They say that it isn’t good to think about profound things when you are feeling down, but I’m going to break the rules and attempt to dissect my unhappiness and lay it bare. I’m doing this because I know I’m not the only one who experiences internal conflict and I think by writing about it I can not only show people that it is normal, but perhaps help someone else reason their way out of it.
I’ve spent my life in pursuit of the wonder I felt as a child when I saw something magical and then learned about how it works. Over time this need to turn over every bit of magic changed into the need to make more magic. Sparked by science fiction, I became obsessed with thinking about future worlds where “magic” technology exists to solve all the problems. I did this to the point where, if you’ve gone skiing or camping with me, I would spend a good deal of the conversation talking about unrealistic technology ideas to smooth out some of the minor inconveniences.
Eventually, this spark gathered expectations from myself and those around me. The expectation from those around me was that I was very “smart” and would be successful, while this is not unreasonable, it created an expectation from myself, that in order to make all my whimsical ideas a reality, I needed to make lots of money.
When your life is driven by a spark of wonder and curiosity, they call it “ADHD.” This was one of the biggest barriers for me achieving the expectations above. I could not learn anything that was not interesting to me. Instead of learning the way most people learned, I had to spend four times as long exploring a topic before I could swallow it.
This extra work didn’t leave a ton of time for socializing. I also had a laundry list of other issues that prevented me from having a normal social life. Sure I had friends here and there, but what really gave me the ability to interact normally with people and communicate well, is my family. I have a very large family and pretty much owe any ability to interact socially to that fact. It is worth mentioning that my health issues as a child gave me extra attention, and that extra attention combined with being half of everyone else’s size as a child made me an outsider in any social group. I de-prioritized my social life. I was on a mission to be successful and make magic, being an extra on the set of “friends” just didn’t fit into my vision, so I ignored it.
Now, I am at the point in my career where it is very clear that there is too much stacked against me to achieve the kind of success needed to make the magic I set out after as a child. On the relationship front, I think about finding someone who I can be happy with and it seems impossible to reconcile my lack of social experience and my status outside of my occupation as something that would be marketable. I find myself asking the question, “would I want to date me?” and not liking the answer.
Now I could leave this post here, in a pile of depression, or I can talk about my plans to confront it. What can I do to be happier without losing who I am? Well, for one, I can dissect and confront my insecurities, I’m not going to do that publicly any more than I already have for obvious reasons. Another thing I can do is work on being more compassionate and less judgmental. I have a lot of self improvement to do, but so does everyone. The best I can do is work on my stuff and accept that other people are working on theirs. And finally, on the career front, I may not be able to make magic on the scale of what I was hoping, but it is important to see the magic in everything and not lose hope that it could grow into something bigger.