Those dreaded useless words I hear uttered frequently by everyone ranging from my 14 year old cousin to my pot-head friends of yesteryear to my lovely lass wife. Yes, she doesn’t want to watch Netflix or some other movie for yet ANOTHER night, but finances are tight as I’m the only one working for the man right now.
We aren’t just bored. We go to bed expecting tomorrow to be exhausing, unfuffiling, and frustrating knowing nothing worthwhile will be accomplished. Stuck in a trance-like state, we’re going through the motions, even when lazy and lounging around. Yes, we are tired from caring for an infant, and my pregnant again wife is always exhausted, but still it’s not supposed to be like this.
An endurance in the fulfillment and contentment in what we’ve accomplished as a family – in a short time. Our phones and Netflix are just a distraction in our attempt to relax and ignore reality for the moment because it’s too painful. Idle hands really are the devils workshop. Of course there is some context.
I’m an asshole to myself and in my leadership role. Hunkering down each night in the living room to watch da Netflix and waste time informing myself via the news, twitter, and the blogosphere isn’t because I desperately desire it, but rather because money is tight and our infant son needs to be in his crib. It’s a convenient and even truthful excuse
Even with it being a valid excuse, I KNOW I need to get us off TV at night time and toward something productive so we aren’t “bored”. Between getting fat and gaining 20 damn pounds over these two pregnancies and working a sedentary call center gig, I’m the fattest I’ve ever been. Exercise, I need you.
Yes, I should be taking us on fun adventures with plenty of walking that you see in da movies, but can we really take a 9 month old infant out on a stroll at 10 PM in 20 degree weather regardless of how well bundled up he is?
Take into account the meth addicts that seem to be prowling the streets and parks and the possible excitement we might encounter goes against our parental instincts. When you become parents, you have to be far more responsible then you actually may want to be in your struggle against . The delayed maturity that men in particular deal with hits hard and fast – or at least it should when you become a father.
We remain hunkered inside our bunker, trying to get our minds off life watching movies, still bored, and my wife still stressed though her pregnancy. (A recipe ripe for producing arguments between couples.)
Ideally, I’d love to go out, grab some food, feel cool, splurge the cash, and not worry about spending money for once. Showing off our 9 month old son to everyone at that establishment makes us feel like we’ve done – or rather made someone worthy of plenty of gazing.
True story, as every time we take him out, women drool and gush over how cute he is. Yes, he is very cute.
However, when we go out, is it a useful investment of our time? Who are we hanging out with? Will sharing time with them build us up?
Going out makes us feel like we are taking a break from our mundane lives living in a place we shouldn’t even be. It’s why us millennial blow so much damn money on food when we should be saving it for that house that won’t be coming from a job that won’t we be getting because of our useless degrees. Forgetting about life for that moment really is key.
For my pregnant wife, it takes some of the stress off. Otherwise, it’s back to our dinky apartment where I will get yelled at for something all stemming back from boredom. First we loved this apartment, as it was a place of our own.
Now it just reminds us of bad decisions, filthy and thieving neighbors, and all the food places around us which we shouldn’t spend money because we need to be responsible for once and save some of it.
Are They Really Down On Their Luck?
Hell, at least when we do blow dat money, it’s not on meth like much of the surrounding “homeless” population seems to do. In fact, these “homeless” folks often walk a mile down the road to their truck, throw that cardboard sign “Homeless and Hungry” into the back and drive on off.
I’m sure their plight is as bad as they want us to believe, but you’d think they’d make it obvious by dressing worse instead of like they just went shopping at the mall. Panhandling is the way of the future.
Just the other day I was approached by some guy who asked me if I had change for the bus. Immediately I was annoyed, irritated, and actually tired. Where I’m from in Illinois, people beg for “change for the bus” all the damn time only to spend it on booze, cigs, drugs, or other fleeting pleasures.
Frankly, it pisses me off because unless I personally know them or someone I respect vouches for them, I can assume they are trying to shake me down like I’m some kind of hipster white costal elite type who is plagued by guilt and a trust fund who needs his good deed for the day.
Telling this guy I knew what he was up to, he still held frame. So I decided to give him a 1$. He then went straight into Walgreens to buy his bus ticket I’m sure. Add getting that buck out of me to his wall of accomplishments. What a waste of time.
Currently where I live, there is a horrible meth problem – one of the worst in the nation – as well as “homeless” people everywhere. Sorting through the actual victims vs the pretenders makes me a jaded man. I promise I’m going somewhere with this post.
Looking In A Cracked Mirror
However, it’s made do some soul searching. Me and my wife have gotten food from the local church pantry here. Did someone else need it more? Yes we have 100$ left in our bank account, but we did do frivolous spending prior.
Taking her out multiple times for dinner, buying her a maternity coat for the winter that actually fits, and getting us numerous other things at Walmart that while we could utilize, we didn’t absolutely need has got me thinking.
If I’m honest, I need to wonder if we are abusing the local safety nets – even slightly. Yes, it’s just me working and I can barely pay all the bills sometimes. Hell, we were down to 2$ in our bank account for about three days to get us through to pay day.
On the other hand, baby food is expensive, as is formula, clothes, etc. Wages aren’t great and the cost of living still isn’t low enough to really save any money on one income with one infant and another on the way. Is this all included in the thought process when charitable places don’t have a problem giving us food, aid, and help?
I’ve seen people with a far worse plight then my own; families literally on the street outside my apartment complex. I have a smart phone, wifi at my apartment, and we only have to pay the electric bill when it comes to utilities. Sometimes I’ll even have around 150$ something left over after bills to get us through to the next check. Our two door car is in good shape, and while small, it get’s us where we need to go with no car payment. Yes, it could be much worse.
The admirable American dream is still currently out of reach for me. My wife is planning on getting a nursing gig here and seeing if they will pay for part of med school, but nothing is assured.
Our families have been very helpful. My parents have bought us diapers, formula, and even shipped some non perishables to our house. Our relatives have all given us some money. My wife’s grandmother who loves us dearly has sent plenty of cash our way when times have been dire.
Essentially, we are blessed. We just keep forgetting because there is plenty of time on our hands stuck inside our apartment to ponder on what hasn’t gone our way yet.
So shouldn’t I render the same to the discarded rubbish on the street nearby? I want to, but I’m not entirely sure who really needs help and who is just pretending. Then again, that thought goes through my head – are we pretenders as well?
We aren’t standing out with signs, but we have gotten help. Did people think we were worse off then we were? Surely, I hope we have not misled anyone.
Crawling Toward The Endzone
Even with self-reflection, it’s hard to be content and grateful for what we have because we aren’t anywhere close to reaching our goals and living our dreams. Then again, even if we do, what then? Will we have a similar trance state of life, just with less worry, wondering what then shall we do?
“Ease and relaxation are wonderful. But they are not goals. They are temporary, transitory conditions of the spirit.” – Quintus C
My wife isn’t thinking about how lucky we are to have a car – she’s thinking about how she’s pregnant again, unable to go to school and/or work, how finances are tight, and how much we miss our friends and family. This in spite of how much we’ve actually accomplished this far together. Why the sense of not just failed dreams, but of a lack of fulfillment in the one’s we have lived?
We need a mindset shift. In a post about the struggles of life, Quintus Curtius talks about the “Endzone” and about how we create goals for ourselves and yet still feel unaccomplished.
“We must never allow ourselves to feel broken, defeated, debilitated, or beaten by life. I will not allow this. I will not permit this disease of defeatism in my life. Will not. Ever.”
Boredom and that trance like state spiral toward feelings of despair and failure before driving us toward any other kind of reality – Netflix for example – to take our minds off it instead of actually fixing it. Eventually, it seeps through our diversion shields and breaks them.
When we falter toward the above, boredom and distraction from it lead to that feeling of being beaten up by life lying down and reaching in vain for that fresh green endzone.
I’m not even in the endzone – I’m struggling within 80 yards of it, on my hands and knees dragging my burdens along. But life is just that – a constant struggle to the day we die trying to arrive. This is no cause for despondency and acceptance of vanity however.
Through the struggles in life is where we make and leave our mark. Our character is refined in the furnaces of life and reputations are forged. Obstacles are overcome and foundations set. Stories are born and tales of your golden days are told to your grandchildren gathered around you.
You just can’t see it yet.
“But this does not mean that life is an endless sequence of gloom and doom, of conflict on top of conflict, signifying nothing. No, far from it. It only means that life is for the living. Life is for the stout of heart. For the coeurs de leon.” – Quintus Curtius