Aging and Seeking Direction.
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
06-11-2012, 10:38 AM (This post was last modified: 06-11-2012 10:42 AM by Dark Light.)
RE: Aging and Seeking Direction.
Thank you all very much. To explain the reason behind my worries I suppose a bit of explaining is in order. I think my ambiguity in my original post illicited advice not particularly with my situation in mind due to my ambiguity, so I apologize. Within the last year I left a career in the military. I was advancing very fast, being paid a pretty respectable wage, and had every reason to believe I could be senior enlisted guy within a few years if I continued. However, I grew tired of it. I worked extremely long hours (at one point I was working between 105-115 a week), I had to leave my wife too often, which is expected in the military, I was really stressed out and drank too much, I was mentally damaged, I went against my morals, and I had to risk my life, which of course stresses your family. I couldn't take it anymore. I didn't even want to live sometimes. I really enjoyed a lot of aspects of my career, such as travel, financial stability, a good support system, experiencing other cultures, and helping others, but the cons out-weighed the pros and wore me down. I left active duty almost a year ago.

Now I am back in school. I have done just core classes, so it isn't to late to change my major. Right now I am looking at getting a degree in Computer Engineering. Computer systems in general I have grown bored of. It doesn't excite me anymore, but I've worked with them in some form since I went began going to tech school for it in 2005. I have a very good reason to believe I could make a lot of money working for the government, have the ability to work in what I consider my home (Oak Ridge, TN area), and avoid a lot of the long hours, and stress while still being able to be a good husband. I am just concerned that since my passion has waned for my job area I will grow unhappy with my decision to pursue this goal. Should I settle on this? Will I end up regretting my decision again? If I wind up unhappy again I fear I will be stuck, being too old to change my mind again. I will already be 29 when I get my degree, and I don't want to go BACK to get re-educated again if that happens. Should I settle for something that makes m happy otherwise, but something I am just passionless about? I do have interests in history, philosophy, and psychology, as well as working with my hands on artistic stuff...woodworking, leather-working, etc. Is it time to change gears or stay on course? Is my current career option as good as can be reasonably hoped for?


Special thanks to Dom and Poolboy for your thoughtful responses.

Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
06-11-2012, 11:10 AM
RE: Aging and Seeking Direction.
(06-11-2012 10:38 AM)Dark Light Wrote:  Thank you all very much. To explain the reason behind my worries I suppose a bit of explaining is in order. I think my ambiguity in my original post illicited advice not particularly with my situation in mind due to my ambiguity, so I apologize. Within the last year I left a career in the military. I was advancing very fast, being paid a pretty respectable wage, and had every reason to believe I could be senior enlisted guy within a few years if I continued. However, I grew tired of it. I worked extremely long hours (at one point I was working between 105-115 a week), I had to leave my wife too often, which is expected in the military, I was really stressed out and drank too much, I was mentally damaged, I went against my morals, and I had to risk my life, which of course stresses your family. I couldn't take it anymore. I didn't even want to live sometimes. I really enjoyed a lot of aspects of my career, such as travel, financial stability, a good support system, experiencing other cultures, and helping others, but the cons out-weighed the pros and wore me down. I left active duty almost a year ago.



Now I am back in school. I have done just core classes, so it isn't to late to change my major. Right now I am looking at getting a degree in Computer Engineering. Computer systems in general I have grown bored of. It doesn't excite me anymore, but I've worked with them in some form since I went began going to tech school for it in 2005. I have a very good reason to believe I could make a lot of money working for the government, have the ability to work in what I consider my home (Oak Ridge, TN area), and avoid a lot of the long hours, and stress while still being able to be a good husband. I am just concerned that since my passion has waned for my job area I will grow unhappy with my decision to pursue this goal. Should I settle on this? Will I end up regretting my decision again? If I wind up unhappy again I fear I will be stuck, being too old to change my mind again. I will already be 29 when I get my degree, and I don't want to go BACK to get re-educated again if that happens. Should I settle for something that makes m happy otherwise, but something I am just passionless about? I do have interests in history, philosophy, and psychology, as well as working with my hands on artistic stuff...woodworking, leather-working, etc. Is it time to change gears or stay on course? Is my current career option as good as can be reasonably hoped for?





