I knew this day would come. Finally, finally, FINALLY! I’m here. It’s me. I have arrived.
But where is here? Simply, sadly: I am right back where I started.
I have arrived, alright. Full circle.
I’ve been putting off writing this post, because doing so requires an uncomfortable degree of honesty and self-awareness, and that scares me. But that’s all the more reason why I need to vomit these thoughts out, both for my own sake, and because I have a duty to whichever readers are using my experiences to help guide their own life choices.
Two years ago, I introduced myself:
“Less than two hours into the project, and already my legions of admiring readers (Hi Grandma!) are hungry for some biographical details. Or so I assume.
I am a twenty-five year old office drone, one year into a promising career as a (yawn). I studied (boring) at the University of (meh) before getting a (lucrative professional designation) from the U of (alright). I work for (huge, faceless bureaucracy) in the (whatever) department and have been there for almost one year. I make about $XX,XXX, plus benefits and great job security. If I stick with my career track, I can easily be making $XXX,XXX by the time I’m thirty! With that income, and assuming at least one close relative dies before then, I’ve calculated that by I’ll be able to buy a house in (prestigious neighbourhood) as long as I’m dating a girl who makes at least $XX,XXX and has a maternity benefits package. Furthermore, if I assume that private tuition and designer baby clothes prices increase less than 5% per year, I’ll be able to afford two kids, and still be able to retire by 57! And buy a convertible! And a new deck! And…
OK, that’s enough. I know it’s satire, but it’s still depressing as hell to write that. It’s scary. Sometimes I feel like I went to sleep an eighteen year old, and woke up twenty-five. Well, how do I know I won’t go to sleep tonight and wake up forty?
That’s why this blog is not going to be about who I am right now. I’m not going to talk about the University of (meh) or the (whatever) department, because they do not matter.
Instead, I will use this space to write about who I want to become. I’m not interested in the version of myself that wears a tie every day and pretends to care about his coworker’s weekends. Neither are you. So I will write about the man I aspire to be: The Writer. The Musician. The Performer. The Entrepreneur. The man who has tried the beaten path and found it lacking.”
And today, I look at myself in the mirror and I ask: Truly, what has changed?
One year ago, I quit my job and bought a one-way ticket to Bangkok. At the time, if you had asked me to describe what sort of life I was expecting for myself upon my return, I would have said something like this:
I’m home. I’m making enough money via book sales to not have to work, but perhaps I do anyways, just for the fun of it and the extra spending money. I’ve achieved some degree of internet celebrity, and possibly even seeped into the mainstream media consciousness. I’ve published three books, each of which has been released to wide acclaim. I’ve started sketching out my fourth, a journal of an epic road trip across the United States, charting the ruins of the dying American Empire, partying with and interviewing the great Manosphere writers, and meeting readers. I’m also free to start planning the next one-way flight to Buenos Aires, Warsaw, Tehran, or Tokyo.
In short: I had decided to leave behind the world of grey cubicle walls, petty office politics, and ‘face time.’ I was going to be a writer. An entrepreneur. A Free Man.
But today I declare: I have fallen short of that goal. I have failed. I am right back where I started, and two years older. Still young, at twenty-seven, but not so young as I was. To my list of concerns, I have recently added: Tooth sensitivity. Time marches on.
Why didn’t I make it? I touched on a few of the reasons last week in Back To Reality: I spent more time living, traveling, and experiencing than writing, learning, and building. I drank a bit too heavily from the lifestyle design Kool-Aid cup. My goals were too ambitious, for the amount of work I was willing to put in.
Truly, I blame no one but myself for my present situation. And I’m not even sure if I blame myself. Should I have traded off my time meditating in an Ashram in the Himalayas, surfing in San Sebastian, or getting beat up my 120lb Thai dudes in Chiang Mai, for a few extra bucks in passive income? I think not.
But now I’m slipping into positive thinking, which is not what this post is about. Yes I can rationalize, I can look on the brighter side, I can examine my choices with the benefit of hindsight and decide that I’m perfectly happy with my choices – I can do all of that quite easily, and I often do.
But this post is about a fundamental truth about the past year of my life, that absolutely nothing can change: I set goals for myself, I visualized achieving them, and I incorporated my vision of where I wanted to be today into my overall life plan. And then I failed.
This past year has been the most interesting, most novel, and possibly most fun years of my life. But it has also been the year leading up to my greatest personal failure: Walking through the doors of my old office building and plopping my ass down for the first of God knows how many more eight hour days of cubicle drudgery.
But have no fear! Tomorrow, brace yourself, because we’ll come back with more positivity than the bastard child of a Care Bear and a My Little Pony.
Until then, we wallow in failure. Gentle reader: Tell us the story of your greatest moment of personal failure. How low did you sink? What did you learn? Most importantly, how did you bounce back?