I think it’s time for some serious self reflection part 2

Let’s just get down to it, eh?

I think the most important issue to analyze is my education.

I went to college right out of high school because that’s what was expected of me. Due to some health problems I bounced in and out for a few years before ultimately dropping out.

I went back a few years later, again, because that’s what was expected. I graduated with a STEM degree. One reason was because I really enjoy science. The other was because all I heard was that it would be easy to get a job. Yeah. Not so much. My first job out of school paid less than 25k a year. But I plugged away, changed jobs twice, and finally was making a decent living.

But there was nowhere for my career to go. As it turned out, I really wasn’t a fan of bench work. So based on my education and skill set I had hit a ceiling in a career I really didn’t like. What to do, what to do.

So I went back to an online program and got my MBA. Again, everyone I talked to said I wouldn’t have a hard time finding a job at all with my education and skill set!

Yeah. 23 months later and no job.

I’m going to be honest, there were times that I weren’t as diligent as I should have been in looking for a job. A combination of depression and discouragement were big factors there.

But let’s get down to brass tacks.

I feel like every educational decision I made has been the wrong one. After I dropped out of my first undergrad program, I wanted to go to a trade school. Be a mechanic. But I felt like that wasn’t an option due to familial pressures. That just wasn’t an acceptable option for “someone of my intelligence.” And yes, that was actually said.

And after getting into my career, I felt the only option I had was more school.

I regret that too.

Looking back to 13 years ago when I went back to school, I wish I would have been strong enough to stand up to my family and did what I wanted to, rather than what was expected of me.

I’ve done a lot of thinking and soul searching over the past few weeks, and far too often I’ve done what other people expected of me rather than what I wanted to do.

I don’t think anyone, barring Mike, has any idea of how much I regret so many of the choices I’ve made in my life. At the very core I’m very unhappy with my life. But I don’t know how, at this point, to change things.

Maybe once I get a new job, and ten years down the line I’ll feel differently. But right now I have so many regrets, so many things that I wish I would have done differently. So many ways I wish I could have lived my life differently.

It’s hard to admit all of that. And for once I can’t even blame the bipolar or anxiety or mental health issues. This is all on me and my desire not to rock the boat and do what was expected. I feel like just about every decision I’ve ever made has been the wrong one for all of the wrong reasons. And I don’t see a way out of this. I just hope that I can find a new job soon and maybe try to turn some of this around.

New year, new me?

I’m normally not one that’s big on New Year’s resolutions. But I need to make some changes in my life, and New Year’s seemed like as good a time as any.

So I quit smoking. I did switch to vaping, but my intention is by the end of the year to be off of that too. I started at a lower nicotine level than I probably should have, but so far so good. Haven’t had a cigarette since the first. Go me. I know some people will say that that’s not really quitting blah blah blah. But I quit this way before when every other method I tried failed miserably. My doc and my shrink on board, it’s time to do it. It helps that Mike and I are doing it together.

I need to lose weight. I’m overweight, and I carry all of it between my middle and my knees. I feel like I’m waving a welcome sign for type 2 diabetes. So grocery shopping today wasn’t buying the crap we normally consume. I bought salmon, a butt load of chicken breast, avocados, a ton of fruit and vegetables, whole grains. I’m going to do this. I’m not getting any younger (as the turn of the year made me realize I’ll be 37 this year), and I realized I don’t want to be like my family. I love them all dearly, but they’re all overweight with a ton of medical problems. I need to get this in hand. Now.

I finally took my shrink’s advice and started CBD oil to try and help with my anxiety. I went with the vaping route since I was doing that anyway, and also the research I did said you get a higher bioavailability if you vape it versus using it as a tincture.

I need to get healthy, I need to get my shit in order, and I need to get a new job. I need to make a concerted effort to do all of these things. No more screwing around. Time to get serious about my health, mental health, and physical well-being. I am the first to admit that since the depressive episode in 2017 my mood has been much more stable. I feel more grounded. The bipolar tendencies are mostly under control. For the first time in a long time, I actually feel stable. I think quitting that toxic job has a lot to do with it, as well as finally being on medication that actually works. But my anxiety, I recently told Mike that’s become like an old friend I take everywhere with me. I always have a low level of anxiety simmering in the background. And then it spikes. And I want to crawl in a corner and die.