Special thanks to Dom and Poolboy for your thoughtful responses.


I won't be commenting on all of it (the struggle for meaning and purpose is very personal and differs from person to person). But what're saying about your job sounds rather familiar. It's difficult to put how I feel about this in a short message, but I'll try. While there are some lucky people for whom their work is not work but a calling (I count musicians and scientists among these), for a lot of us a job is a necessity, a way to earn the money we need to live on. So after trying different things, regretting what I chose to study at uni (but not wanting to go back to school and start from scratch), I've finally discovered something that I enjoy (reasonably, not with a passion), that I can do from home and that also gives me a lot of freedom and the time to travel.
Yes, I regret not choosing something more humanitarian and useful, but at least now I can combine this (doing something useful) with travelling. (Yes, I am saddled with a lot of liberal guilt, but I try not to let it drag me down too much (which works, at least on my good days).
What I was trying to say is that you shouldn't feel lost and lacking purpose just because you're not madly in love with your job. My two cents - if you can't do for a living the things that you are passionate about, find something that you enjoy or at least something that you find ok and do the things that you are passionate about in your free time. Enjoy life for what it is, enjoy the small things and don't worry too much about 'what if's' and 'should've's'
Hmm, I thought I had more to say, but my mind's kind of all over the place right now. Hope that made some sense.

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderĂ²."
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
06-11-2012, 11:36 AM
RE: Aging and Seeking Direction.
A job is a means to an end. It's not supposed to be your life. In the military it does become your life and you have no control over that. As student, it still occupies more of your life than one would like. But later, as civilian, that is a different story.

Computer engineering isn't a bad choice even if it doesn't "turn you on" the way it used to. That is because what it is today is bound to change tomorrow. A job that changes constantly over time is a lot more interesting in the long run.

Also, with that background and degree, there are many ways you can skip off the beaten path and get into something that excites you more.

I think it's a sound choice.

You're just restless and seeking some ideal, as I did when I was your age. Today though, my advice would be to stick it out as you have no idea where this field of knowledge is going to end up. It has great potential to eventually take a course that will excite you. And, it is not likely that you will be bored in the long run.

So many other things are more fun at first and later just become boring, the same old same old every day...

[Image: dobie.png]

Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
06-11-2012, 12:52 PM
RE: Aging and Seeking Direction.
Thanks again, to both of you. Dom, you are always a fountain of good advice. Every time I read your advice, to anyone, I just want to give you a hug. I think you are right, I will try and stick it out with my degree, assuming I can handle all of the math involved. I can always use that degree to take me anywhere. If I decide I don't want to stay here, and work for Uncle Sam, I can always move to any technologically advanced place, like California, or Germany, both of which I like in their own ways. I can work on advanced supercomputers if I stay put, or communications in Rammstein or Stuttgart, or Network Architecture in San Diego. I guess I just fear being stuck, in anyway, which is probably one of the things that attracted me to the military.

Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
06-11-2012, 12:56 PM
RE: Aging and Seeking Direction.
(06-11-2012 12:52 PM)Dark Light Wrote:  Thanks again, to both of you. Dom, you are always a fountain of good advice. Every time I read your advice, to anyone, I just want to give you a hug. I think you are right, I will try and stick it out with my degree, assuming I can handle all of the math involved. I can always use that degree to take me anywhere. If I decide I don't want to stay here, and work for Uncle Sam, I can always move to any technologically advanced place, like California, or Germany, both of which I like in their own ways. I can work on advanced supercomputers if I stay put, or communications in Rammstein or Stuttgart, or Network Architecture in San Diego. I guess I just fear being stuck, in anyway, which is probably one of the things that attracted me to the military.
The technology changes rapidly, so there is always something new. Besides that, there are many kinds of jobs and careers within the field; research, development, QA, maintenance, project management, product management, engineering management, and on and on.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
[Image: flagstiny%206.gif]
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Chas's post
06-11-2012, 02:26 PM
RE: Aging and Seeking Direction.
(06-11-2012 07:37 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(05-11-2012 11:30 PM)Mr Woof Wrote:  I have entered my seventh decade and still enjoy philosophy and body building along with other minor interests.
I try and act altruistically to a small degree and even here, see this as a means of ridding myself of built up guilt.
Age has of course slowed me down and I suppose I must be grateful for having lived thus far.
Good luck!

