The Mid-Life Career Change Crisis

Sometimes I feel like I need to sit down and write something on here again and I get an idea.  I ponder it, come up with clever statements about it, form opinions and take in the opinions of others.  I toss the idea around in my head over and over again until finally, I decide I have nothing original to say about it and scrap it altogether.

Wash, rinse, repeat . . . and then days lead to weeks which lead to months and this blog that I have dedicated so many hours to, remains silent.  I get lazy.  I work my ass off during the day and at night sit down and find it easier to pick up the PS4 or Xbox controller than to open up the computer and start to type.

I’ve got plug-ins on the static page that don’t work anymore because of updates to how some sites work, etc and I’ve left them there to just be a reason for people to visit and then decide I’ve abandoned it and they don’t return.  I need to work on them and I’m declaring right here, right now that I’m going to make the time to do it.  Opticynicism needs a face lift and I have to get off my ass and do it.

To answer the one or two of you that might still be around, I’m doing pretty good.  I take my medications as directed religiously and I have had no slides back into depression or otherwise debilitating events.  I work.  I come home, I play games on one of the boxes for a while, I go to sleep and then I go back to work.  Weekends are just extended periods of playing games on the box.  As much as I enjoy that and it keeps my blood pressure and stress levels down in the “green”, it’s not enough and I need to do more.  I’m not “living”.  I’m “existing”.

To this very day, I am still banging on the doors of the VA, trying to get in as a Federal employee at that hospital.  Three years I’ve been banging and three years they won’t open the fucking door.  My stubborn personality is the only thing that has kept that effort going this long, and the anti-depression meds keep me stable so that my stubborn personality can thrive.

In the meantime, I have been working in a menial delivery job.  I’ve been driving a box truck and delivering heavy freight.  I was recently laid off at one company (all of us were, we all came back from our deliveries one Friday a couple weeks ago and they called us all up and said “Thanks, but we’re shutting that office down.  None of you work here anymore.”  and yes . . . that is word for word what they said.)  As luck would have it, my driving record, customer history and recommendations from my previous boss, I was only out of work for about a week and I’m now doing pretty much the same thing but for a little more money working for a better company and had to go through a TSA screening because I am actually contracted through UPS and deal with a lot of international freight.

As would be expected, however, I’ve repeatedly asked myself, “This can’t be it, right?”

I’m working and doing ok, but honestly, without the continued help of, Liz most tremendously, and others as well, I’d still not be doing very well, and at some point, I need to find myself in some kind of state of independence.  I’m not exactly tipping the scales in the salary department and if I were to apply, I’d actually qualify for government assistance.  I’m not homeless based solely on the fact that Liz is a caring and generous human being.  I do what I can to keep her house in order (since she doesn’t actually live in it at the moment after taking a job out of state), but it feels unbalanced to me and that I just don’t do enough.  She repeatedly expresses her gratitude for what I do and does her best to make me feel that I contribute sufficiently, but my own lifelong self-deprecating attitude doesn’t allow me to accept it.

To that end, I’m continuously looking for ways to improve myself, my situation and my life.  Driving freight around sounds like a shitty job, and make no mistake, it is indeed a shitty job, but it does give me something I’ve really not had a lot of.  It has given me a lot of time alone, SOBER, with my thoughts.  Thanks to the iPhone, podcasts, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube and Netflix (before you freak out, I listen to comedy shows on Netflix and YouTube, I’m not watching my phone while I drive), I also get a lot of time listening to others and what they have done to improve their lives.

I’ve had a lot of ideas for blog posts, podcasts, video podcasts, commentaries and even books.  I’ve spent literally days weighing my strengths and weaknesses.  Things I can do and things I can’t.  Can I go back to school?  Sure, I can.  It’ll be a pain in the ass and I’ll have to do all kinds of shit that I neither want nor need to do to complete a degree, but eventually I’ll have a degree and then be a dude in his 50’s trying to get jobs dudes and dudettes in their 20’s are trying to get.  Then the question remains whether I’ll manage to finish school before our current administration destroys any chances of me doing so for one reason or another.  (You have no idea how hard it was for me to type that last sentence without cussing or making blatant anti-Trump remarks.)

