“Are you stuck in a rut? Does life make you feel like you’re on a treadmill, constantly running and getting nowhere? Well, stick around because boy, do I have the answer for YOU!”
The above sentence is, of course, complete nonsense. And yet, there’s a lot of this going around.
Look, I love the Internet. There is more knowledge, more communication, more connection than you could ever handle in a lifetime. There is also another thing that gets forgotten: More inpsiration.
That’s right! Like lots of other people, I have discovered what is sometimes called the “manosphere,” but which I just like to refer to as “men.”
Like most males of the species, I do not have many friends that I see on a regular basis. My “social support group” or whatever you want to call it can be counted on one hand. Through nobody’s fault but my own, I have let my friendships dwindle down to mere acquanitences, and it feels futile, and even daunting, to try to rekindle them.
Enter the Internet. There are lots and lots of men talking about these things, and how to navigate a life that seems not quite deisgned for you to live in. A lot of it is in good fun and the spirit of true self-improvement. Some of it has even been helpful!
I’m not here to knock any of it, even though I don’t agree with all of it.
But sometimes I do look at these people–older than men, younger than me, the same age and me–who seem to have it all figured out, and I have to tell myself, before I get too depressed, that everyone is different.
And also that this is the Internet. Lots of people are trying to sell themselves. While 99% of what they do is given away for free, and it’s eminently fair to offer that remaining 1% for a price (usually low), there is an element of puffery.
Still, it’s inevitable that we compare ourselves to others, even when we know that can sometimes be a fool’s game. But without something to aspire to, where do we go?
Sadly, I know the answer to that. You go to a pretty dark place and it’s tough to get out.
But at least a dark place feels like SOMEWHERE, even if it’s not a somewhere you want to set up permanent shop.
Being on life’s treadmill, though . . . treading water . . . is almost more miserable in its mediocrity.
You’re just going . . . nowhere.
Or as one of my favorite bands puts it:
Runnin’ twice as fast to stay in the same place
Don’t catch my breath until the end of the day . . .
–Faith No More, “Ricochet“
“It’s temporary,” you might say. “We’re all in this situation at some point.”
True . . . but fifteen or so years can sure seem like an eternity.
So while I have no answers for how to get off, I can continue to use my life as a cautionary tale to make sure that you don’t get on the treadmill of life.
For starters, as Alexander Juan Antonio Cortes adroitly points out, everything is your fault. Or as another favorite musician of mine puts it:
(You knew I’d find a way to work Zappa in here, didn’t you?)
Advice is great and all, and I know that there are those who warn against the dreaded P-word (passion), but I’m not necessarily one of them: You’ve got to be smart about what you do in life. Don’t make huge life decisions on the spur of the moment. This is not the kind of passion I’m defending. But if you pursue something that you really hate, then your chances of finding success will be quite low. You don’t have to love what you do, just tolerate it. And make sure that it’s something you have an aptitude for.
Another thing, and this goes especially for the men, have your finances together before you do anything involving relationships, a family, a car, a house, that sort of thing. There are no shortcuts here. Slay the debt monster before it starts to follow you everywhere you go.
Lastly, I’m begging any younger people out there, do not, I repeat, DO NOT waste your twenties. Yes, it’s fun to be free of responsibility, running wild and letting others pick up your messes. But you will pay for it later when later on you want to make something of your life and, to your shock and horror, you have no marketable skills!
And that, my friends, is how you end up in law school.
Besides, a fun and fancy-free twenties is a historical anamolly. Even in our grandparents’ day, you were a man by the time you were eighteen, not an adult child.
Let me tell you, not being able to do what you want when you’re a kid is bad. But not being able to do what you want when you’re an adult sucks more than it’s possible for just about anything to suck.
So let me clear my throat, put on my hat, and try my sales pitch again:
“Are you a young person, maybe in your early twenties? Do you want a life full of achievement and constant forward motion? Then boy do I have something for you! Just follow these easy steps and stay off of life’s treadmill for good!”
And check out my Instagram here.