Fix your own shit first.

Image for post
Image for post

There’s a lot of themes I want to try and tackle in this post, and I probably will not do a very good job of tackling them. (My mind meanders a lot.) I’ll try to set this up for you as best I can.

So what’s happening in this picture?

These are some of my good friends from the college era. We started doing annual meetups recently. We had a phase in there where people were having newborns and all that (not me!) and those years were mostly email, some text, some Slack-type threads, etc. Now we’re getting towards IRL yearly, which is cool. Here’s what I wrote on the 2018 one, which is honestly one of the better things I’ve ever written. #humblebrag

So like a counter to male loneliness?

Yes, which is a real thing that people don’t discuss. It’s only a semi-periodic IRL counter, but it matters, for sure.

What is this, like late-30s-ish?

You got it. And with that comes the standard territory: Most people above are married, most have 1–3 kids. I’m not single, but I’m also divorced; no kids for moi. One other above is single, no kids.

So let’s talk some context for my own 30s

I have a generally negative affect on life, I think, which is something I’ve been working on. But it’s hard for me to look at my 30s to date and not think I kinda mis-stepped it a little bit. To wit:

  • 30-ish: NYC, decent friends, relationship, OK job
  • 31-ish: Shittier job, NYC, relationship, friends
  • 32-ish: Shittier job, NYC, got engaged, moved to Minneapolis
  • 33-ish: Cold, no job, graduate school that I incurred too much debt from, etc.
  • 34-ish: Cold, then moved to Texas, job/no job, relationship OK to below average
  • 35-ish: Texas, job/laid off, built own thing, relationship average
  • 36-ish: Divorced, OK job (work for self), too much drinking
  • 37-ish: Divorced/new relationship, work below average, too much drinking
  • 38-ish: Job/no job/self, relationship, drinking in spots, improving

Nowhere in here do you see “Beautiful baby boy!” or anything like other-worldly. It’s just kinda been a grind with a lot of ups and downs, probably more of the latter. In that same span, I’ve seen a lot of my friends excel at work, have kids, whatever whatever. All this said, comparison is the thief of joy and this paragraph is just used a set-up.

So what’s the headline mean?

Basically, I’m just trying to fully buy in on adulthood, which I am not sure I’ve ever really done. Even when I was working about 28 hours/week at this agency last year (part of ’18 and part of ’19), I used to never have meetings on some days after 11am … and if you’ve ever worked agency, a lot of it is “hurry up and wait,” meaning you rush to deliver some document to a client, and you don’t hear about it for another two weeks because their internal priorities shifted.

That’s all a long way of saying that sometimes I’d go to the movies, or to walk my dog, or to the bar (yes) during “work hours.” I had nothing really to do, so it seemed OK … but I wouldn’t call it adult. I got fired from that job, largely because people didn’t like me that much and I was never really taught any processes that mattered to those with authority, but it did cause me to think on different things.

That’s where the headline comes in. For years I think I’ve been contemplating this idea that some “external fix” would come in and save my ass from rack and ruin. (Is that how you spell ‘rack’ in that context? I’m honestly not sure.) For a while I figured like, OK, my ex and I would have a kid, and out of solidarity I wouldn’t drink during a pregnancy, and I’d probably be killing it at the gym in said time frame if I wasn’t drinking. So I had this external plan that was gonna save me … that never happened, and instead a lot of those years I was in bars, talking to guys about the Chicago White Sox or Reconstruction. (Conversationally I’m very durable.)

What I started thinking on this particular guys’ weekend was like, look, everyone has their own shit. I think we all know that, but however successful or masculine you look from afar, you go through stuff. People hurt, and people win, but people fall down too. So I’m going to be successful in pockets and fail in pockets. That’s life.

But … the whole thing is, I need to fix aspects of myself in order to be able to do that successfully. There’s no external rainbow that’s gonna carry me to Bezos wealth levels, and even if one appeared, I’d still have problems to deal with.

How you gonna put your money where your mouth is?

OK, here’s what I got so far I think:

  • Kill it on the day-side drinking
  • Gym 4–5 times a week
  • Some AA meetings to internalize the process
  • Dedicate one day a week to new biz development
  • Clean eating minus maybe one night/week
  • Be a consistent relationship partner
  • Write a blog 4–5 times/week (it helps me!)
  • Do some meditation-type work in the morning as a level-set

This is the beginning. It’s gonna be a long road and there will be stumbles and turns, because that’s how life works, but I think I can start with the basics and build out.

Holler at me with any accountabilities or ideas about life you’re pursuing. I’d love to hear.

Written by

Blogging, largely about work and how to improve it. How I make (some) money: http://thecontextofthings.com/hire-freelance-writer-ted-bauer/

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store