Monday, November 5, 2012

What's This Life For?

I'm having a rough night/day/week/month/year.

This is a long, whiny post, so read at your own risk.

Over the years I have come to terms with the fact that I am not a very flexible person. When things don't go as I expected or I have to change my plans at the last minute, I tend to freak out more than is strictly necessary.

It's led to a lot of issues with stress, depression and anxiety throughout my life. I do various things to manage these three things, but lately, I've sort of lost my handle on them all.

I'm having a bit of an identity crises these days...and the boyfriend, while being incredibly supportive of everything that i do...doesn't really understand.

Not sure anyone else will, either, really, but I'm going to try to explain where I'm coming from and why, suddenly, tonight, I am ready to give up everything I've been working for these last few years.

Ever since I graduated from college, back in 2006, I've been jumping from admin support job to admin support job at the University, never staying in any one department for more than a couple of years, all the while thinking, planning, anticipating the "next big thing," whatever that might be, that would get me out of higher ed. I applied to grad schools, odd writing/editing jobs, and when all of that failed, for awhile thought I was going to pick up and move 3000 miles to do a certificate program in a field I thought I was well-suited for.

All the while trying to write novels, mind you. Crappy novels that will never see the light of day, and a couple of pathetic short stories that read like fan fiction.

I expected that someday, maybe in my mid 40s, I would write a semi-decent novel and make some money off of it - enough that I could write a few more novels and eventually quit my day job.

But I knew I'd probably keep some form of day job until retirement age.

I fixated on editing as that day job. And for that, I needed some education.

I finally gave up on moving to Seattle and settled for an online certificate program offered through UC Berkeley. One of the best online schools out there, I might add.

So there I was, August of this year, excited because I had two novels ready to be edited, several short stories out for submission and one had been accepted, and about to begin my education that would start me on the path to my dream job as a freelance editor.

And then it happened: the beginning of the end.

I knew almost right away that things were not going to go exactly as I had hoped. By the second assignment, I realized I do not have an aptitude for editing, and I basically hate grammar.

Not only do I hate it, but I'm also bad at it. Like, embarrassingly abysmal. We've had our first couple of sentence-level editing assignments, and I have barely passed. The slop I turned in for tonight's assignment is barely recognizable as English.

And here I thought I was supposed to be good with words.


So now, I'm not only doubting my ability fix a disaster of a sentence, I'm beginning to doubt my ability to craft a coherent sentence. My writing must be horrible. I have dangling modifiers and split infinitives and comma splice galore in my novels. I'm not even sure, even after almost three months of class, that I know what all of that means.

I've already had my doubts about my ability to make a career out of writing. You've all read my dubious posts about that. But now it seems as if I was wrong about my being well suited as an editor, as well.

And so I stand under a scorching stream of hot water in the shower and cry because I have no idea what to do with my life, and I'm buried beneath my feelings of being trapped at a dead end job as administrative support for higher ed for the next 26 years until I can retire.

It's hard to complain because I have a good, solid job that pays well. The people I work with are fine, for the most part. The work is boring but not difficult. I'm good at it. I get to help people, which I enjoy, so there's some job satisfaction.

It's just so mind-numbing most days and I'm so far from where I want to be in my life. By the end of a 40 hour work week, all I want to do is come home and sleep or zone out to the TV.

I know it could be so much worse. I have a job, when so many people don't. I can pay my bills. I'm saving for retirement. I can actually afford to further my education. Not only that, but I have an amazing group friends, a loving family, a phenomenal boyfriend, I'm healthy, I'm still fairly young, and I have a lot of potential to do a lot of different things and the time to do them if I'm so inclined.

So why do I feel so defeated? So completely miserable? Why can't I be happy with all of the amazing things I have in my life?

What am I supposed to do with myself? Especially when I feel this way?

1 comment:

  1. Sorry to hear some prescriptivist grammar sorts are wreaking havoc on your unique and perfectly communicative and standard written English. Good heavens. Your writing is clear and precise, which are the primary qualifications of Good Grammar from my (not particularly authoritative) perspective.
    40 hour work weeks suck. But no matter how frustrating the day job, by night you are an amazing organizer and writer. You have done great work with our writing group and the Cafe. Your administrative know how makes you a terrific ML; you offer encouragement to other writers, and you help create spaces in which people write and connect and discuss the things we love, and these are the gifts which deserve the highest accolades.