I've been thinking about my life lately.
Those of you who know me know that "I've been thinking about my life" lingers somewhere on my list of phrases between "I need to go to the bathroom" and "I'm going in for my prostate exam today."
Given the fact that I have a morbid imagination, sitting around thinking about life never comes to any good. I inevitably depress myself, and the main effect of that is that I get unusually quiet. Being quiet at all is pretty damn unusual for me, honestly.
I've come this far through life by barreling through it like a blinded bull in mating season, and I think it's worked out well. Overall, I know that my problems are small and petty, and I'm well-adjusted enough that people feel comfortable discussing their lives with me, since I'm a good listener and won't try to butt in with my own problems. I just don't think my problems are worth talking about, since I know that given time and effort they'll work out without anyone ever needing to hear me whining.
But I turn 28 in four weeks, and the state things are in has me thinking hard about where I am, and where I hoped to be at this age when I was younger.
You see, when I started writing this sort of thing in earnest, I didn't just write jokes to make people laugh, but to make a point. The jokes told a story in and of themselves, pointed out little things that wouldn't necessarily have gotten expressed in narrative, and while I'm not deluding myself into believing that I was doing any sort of hard-hitting journalism, I like to think that people at least "remembered" what I was talking about and learned something.
I'm okay with that to a point - you write what you know, and I know my own little quirks and anxieties well enough to know what other people will find funny about them. And certainly, comedy as a method of self-examination is an established and often popular form.
But I think about if I'm doing enough with my voice, even in the most insignificant ways. But here I sit watching countless horrors inflicted by people on each other and the world out of fear, ignorance and anger while I just shake my head and wait for the political climate to change. Were two World Wars so that I could sit on my hands in freedom and shake my head at the ridiculous lengths people will go through to appease their fears and keep themselves in power? I vote diligently and in ways I think are responsible, but what am I doing, really? Talking about how blackjack dealers named Howard and Peter Costello will take your money while conveniently ignoring how the government is afraid of my tiny tubes of TOILETRIES while soldiers are going out every day and dying in what has rapidly become a self-fulfilling prophecy of hate and unrest.
What am I DOING with myself? What SHOULD I be doing with myself? It's never too early or late to be asking yourself this question, and it seems like I haven't asked it in far too long.
Part of this goes back to my job, too. I'm not complaining about the job itself; I have no right to complain about the commute. But what am I doing here? My job here is not to entertain and inform, it's to make people give their dosh to the very same blackjack dealers named Howard and Peter Costello. Can I really say that this is what I plan to be doing for the rest of my life? Can I say that this is what I want to be doing by this time next year?
What does that make me? That's a stickier question, and it's contributing to a lot of time spent staring at the ceiling. What am I doing, and how does that compare to what I should be doing?
What have I accomplished over the last year that I can be proud of, really? When I look back at 2006, will I look at it as the year that I became financially stable and paid off my debts? Is that what I'm wanting out of life? Will this be the year that I gave up on the succession of dreams I had been living previously and settled for stability?
So I usually shut up about it and keep these kind of things to myself so that they don't bother other people. But sometimes I can't help but wonder, and that's when I slow down and try and figure out why. There will be of me wondering what I'm doing at this stage of my life at the moment, and then I'll return to being the weirdo you're used to; it's just that sometimes, you can't help but sit down and dump your troubles into your keyboard, which after it's all said and done aren't really worth bothering about in the first place.
*By age 28 William Pitt the Younger was already PM of England, was up for re-election and decided to annexe Australia.