I hope you're sitting down: you've entered your eighth decade.
Thanks that really made my day!
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Mr Woof's post
06-11-2012, 03:28 PM
RE: Aging and Seeking Direction.
I did read the whole thread. Some awesome advice in there. I'll only add this:

Never stop changing your mind. Never decide that this, whatever this may be, is what you will do for the rest of your life. Because it's not. Honest.

So many cats, so few good recipes.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Stark Raving's post
06-11-2012, 03:59 PM
RE: Aging and Seeking Direction.
(06-11-2012 09:42 AM)theophilus Wrote:  
(05-11-2012 09:26 PM)Dark Light Wrote:  I have become increasingly aware of my age over the past year, and the sun-dial seems to unforgivably flicker shadows a bit quicker than it once did. I have now reached and perhaps gone beyond physical peak, and mental acuity.
I checked your profile and discovered you are 26 years old....
You're 26? I assumed from the title you were about 90,since you were lamenting about not reaching your goals in life. If you're only in your 20s, you still have plenty of time to do whatever. I certainly wouldn't consider 26 as "aging" or way past one's peak.

But I also tend to get the feeling that much of life is absurd. I think people are always telling us to have certain goals to have a "meaningful" life, and try to make us feel guilty if we don't do those things, or even want those same things for ourselves (I'm looking at you, all the people who tell me I'm somehow flawed/incomplete for not having children!).

I don't think our lives has three acts and a coherent story arc like a hollywood movie. I think it's largely other people's expectations that cause people to feel like they're not living up to whatever "goals." Not that goals are useless, but if you don't have any specific ones, you don't have any specific ones. It doesn't make you a worse person. Though I did feel that way too for a while in my 20s, just because I felt I should have achieved world domination by then. Still working on that.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like amyb's post
06-11-2012, 04:11 PM
RE: Aging and Seeking Direction.
(06-11-2012 03:59 PM)amyb Wrote:  
(06-11-2012 09:42 AM)theophilus Wrote:  I checked your profile and discovered you are 26 years old....
You're 26? I assumed from the title you were about 90,since you were lamenting about not reaching your goals in life. If you're only in your 20s, you still have plenty of time to do whatever. I certainly wouldn't consider 26 as "aging" or way past one's peak.

But I also tend to get the feeling that much of life is absurd. I think people are always telling us to have certain goals to have a "meaningful" life, and try to make us feel guilty if we don't do those things, or even want those same things for ourselves (I'm looking at you, all the people who tell me I'm somehow flawed/incomplete for not having children!).

I don't think our lives has three acts and a coherent story arc like a hollywood movie. I think it's largely other people's expectations that cause people to feel like they're not living up to whatever "goals." Not that goals are useless, but if you don't have any specific ones, you don't have any specific ones. It doesn't make you a worse person. Though I did feel that way too for a while in my 20s, just because I felt I should have achieved world domination by then. Still working on that.
I agree with pretty much everything you said. And what Darklight is describing sounds exactly how I was feeling around his age.
Since then I've learnt not to make too many plans, to take changes in the ones I did make in stride and not to let other people's expectations for me influence my choices.
To me (and this obviously varies between people), the only "goal" (other than achieving some peace) that I want to hold on to, is to find a way to be slightly more useful than I am. Other than this, it is all about the journey.

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderĂ²."
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
06-11-2012, 04:11 PM
RE: Aging and Seeking Direction.
(06-11-2012 03:59 PM)amyb Wrote:  I think people are always telling us to have certain goals to have a "meaningful" life, and try to make us feel guilty if we don't do those things, or even want those same things for ourselves (I'm looking at you, all the people who tell me I'm somehow flawed/incomplete for not having children!).


Ah yes, me too. Smile

[Image: dobie.png]

Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: