Wednesday, 03 August 2016 14:29

A Frank Evaluation Of Self

I'm 42 years old, and right now, I really feel like I haven't done anything meaningful with my life.

Sure, others say "you have a family", "You have a good job", "you aren't struggling!" but they don't feel what I feel.

The Struggle Is Real

I work long hours. There are people that depend on me. There are calls waiting to be made, and I'm in a virtual prison with a ball and chain clasped to my ankle... It's called work.

Worst part about it is that all my efforts... MY 60-80 hours a week... They're dedicated to making the CEO even richer.

There's Three Parts To A Man's Life

Someone in my distant past said something I'll mever forget.

"There's three parts to a real man." I was sitting across from the sales manager at a retail outlet that I worked at. The job itself sucked. I was working on commission, selling computer equipment in a big box store. When you're fighting with 20 other sales guys for the same customers, generally speaking, no one is making money except the sales manager and higher up the food chain that see performance bonuses for all the work we're doing.

"A man has a Work Life." He continued. "This life is the most important part of your life as a Man. You have to provide for your family, and work is the vehicle that makes it all come together." Easy for him to say when he is making a six figure income. He doesn't know the struggle of what amounts to be $5 an hour when you take the commission and divide it by working hours.

"When you work hard, and sell good, you become more valuable to the company. You get promoted, and eventually you become a sales or district manager like me, making that six figure income." In reality, the man had gone through two divorces, was paying child support on at least two kids, and still lived like a collage frat boy.

I would also eventually find out what he said was complete BS. Everyone is replacable. The harder you work, the more work they give you. They don't promote you because no one else is going to work as hard for as little pay as you do. You will be stuck as I am now, in a dead end job where all your bosses say you're an amazing employee, but you sit there and watch slackers get the big pay raises and promotions as you work your ass off.

"A real man has a personal life, away from work, but that is far less important" The district manager continued as I sat there.

"The reason it's far less important is because that side of life is your wife's job, just as this is yours." He puffed on his cigarette, filling the room with a thick cloud of smoke. "Your wife is responsible for doing her job. Cooking, Cleaning, Taking care of the kids..." And smiling slyly he added, "And of course, making sure your desires and needs are met whenever you need her. That's her job." At the time, I didn't really fathom the wrongmess of this last part. I was 22 and still very green and idealistic.

"Finally, there's the dark side." He said sitting back.

"This is the part of a man that no one sees. It's where you emotions lie. When you're alone, and it's just you." He stood up, extinguishing his cigarette.

"I can't tell you what the dark side is. It's different for every man. Some call it the ghosts in the closet, but only you know what 'the dark side' really means to you."

For whatever reason, I never forgot what he said that day. It's still as clear as when I sat there, a young, impressionable sales guy that was hungry to make money and live the good life (that never came).

Those three aspects in life are how I divide up my life right now, and as honestly as I can be, this is what life is like for me in regards to those three parts.

The Work Life

This part of life (if that's even what you call it) dominates almost 60% of my waking hours in any given weekday. It's a menial existance of doing what the boss wants, wether it makes sense or not. I push paper, walk around with the phone to my ear, and am working really hard for the sake of working. There's no purpose to working in my corporate environment. Meetings last for hours with no action plans or no takeaways... We're just a bunch of head bobbing YesMen working for a biweekly paycheck that's already spent twice over.

When I look back on the last five years at work, I see no progress in anything that I've done for the corporation.

I get my measly 1.5% "cost of living" raise and a three digit Christmas bonus that's heavily taxed and rediculously small compared to the millions of dollars the company makes every quarter.

Personally, I haven't learned anything new. I'm more like a robot that's programmed to look VERY busy.

I work for work's sake.

I go to work. I check my endless email. I get about 10% of what needs to be done completed because no one else is finishing their part, check email again, eat a lackluster lunch because I can't afford to go out to eat every day like the bigwigs, and finally go home, mentally drained and spent.

The Home Life

Pulling into the driveway of our modest three bedroom rented house (that sucks up half the monthly income, I might add), sucks whatever life I have left right out of me.

Often times, I'll sit in the driveway searching my empty soul for some kind of motivation. Rarely I find anything to keep me going.

My wife is more like a house mate. She has lost all the love and desire for me, nor does she really believe in me anymore. The big dreams we once had of traveling, going on Missionaries to foreign countries are gone, as is her love and desire for me.

These days, and for the last year and a half, we've slept in separate beds. She closes the door at night and locks it like I'm some kind of stranger. Our conversations are more like bickering, arguments and underhanded jabs than a married couple that are sharing a life together. I can't remember the last time she kissed me, much less held hands or hugged. I don't remember what love was like when we dated because it's so far gone from our current life, and there's nothing that seems to be able to bring her back to me.

The kids know who I am, but they aren't getting any lasting memories with dad. They see a broken man come through the door at 8 or 9 at night. They watch as I eat a late, cold dinner while mom sits on the couch lost in drama shows. They go to bed knowing their dad will be gone to work before they even wake in the morning.

On weekends, I am just tired. I get through the day in a haze. My mind is plagued with our financial issues, the loss of a partner in life, and all the crap that I have to pretend to do at work on Monday.

I do spend time with the kids on weekends. I feel guilty and ashamed that the best dad I can be is a Weekend Dad. It's like my wife and I are divorced, yet living in the same house, and having the kids on the weekends is my responsibility.

I can feel the stagnation in our household. Just like my workplace, we're just living for living's sake. We're going through the motions, but we don't feel it. It's more like we're just surviving in a suburban life that is completely unexciting and unrewarding.

The Dark Side

As the district manager said, the Dark Side is the part of a man that never comes out... but it's going to.

Painful as it is for me, the dark side has become this website.

This is the vehicle where I put my darkest thoughts and feelings, among other things. It's where I tell all to a world of strangers that I may never meet.

Perhaps some of you may identify with me in the struggles of life, perhaps you may disagree, either way, this site is all about identifying what's not working in my life in all aspects and not just fixing things, but taking the massive action required to really make the big changes needed to redesign our lifestyle in a meaningful, exciting way.

A Live Case Study In Lifestyle Redesign

That's what it's all about. I am finally sick to death of being stagnant while my hopes and dreams fade to nothing. For years, I've been the workhorse -- the blood, sweat and tears that others use to get rich and live fantastic lives. This website is one of the first steps to rebooting my life and becoming exactly what I want and what I always dreamed of.

It's time to work for me.

Sure, I have to keep money rolling in, but after reading the 4 hour workweek cover to cover three times, everything makes more sense. I realize why I've never made it. Why all those other slackers got the promotions and raises. Why I'll never get anywhere unless I do something now.

This website is the journey to a better, healthier and more fulfilling life.

-- The Purpose Driven Dad