I Actually Have Nothing Figured Out
I’m 44 years old and I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.
I have always thought I had my life together. I have owned my home for over eleven years. I have a retirement fund. I have done a pretty good job raising a fairly well adjusted and smart teenager. Most of my plants are living. I floss regularly.
I don’t think I have a damn thing figured out.
All of these things I have mentioned are the signs of being an adult. Being an adult really isn’t a huge accomplishment when you think about the fact that we all become adults. It’s a biological fact.
I started writing this sitting outside of a tent in Willcox, AZ. Go ahead and take a minute to look that up on a map. I had to and I have lived in Arizona for 39 years. I was camping in a vineyard because they let you do that if you want and I really had nothing better to do that weekend.
I spent most of my first night writing and listing to the winemaker and the assistant winemaker work. These guys seemed to have it figured out. They are out here in the middle of nowhere, music blaring, crushing grapes, steaming barrels and filling them with juice.
They worked happily.
I write a lot about obligation. I feel a vast number of us live our lives according to what we should do.
We study in school. We get good grades. We go to college. We amass student loans. We get jobs and pay off said loans. We save money so that someday we don’t have to work.
I find it interesting how focused our society is on sending kids to school. The American dream still seems to hold a college education but has left home ownership behind. One value has increased whereas another has decreased. I’m not sure what this says about us as a society.
I feel like people used to be more inclined to do what they love. We fancy ourselves a very white collar society that doesn’t seem to value people who work with their hands anymore. It’s better to be an accountant. A lawyer. A doctor.
I suddenly felt myself craving a much more simple life. My career in my industry has spanned almost two decades. I’ve achieved a lot and I just feel…done.
I used to be incredibly ambitious. I wanted the brass ring. I wanted to smash the glass ceiling. That’s feeling is, well, gone.
I feel my life shifting backwards and I can’t tell if this is normal or not. I think most people set out on a path of growth and want to move faster, earn more, achieve more, own more. BE more. I want to be less because sometimes I feel like I’m not “being” at all. I’m just doing and doing and doing.
We have an entire generation that has embraced this and is running deep with it. They live in tiny houses, boats, vans. RVs. They travel the world finding themselves. They are early expatriates. Of course, we mock them for this.
I feel burdened down with obligation and expectation a lot of the time. I completely understand that this comes with adulthood and motherhood. But, I have one stamp in my passport. This year, I am actually banking an entire week of vacation because I didn’t use it.
When I have my review with my boss in January and he asks me about my goals, that is going to be an interesting conversation. My goals are simple: work less and use all of my vacation.
I have no aspirations any more. I don’t want a promotion. I want the opposite. I want to slow down. I spend a significant amount of time looking at well tuned spreadsheets to track my financial progress to see at what point can I quit my job and move to one that makes far less money that I can do just for the love of it. I want to be like those winemakers. I want to show up and do something I’m passionate about and not care what anyone else thinks about what I do or what I make or how big my house is.
It seems counter intuitive to want to work oneself from a high paying job to one that just pays the bills. But I have very real fears that life is and has passed me by. I have no idea what this looks like in five years for me but I’m not sure I really care.
I want my best years of my life to be now and not just ahead of me.