So . . .

I’ve busted out nearly 1000 words to come to this point.  This is where I’ve landed and a conclusion I have come to.

Am I looking for your opinion and thoughts on the matter?  Yeah, I kinda am.

Am I going to do it even if you tell me I’m an idiot and I will fail?  Yeah, I definitely am.

Because this is something I feel and I can’t ignore it.

I’ve thought about this since I was in my TEENS.

There is one thing that has always brought me infinite joy.  A feeling that shines a light in my chest and makes me feel that everything is ok in the world.  A feeling that lets me fall asleep at night with a smile on my face and get a long, uninterrupted, satisfying nights sleep.  I’ve been madly in love with someone only a few times in my life and it is an incredible feeling, and this comes nearly as close as that.

I love, more than anything else, to make people laugh.

To me, there is nothing more satisfying in the world.  I will make a fool of myself and beat on myself to make it happpen.  I will paint a glorious visual image of a drab situation to make it funny so that the mundane becomes interesting.  I can take an insult as easily as I can give one and in the same breath, give an incredible compliment to diffuse confrontation.

I have used and continue to use humor to survive.

I am going to take a stab at stand-up comedy.

I’ve found the local “open mic night”.  It’s a bit intimidating because Tampa is not a small town and it’s not a small venue and it has spit out a few pretty damn famous people . . . but why start small.

I have been studying and listening to comedians for . . . hell, forever.  I watched Seinfeld before he had a TV show.  I remember going to see Red Skelton as a kid.  I defied my parents as a teenager to stay up and watch An Evening at the Improv.  I have read the blogs, listened to the podcasts and simply followed the careers of comedians from their early years to the recent ones.

Very nearly all of them have the art of storytelling in common, and boy, do I have stories.

Comedy is timing and emphasis and the ability to be relatable.

Comedy is the ability to take the things that make you miserable, or drive you crazy and make them funny so they are easier to swallow.

To me, comedy is not a job or something I have to work at.  It is a defense mechanism that I have used to survive.

I can tell a story and I can make the miserable funny.  I have done it right here.  I have made you (and others that have probably decided I abandoned the place) laugh at things that made me absolutely miserable.  Do the stories about my father ring any bells?  They should.  My readership went from the hundreds to the thousands on those stories alone.  By my own fault, those are numbers I have not seen in several years, but nonetheless, it worked then, it’ll work now.

Will I have to bash my father to make it happen?  Yeah, probably, but I give zero fucks.

I’ve asked myself if 49 is too old to try to start something like that.  I know I’m not the 24 year old stud I was as a fresh Marine Corps boot camp graduate.  I know the camera adds 10 pounds to the 40 pounds too much I already have.

I have also found that successful comedians are also intelligent, as am I .  They have solid and definitive opinions despite those that oppose them, as do I . . . and the number one, most important feature of all is that every single successful comedian is deeply and profoundly troubled for one reason or another, and if you think I might not qualify for that one . . . perhaps you may wanna read over the last few years of this blog.

If you think I’m looking for encouragement and positive words, you’re absolutely right, I am.  I am virtually incapable of giving them to myself, so I need the outside help to get them.  At the same time, I’m not looking for bullshit either.  If you think I’m an idiot for even trying, then say so.  God knows, I’ve said it to myself and even if I don’t want to believe it, I’m going to try it anyway and I have to be prepared for hecklers.  I’d like your honest opinions and encouragement if you have it.

When I was in my teens, I found it easy to get on stage and speak in front of hundreds of people.  It was easy for me and I loved it.  I haven’t done it since then and my anti-social, general hatred of the public that has developed since then is going to make trying to do it again even more difficult.

It scares the shit out of me.

But, by God, I’m going to do it.

I will not allow this to pass as a regret of something I wish I had always done.

I might fail, but I’m going to try.  Every successful comedian failed at some point, and many, more than once.  But they were persistent.  They had a passion and a desire and they pushed through and they succeeded despite the failures.

Funny thing is, the moment I’m actually successful at it . . .

. . . the goddamn VA will probably call with the job offer.


Peace, my friends . . . . please speak up!

