Vintage photos of the day (circa early 1976)

Dad, Mom, Me, Jenn (early 1976)

Jenn and I (1976)

Mom, Me, Jenn (early 1976)

Me, Dad (early 1976)

Me, Dad, Jenn (early 1976)

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SOC…grad school, career…

Let me take a stab at some public journal writing. Pre-Ambien. But total stream-of-consciousness. If I notice I have paused for more than five seconds, I’ll have to force myself to keep going.

The last post was a trainwreck. My adventures with Medicare really aren’t that interesting, especially when there are many far more critical things going on.

I’m writing at the moment as a brain-dump to try to feel as if I’ve done something productive tonight, as I’ve done no such thing tonight, or all day, really.

I’ve been obsessing over the usual what-do-I-do-with-my-life question, which is far more difficult to answer than (I feel like) anyone can understand. It’s not as simple as figuring out what I like to do. Or what interests me. Or what… Bottom-line, is that I don’t even know what I like to do. I do even know what interests me. Sure, you do, you might say. No, I (feel as if I) really don’t.

Further schooling is something I look into year after year after year. It’s always a dead-end. Of course, this, the fall, is really the time to be doing this thinking if I were to have any interest in some graduate program that started in Fall 2013. Wow, that is…so far off. Again, I’ve had the same discussion with myself every year. “It’s never too late…” No, it is…ok, I need to stop saying these things that someone might try to argue with me on. That’s not my intention here…let me get to my point…

I only wrote a couple of brief paragraphs surrounding the whole grad school saga I undertook earlier this year. I was just thinking about that earlier…how I never got closure around it. I had registered on this school’s website back in Decemeber 2011 for an online program. Then I had spent a month or two strongly considering a graduate program at a local university before backing away from it for…a couple of reasons that I won’t get into…

And then I returned to this other school’s program. In the meantime, I had spent a month studying for the GRE and did take it late in January 2012. I did well. I eventually did apply to that online grad program…wrote my statement, got recommendations…

And I got in. I got in to grad school. Sounds terrific! But it wasn’t. It’s still puzzling that no one ever contacted me to ask, “Do you plan on registering for classes? Are you even interested in this program anymore?” Like I said a few months ago, their acceptance process and subsequent silence told me what I needed to know to not bother to try to figure out how to come up with $4,000 for one online course with a private university’s school of continuing studies.

I never did mention that school by name. I don’t want a Google search coming back to my blog. So, it’s a well-regarding university right outside that big city that Barack Obama considers home.

The specific program was a masters in…how I can say this…first word, seven letters…if you are a physician, then you are a ——- doctor. Second word, a lot harder to give a Pyramid-type clue for, so let’s do it hangman style. Inf-r-a-i-s.

Anyway, that local university? The big private one in Durham. The professional school with the ‘Q’ in it offers a Masters of M–age—t in -l-n-c-l Inf-r-a-i-s. I spent the morning of my birthday last December sitting in on a class. I was really intimidated by it all…but fascinated and ALMOST determined to go for it.

BUT…I procrastinated…lots and lots of money for this program…it would hit me hard to go for it and be rejected…there were a few different deadlines to choose from, so procrastination was ok…

And then, back in February, I was given a very encouraging sign at work that I might very well be able to move to a very different position that would have given me a fresh career start. And so I procrastinated some more. It really did seem like it was going to happen…and then it didn’t…

And I decided to essentially settle for the online program (well, for only applying to the online program). And that’s what I did. And I got in.

And it doesn’t matter a lick today as October 2012 rolls in.

I can’t say I had a passion for that field. It’s interesting. I saw it as a “way out” of what I’ve been doing.

The thing is, I’ll take just about any remotely practical “way out” of what I’ve been doing. I probably have written about what exactly it is that I do, but I won’t right now. Those who know, know that it was a fluke thing to have gotten into it 15 years ago in the first place. Every few years, I have tried to get out of it. It’s more accurate to say that EVERY year, I’ve tried to get out of it. (I did, a couple of times, briefly, but…what I did during those hiatuses wasn’t worthwhile…)

So…for whatever it’s worth to anyone out there who knows the Myers-Briggs types, I’m an INFP. I just validated that again yesterday after having not looked at it for a few years. I won’t get into what being an INFP means. I’ll just say that I’ve known for 15 years that I NEED to be doing something else.

If it sounds frustrating to know you’ve been in the wrong line of work for 15 years and been unable to break free of it, it’s because it is.

Vented…done…I thought this was going to be a post about miscellaneous odds and ends. I actually stuck to one general topic. I should do this more.

You know I’m uneasy about getting comments on these kinds of entries. I especially would appreciate if family members would refrain from even acknowledging that you’re reading this. That makes this process easier. In fact, it makes it easier, overall, for me to be completely ignorant of who may have read this.

