Gather 'round, cowpokes. It's Saturday night and it's time for cleaning out some stalls around the ol' Confession Ranch. You know what they're full of, so grab a shovel. It's knee-deep around here.
Stall #1: I was an Amway distributor for about a year in the early 90s. Oh yeah. I went to the rallies, attended the meetings, listened to the tapes, read the self-help books, I even tried to recruit a couple of people. In my defense, I was bored and aimless and I had a massive crush on my sponsor. Isn't that the way it always goes? I discovered a few things about myself in the process and I ate a lot of vitamins and power bars along the way, so it wasn't a complete wash. I discovered I am neither a capitalist nor an entrepreneur. I also discovered that my dream was not the so-called American dream. I discovered that I am not what you would call a networker, but I did learn how to "Win Friends and Influence People" - but not really because I always felt disingenuous putting ol' Dale Carnegie's tips to use. These were all important discoveries even though I didn't realize it at the time and spent a lot of time wondering what was wrong with me. My sponsor asked me what I would do with an extra $5000 a month and I said I would help pay off my parents' debts and then give some to charity. I think I was supposed to buy a fur coat or something. Regardless, I watched people from all walks put themselves out there, risk their credibility and their dignity for something they believed in. This is admirable. A lesson could be learned.
Stall #2: I would rather be the Chief of Staff than the President. I would rather be the guy who works hard to make things work. I would rather be the one behind the scenes than the one in public view. I would rather retire quietly to the sidelines and cheer on a more charismatic person. This drove my mother crazy while I was in high school. One of my best friends was extremely popular and had a great way with people. I would help him execute his wild schemes and he would get the credit. This didn't bother me. Especially when the recognition for the wild schemes came in the form of detention. Now I have extremely charismatic kids. I don't know why, people just like them. So once again, I get to be in my comfort zone - in the background - while they get the attention and make the friends. For some reason this doesn't bother my mother, even though it's basically the same thing.
Stall #3: I have harbored a dream since I was quite young of being an author. Of books. Of actual, tangible books. For a long time I kind of thought that if I just kept writing enough, someone would come along and notice my Norma Jeans and turn them into Marilyns. Now I've known for some time that's not really how things work and I've finally gotten over the strange Puritanical hurdle that writing is a frivolous pastime, but I wonder if I've got the gumption. I have this fear cloaked as laziness (or laziness cloaked as fear, who can tell these things?) that holds me back from really sitting down and working something out. (See Stalls #1 & #2 for lack of entrepreneurial spirit, ability or desire to self-promote, etc.)
**If this is getting boring, you should Google "pannus" (be sure to have it set on Images) and then you'll want to read anything.**
Stall #4: I was a theater major for a few years in college. I loved acting, loved the stage, the lights at my feet, a room stuffed with people I couldn't see, sitting in orderly rows, waiting for me to speak. I appeared in two public access cable shows: The Hot Plate, and University Boulevard. I am terrified that they will turn up on YouTube somewhere (don't go looking for them.) I did not enjoy the competition and self-promotion. The theater parties were always fun because they involved costumes. They were also a tedious bore because have you ever been in a room full of drunken thespians trying to out-Shakespeare each other? So I dropped out of school for a while and ended up getting my degree in psychology which is almost the same as theater.
Stall #5: My youngest child is going to school full time in the fall and it's put me in a bit of a state. I am ready for him to go, I will not cry when I drop him off. He is ready to go and I would not deprive him of the absolute joy and excitement of that first day by getting all mired in my own angst. But it has put to the forefront of my mind lately that the career I left to stay home with the kids is no longer really waiting for me. Nor am I anxious to pursue it again. I am floating above this whole thing just observing for now. I am somewhat appalled that I'm 37 years old and I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. Except an old man, but that's still a few years down the road.
I'm just stalling.
Originally published on Periphery.
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