12 thoughts on “The Mid-Life Career Change Crisis

  1. Fuck yea; About time. But if you could work on the f-ed up part minus the father. That would be great. Without him what would have??? Some really good biochemical imbalces would help speed things along.

    No, honestly, go for it. You have some talent hiding in that scrambled view of the world. My mom always thought you would do something.

    1. That’s actually high praise coming from both you and your mom. She did not give praise easily and it made me especially proud when she did. I miss her and her pain in the ass attitude quite frequently. I know she is incredibly proud of you and what you have become, so your positive response means just as much to me. Thanks, Andy.

  2. Tell me when open mike is and I’ll be there supporting you! Lord knows my life gives you plenty of material. Go for It! You’ll ‘ve great!

    1. You’ll be the second to know . . . right after me. I met another guy through work that goes . . . plans are being made. I just have to stop writing shit and then crossing it off and going “No, that sucks.”

  3. If you have the option, you might want to try one of those Comedy Clubs that have alcohol-free nights. They might be less likely to (drunkenly) heckle you and be a good starting place for “getting your feet wet”. It might cut down on the nerves if you know in advance that someone out there isn’t going to interrupt your rhythm. Hey, and bring friends!
    Good luck!

    1. Don’t understand why my comment isn’t showing and after 24 hours is still “awaiting moderation”. What does that even mean?

    2. Pretty much what it means is that the WordPress app for iPhone is a piece of shit and can’t be trusted since I used it to approve this comment about 5 minutes after you posted it, so my apologies for that. The comments are set up in such a way that if this is the first comment you’ve ever posted at Opticynicism, then I have to approve it. Any subsequent comments after that are automatically approved. It’s proven to be a very effective tool to keep the robot comment spammers out.

      If the alcohol free clubs are an option around here, I will definitely check that out, and my friends . . . oh they’ll be coming whether I like it or not. lol I appreciate your input and again, I apologize for my shitty app. It won’t be a problem from this point on.

  4. Good luck bro! Hoping to take the same step and walk into an open mic night around here in Cary,, NC. Best of luck, break a leg (or ego) and go for it!

  5. First, Liz is a Goddess.

    Second, so glad you’re​ posting again.

    Third, move on from the VA.

    Fourth, I think standup is an awesome idea! You’re funny as fuck and have zero to lose. Stop scrapping your ideas and try out your material on us. We’ll let you know if it sucks or not. We’ll heckle you regardless of whether or not it’s funny, but we will let you know if it’s any good in between our heckles. 😀


    1. Indeed, I would not have found the resources I have used to reach the longest period of sobriety I have ever had without Liz’s invaluable help. I made a conscious decision not to make a big deal about hitting 2 years of sobriety as that has been a tenuous milestone up to this point and once I reached it, it was sort of a “inside secret” where I told her I made it to two years, and she said “yep, you did but I didn’t want to say anything because I know 2 years is a tricky spot for you, but I’m proud of you.”

      and I said, “Thank you, and yep and I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and taking my drugs and we’ll not speak of this milestone again.”

      And so it was. And it has thus far been successful.

      I have also decided that I do need to post on here and start putting words to screen, as it were. The VA thing where I apply, they beat around the bush and either say nothing or tell me I was not the most broken vet to apply this time has, at this point, just become a thing I do. Honestly, I think I have moved on from the VA (not that I wouldn’t take it if it was given) and I just do it now to see how much of an annoying pain in the ass I can be. I still show up over there and harass the guys I used to work with. They still miss me and still wish I was there but they can do nothing more about it than I can.

      As for the stand-up, yes, the thought of using this blog as the testing grounds for material is on the list of things (and there is a list) that I need to do to make this happen. In fact, you may find at some point down the road that some of my material will come from already existing posts from both several years ago and from more recent ones.

      (The Craigslist posts have some absolutely MAGICAL shit in there, but they need to be tweaked and updated to fit more with the “swipe left or right” douche-tard crowd. Fucking millennials.)

      I also have no doubt that you and the other 6 people currently reading this blog will let me know what works and what doesn’t, and I can’t wait to have the input.

      Thanks, Denise!

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