I did email my therapist. I haven’t seen him in a few months, but I think now is as good as time as ever to get back into it. I think everyone assumed that when I quit my job my anxiety would magically disappear. To a degree it did, but in other ways, it’s worse. It’s almost like my body and my brain don’t know what to do now that they’re not under constant stress, so the anxiety just simmers in the background like it’s waiting to be called on.

I need to change. This is my commitment for the year. New year, new me. I’m done screwing around.

Regrets and the current state of affairs

I have a lot of regrets, and if I’m really being honest, I’m not happy with the direction my life has taken up to this point. But, I’ve started working on changing that – really knuckling under and making time to look for a new job, trying to get my finances in order, etc. But at the end of the day, yeah, I’m not happy. Not in the slightest.

I shouldn’t have gone back to college in the first place. I should have done the smart thing and gone to a trade school to be a mechanic or a welder or something along those lines. Going back and getting a 4-year degree is one of the biggest regrets of my life. It put me tens (that’s an under-exaggeration if ever I heard one) of thousands of dollars in debt. I don’t really care for the field I’m in. And when I wanted to change jobs, it was more of the same kind of place that I’m currently working. And I don’t want to do this anymore. My second regret is going back and getting an MBA. I fully understand that that is literally the only hope I have of getting out of the field I’m currently in, but yet again, more debt. But at the end of the day, everything related to my education I regret. A lot.

I shouldn’t regret getting an education. It should be something I’m proud of. But all I can think of is the debt that comes along with it, and the lack of success I’ve had finding a job. And I really think I should have just gone to be a mechanic and have been done with it. But that’s not something you do in my family. Everyone goes to college. It’s just how it is. And when I dropped out of Pitt, I felt a lot of pressure for the next three years to go back and finish. I wish I would have told them all to go hang.  I think that in the long run, I would have been a lot happier. Definitely a lot less stressed. Dear College Education, I shouldn’t have done you. You were a waste of time, money, and effort. I shouldn’t have listened to my family and instead did something totally different. Maybe I’d be no better off, but I wouldn’t have all of this debt. Or stuck in this godforsaken job. Maybe it would be another godforsaken job, but it wouldn’t be this one.

Between the house and our cars, we’ve had a number of things go wrong in the past year, and everything ended up getting put onto credit cards. We didn’t have a choice – we needed a new furnace/AC, we had to get the roof fixed, Mike’s car needed a couple thousand in repairs, the list goes on. But it’s put us in a bad spot right now. But I’m working on fixing it, and I’m starting to make some progress, but it’s going to be a long road.

I hate to even say this, but sometimes I regret staying with Mike. It’s not that I feel that I’d be better off alone, but more along the lines of he wouldn’t be saddled with me and all of my issues. And to be honest, there really are times when I would just rather be alone. I know that sounds selfish and kind of insane – I have a supportive partner that loves me and treats me well, why would I want to give that up? Sometimes I think it’s because then the only life I’d be screwing up would be my own and I wouldn’t be dragging him along for the ride to hell. He doesn’t deserve it.

I sometimes wonder what it would be like to be happy. I mean really, genuinely happy with life and the direction it’s going. I look at people I know that seemed to have gotten everything they’ve wanted, and I have to wonder if they’re even happy with that? Or do they just keep wanting more? Another promotion, a bigger house, another kid. Where and when does it end?

My mood these days is… brittle. Maybe that’s not the right word, but it’s all I can come up with. Generally, it’s fine (ok, my anxiety is still pretty bad, but that’s mostly manageable), but it feels as though one good hit and it’s going to break. Nothing is really wrong, per se… but I feel a little off-kilter. Not really unstable, but more like on uneven footing. A small pebble shifting will cause the whole hillside to go.

I’ll get through it; I always do. I just hate feeling like this. I hate all of it. I just wish I was a typical person that didn’t have to worry about these kinds of things, that didn’t have to feel these kinds of things. That didn’t have to worry that they were on the verge of their life falling apart because of an episode.

I need a new job. And a vacation. And a stiff drink.

The drink I can at least do something about right now. It’s White Russian time.