ticking. A literal form of mortality. Time had already gotten a taste for him, and wanted the remainder.

Isn’t that just how it is though? We spend every day heading toward the end, inevitable and inexorable. We don’t get a choice in it, and yet, among the generation known as millennials, there is an idea that you can remain young until you suddenly wither and die. 

These are people for whom, when they reach their thirties and finally have to open themselves up to reality, things are going to be much harder because of the years they have wasted thinking that they are the ones that know better. These are people who are going to be bitter, angry, frustrated that their reward for trying to change the course of the country will be laboring until their final day.

Those of you who are reading this and have escaped that fate, good for you. Those of you who are reading this, however, and are still paying money into a course that’s only going to teach you how to divide people up into groups, get out before it’s too late. You deserve better, and so do the people around you.

There’s nothing that says personal responsibility better than piloting your life in a direction that’s not going to hurt yourself or those around you.

Depression.

Depression can sure be a bitch, can’t it? You think you’re out, and it pulls you right back in. This past week was supposed to be the start of something wonderful, a new page in the book of life. Instead, it has been a battle against myself for no prize. See, life isn’t necessarily treating this family well.

As patriarch of this family, I feel like it’s my duty to ensure that my family is protected from as much of the detritus of life as possible. Sadly, people who hide behind corporate phone numbers and computer screens don’t really have a duty to see to my ability to do that.

I had a job a while back. An injury put me on worker’s comp. The day I was released, medically, to return to work, they sent a letter in the mail that said my services were no longer required. I tried to keep my head up. I was certain that I would manage to make good of this situation. I began to blog. I began writing, and doing it earnestly. I continued to go on morning runs, and listen to thought-provoking podcasts.

Meanwhile, inside a part of my head I have no access to, something else also thought it would make good of this situation. Slowly, my motivation to do anything disappeared. My body felt like how you feel when you first step back out of a swimming pool. My tolerance for my wife and kids almost completely vanished. My tolerance for myself did completely vanish.

I tried going through the motions. Humans are creatures of habit, and no dumb depression is gonna keep me from creating a positive foundation, right?

Wrong.

So wrong.

I haven’t written in almost a week. I have done basic menial tasks when I’m feeling less heavy. Today I helped my wife shelf books at her new job. Her first job in six years. She’s excited, but it wasn’t even remotely the plan.

She’s excited about almost everything. She’s an amazing support, and I know I wouldn’t have made it without her.

She supports, and she knows me. She knows my depression well. She knows what it looks like and sounds like. Some days she can see it before I’m willing to admit it’s there.

She doesn’t understand it, though,

Those without depression have no idea what it’s like. They don’t know what the lead weight inside my head feels like. They don’t know what a constant bubbling anger under the surface feels like. The fear of anything that might set me off. The fear of saying or doing something I’ll regret before I can get it all back under control. There’s a desire to sequester myself, to lie in bed and hide under the covers until the storm passes.

I can’t though. Guilt eats me just as readily as depression. I disappear from my family for a day, or two, or three? I feel like I’m shirking responsibilities. So instead, I go through my day, half-assing some things, doing others properly, depending on the ebb and flow of chemicals in my brain. I keep my eyes on the job at hand. I stay quiet. Of course the kids notice. They’re very forgiving of a depressed daddy.

What kind of home is that to raise kids in, though? Daddy is supposed to be the protector, the walking party, and the law, all in one. He’s not supposed to cry in front of his wife and kids because he knows he’s failed at life because the chemicals tell him so.

I haven’t cried in front of them in a long time. I’ve learned to logic my way past all of that. I know the failure isn’t real, despite how well-made the simulation of it is. I know it’s all chemicals, and that it will stop in a few days. I just want it to stop now.

I get happy in the evenings, because I know the day is ending. I know that I might wake up in the morning feeling like myself again. I like myself. I sure as hell don’t like this guy that I am now.

I want me back.

 

 

Boy, this was kind of all over the place.

In the spirit of the feeling, how about this. I’m going to share one of my depression wallowing activities with you.

Have you heard of Jann Arden? Beautiful music. Her “Time For Mercy” album, and her “Happy?” album are deep, dark, warm pools to wallow in when I’m depressed. Give her a try, you’ll be sorry you did.

 

And, I’m done for now.

On Motivation

Most people think they know their motivation. Do you?

What motivates you?

Motivation is not just a buzzword. Your motivation is a deeply personal thing that only you truly know. You might not even know what it is, and this lack of knowledge could be what keeps you from reaching your true potential.

These days, in the United States, it seems like most people are motivated by bills, and keeping up with the joneses. There is such a desire to look successful even when you’re not, that people will work miserable jobs, long hours, and have an overall unfulfilling life.

When these people were in elementary school, and the teacher asked what they want to do, how likely is it that one of them said, ” I want to watch my hours burn away in a mailroom, and then working in front of a fryer, while my friendships erode around me”

More likely they said they want to be a firefighter or a police officer or a doctor. More likely their answers were rooted in the desire to do a job they’d enjoy rather than the desire to pay the bills using the job as a vehicle.

Are you doing what you like right now? If not, are you pointed in that direction?

You ought to be. If you hate your job, your free time ought to be spent finding a new one. A more fulfilling one. Maybe even a career. Your free time could be used to make yourself better for the life you want. School, or online coding classes, anything that will help you become the person you want to be.

I’ve found my motivation. My motivation is joy. Over the next few years, you’ll learn more about me, and you’ll see why it took three decades to figure this out, and why it’s such a revelation to me.

Until then, go seek out your motivation.