My life to this point has always been about doing what is expected of me. Unfortunately, even in this path I have not succeeded. I dropped out of school, I bailed on a job that my Father secured for me when I was late in my teens, and the only job that made him somewhat proud of me was a dead end career in the towing industry that paid the same now as it did five years ago. So I made a decision two weeks ago. It was to quit my dead end job as a tow truck driver and pursue a trade. Apprentice electrician. Hey, I like electricity, and I enjoy the process of getting the power from the plant to my coffee maker I can hardly afford. But, unfortunately, I don’t feel right doing it. I feel like I do not belong. Many say this is because it is new, and eventually I’ll fall into it and make a niche for myself. But deep inside, I don’t feel I will. Sure, I may learn it well, and even excel. But, right now it does not feel that way. Friday, I sat down at a new site I’ve never been to, don’t know who to talk to, and have all these tradespeople running around doing their own thing. I finally foud the general contractor and he puts me through orientation. There’s talk about fall protection and using various pieces of equipment, and I wasn’t entirely sure I even know what pieces of equipment he was referring to. After the orientation, I wandered around looking for my foreman, whom I’ve met once before but couldn’t recall what he looked like, and became almost incapacitated by the awkwardness and the unfamiliarity with the situation. Through the whole ordeal I thought to myself, “I don’t belong here”.
So where do I belong. Perhaps this article is written to be completely self serving, or perhaps many have been through this. But this isn’t where I want to be. The thought of being a journeyman electrician only appeals to me because it would make the people around me proud. Well, maybe not proud, but they’d accept me as a man. They would not think of me as a boy. Is this what I want? I am not sure. When people ask me what I want to do, I think back to the scene in office space where Peter realizes that, if he had one the lottery, he would do absolutely nothing all day, I identified with that. Obviously, I don’t want to be a couch potato. What I want to be is in control of my day, in control of my life. I get up and do what I want when I want to. I am the master of my life. But then the power shuts off, and my car gets repossessed. So the sad fact of our existence is that we have to work in order to maintain a certain level of happiness, to maintain the things we like and live in society. I do like it here. So why can I not do something that I have a natural talent for? Well, to do this requires school. Therein lies the rub. I am no good at school, I could never pay attention, and every time I would have to write notes, my eyes would water and I would yawn profusely. I don’t know why I did that, but I think it was because I didn’t enjoy it, and my body wanted me to know it. This is why school never worked out. So now, to do the things I want, I require college, or some form of post secondary. I am unable to do it. I can’t do school.
So, where does that leave me? An uneducated, apprentice electrician, whose day is filled with awkwardness and the feeling of being very much alone. What can I do to escape this? This is the unanswered question that Ive spent my life trying to answer. I don’t want anyone disappointed with me, but I don’t want undue stress in my life associated with a job I don’t like, or want. Many people say that you only have so many years on this planet, and I should spend them doing the things I want. I agree with this, I just have no idea how to do it. Do I live on the street? Do I live in the wilderness, hunting rabbits for food? This isn’t what I want either. So, I thought about it. Maybe I can write. Maybe I can share my experiences and thoughts and feelings with the outside world. But people don’t like hearing other people complain about life problems. Everybody has them. What I need to do is intrigue them. What can I do in my life that I can write about to intrigue the masses, and to convince somebody to pay me for it? I am a storm chaser, but thats only in the summer months, and I live in Alberta where people don’t really pay attention. Do I travel? Could I be a travel writer like every other writer wants to be? Sure I could, but the competition has a college degree and I have grade 9 english (Which to the best of my recollection, I failed). How do I break free from the constraints I have put on myself?
By now you may have realized this may not be the guide to a happy life, exactly. I write this on a sunday, and tomorrow its week 3 at the stress factory, where I have yet another orientation. I either need to escape from it, or do nothing. This decision must be made now, or not made at all. 1 year after my death, my legacy will not count for anything, unless I invent something cool. But I probably won’t do that. So, if Im not worried about what I look like after my death, why should I be worried about what happens before it? A journey begins with a single step, but maybe its time to take that step. I’m not sure what my intent was when I first started typing these words, but maybe this could be the greatest key to unlocking the mystery of my life. Don’t do something you may regret, but the far worse choice is to not do anything at all.