Why Didn't I Listen
In between naps this weekend I took some time to evaluate my life, so far, and my conclusion was that, I could have done better.
I look at many friends, and acquaintances, and see how well they have done for themselves, and it reminds me of my weekly call to the school counselors where I was told that I was underachieving.
"Dan, if you would just apply yourself a little you could achieve so much more." I would assure them that I would do better and off I went, back to my skating by existence. How stupid do you have to be to continue to not try harder when you've been told you have something better in you 2000 times in your life?
It never mattered to me growing up, but I now see the error of my ways, if it makes any of those counselors happy. So, coming to grips with the fact that I messed up doesn't change the fact that my life is, what it is, and now how do I fix what I can.
Look, I wasn't a complete failure. I made a nice living, I owned a few houses along the way, had nice cars, and made many terrific friends. I believe that being a fan of Chicago sports teams gave me the wrong perspective on life. It isn't acceptable to go through life being mediocre, in spite of millions of people cheering you on. I blame my father and uncles for leading me in that direction. Damn Cubs fans.
I am not someone who generally looks back on things and cries, why oh why. Every decision I made along the way I made based on the best available information at the time and likely would make the same decisions today.
There are, however, two decisions that I would change if given the chance once again.
First, I would have finished college. There is no doubt that not having my degree cost me some important positions that might have changed my life. Not to mention, that the impressiveness of having attended, and graduated, from the 258th ranked college in the United States, Northern Illinois University, would have opened doors wide.
Second, I should have accepted the invitation from Keith Moon's girlfriend, and gone backstage with her, to meet The Who after the concert. Who says you make bad decisions on drugs and alcohol.
Now, after forty plus years in sales and marketing, I am semi-retired, and still in sales and marketing. Knowing I was going to hang it up soon, I decided to get my real estate license, a few years ago, so that I could keep busy if I found myself bored in retirement.
Last year I decided to spend all of my time doing real estate, and of course the worldwide pandemic hits, and everything comes to a compete stop. Things are still recovering, and the one thing I learned from not doing anything last year, was that I love not doing anything.
I informed my boss that I was going to, scale back, finish up the commitments I had, and call it a career. She decided to do everything she can do to make sure that doesn't happen by sending me more and more clients, and keeping me running like a fourth grader.
While I appreciate her wanting to help me earn some extra bucks, I am just mentally tired with the whole working world. While I was never at the elite level of the business hierarchy, I always worked my ass off for whomever it was that was paying me at the time. There was a period from 1998 thru 2006 that I was routinely gone from home nearly 170 night a year. Many of those nights were weekends.
Why Linda is still with me remains a mystery, but god bless her stickwithitness. There are not many women who would have done the same.
I don't know how it is for those of you who are still working, but, for me, I am never able to shut it down. If I am watching TV, my mind is racing thinking that I should be in my office doing something, even when there is nothing that needs to be done. I always feel like I am cheating someone if I am relaxing. This is the part of working that wears me out more than anything else.
As many of you know, I dabbled in writing over the years. I wrote for the high school paper, I was in the radio business, I wrote a golf league newsletter, and my friend Tom and I wrote a movie. It was all fun but it never was more than a diversion.
A little over a year ago, after years of Tom badgering me to do it, I started this blog. Guess what? After fifty years of trying to figure out what I wanted to be, it turns out what I wanted to be is a writer.
These thirty minutes, two or three times a week, are the most relaxing, and fun things, of my week. I love the process, the creative release, and the ability to get things off my chest, without physically hurting anyone. I wish I would have figured this out about thirty five years ago.
I have been told, by some, that I should use my writing to earn some money. Go pro, the say. For me, I am going to make another in a long line of bad decisions, and stay an amateur. If I go pro, it would just put pressure on me to write, and I love doing it for me right now. I appreciate that so many of you take the time to read these, it shocks me to tell the truth.
So, back to my original point in this, while I have the occasional pity party for myself, and of course I wish that I had about $2 million more in the savings, if I can just accept the fact that I did the best with what I put out there, I might be able to survive the remaining chapter of my life.