Repost: There’s something called ‘too much information’ and this is probably it…

I was going to write something original tonight, but then I realized I’ve got plenty of old material, and just about all of it still applies. And that’s the problem. I could pull something I’ve written from 4 years ago, 8 years ago, 15 years ago, even 20 years ago, and it wouldn’t sound much different. Any rambling wallowing I’ve done in here has just echoed things I’ve written privately to myself. There’s nothing new for me to say. If I’m being too revealing at this moment, or in any moment previously, it’s because I don’t care about the consequences. In early 2011, someone thought I should be part of some science conference’s panel of patient bloggers. It was an ultimately humiliating experience, as I sat there like an idiot for an hour without being asked a question while pompous windbags droned on and on. Worse, that someone blogged about how “David S–aka Toastie–a resident of Raleigh-Durham” would be part of this panel. Now that’s stuck on Google. And I hate that. But I digress…

Anyway, so I’m regurgitating a post from over four years. I’ll add some August 2012 comments in italics.

Originally posted May 23, 2008…

Me and Aremid 2008.05.22Ok, here’s the deal, World. I spend just about every night damning myself for not having done anything to make myself a better person over the past 24 hours. I lament the coming of the next morning, because I do not see it as a chance to start anew. Reason tells me I will be unable to achieve anyhing beyond more of the same, which, at best is something approaching meaningless mediocrity.

Now, imagine that I’ve spent another four years doing this.

I have had one defining goal for most of my life, and I have disastrously, pathetically failed to come close to achieving it, and with each passing day, cold, hard facts and reason dictate that this goal is more impossible than it was the day before.

Four-years-more-impossible now.

However you want to characterize my way of thinking, my skewed view of the world, of my myself, it seems unlikely there exists a force that can change this. I can guarantee that I’ve tried or considered just about all advice that anyone has ever offered. No science nor faith nor therapy nor anything else has ever helped.

I’ve tried plenty more over the last four years.

It is a bad idea on many levels to try to summarize a lifetime of hurt into one hastily-written public blog posts. I’m doing it to move past this awkward moment in the life of this blog.

The entire life of this blog has been an awkward moment.

I truly do despise this blog sometimes. As I’ve said many times, I don’t know what the purpose of it really is. I don’t want to be someone with nothing interesting to say, but I constantly find myself being someone with nothing interesting to say. Sometimes, this is my only connection I feel to the world, though. Geez, God, that’s pathetic! Yes, I know this.

I fooled myself into thinking this was a connection to the world. It’s really not.

The “social web” is a horrible invention for someone like me. Take an introvert with considerable social anxiety and low-esteem, and the social web is not a collection of tools to suddenly give one’s life meaning. Rather, it gives one a constant 24/7 reminder of what is lacking, of how one is deficient.

It’s even worse now.

I hate Twitter. There, I said it. I hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it. I will say no more with regard to that. Strike that; I’ll say more. I don’t hate it because I find it repulsive that people post about the candy bar they just ate and think others care. I hate it because I actually want to post about the candy bar I ate…but only if I know someone else cares. Chances are, if you have 50 or 100 or 500 or 1000 connections, someone actually gives a damn that Dark Chocolate Milky Ways are awesome. If I “tweet” something like that, I immediately ask myself, “Now why the hell do I dare think anyone has any remote interest in that? How presumptuous am I?”

I don’t spend a whole lot of time hating Twitter.

And the same can be said of anything I stick on my blog. Honestly, if I was hanging out “in real life” with people who gave a crap what I had to say on a regular basis throughout each day, day in and day out, I wouldn’t have any reason to blog at all. Blogging, tweeting, whatever, are substitutes for physical connections that don’t exist.

This is a tad extreme.

The social web is bull…unless you are one of the many people for whom it is not bull, and it is, in fact, a natural extension of what is already a thriving “real-life” social network.

It’s not bullshit, but, like alcohol, it just magnifies your natural state.

Anyway…back to my initial point. I am not happy. I have not been happy in a very long time. The window I have for attaining this evasive happiness is shrinking rapidly. I think it is extremely uncommon for an unhappy person entering the stage of physical deterioration that I’m about to go through to manage to become a happy person. My guess is that someone with my tendencies is likely to completely break in the face of what’s ahead for me. Heck, I’m probably already just about at that point.

I haven’t completely broken. I just teeter endlessly near that breaking point.

BUT YOU HAVE A NEW KIDNEY NOW!

Yes, and Dick Cheney got a new heart. Point?

Perhaps this would be a good time to break out a couple of short lists that are in my wallet, lists that couple of well-meaning people came up with once upon a time. The crux of my existence is, perhaps, that I am unable to embrace, much of the time, the points in these lists. (I can’t see myself how others see me, something like that). Now, it is debatable how true any of these are. These represent how, supposedly, others see me (at least the positive traits, since to remember those was the point of lists).

List #1: What Dave Has Going For Him:
– have job
As usual, I job I LOVE (sarcasm)
– homeowner
I’m a lousy homeowner
– college-educated
And the still-present debt to go with it
– kind to animals
Well, yes, here is this
– environmentally conscious
I don’t care anymore. After two hybrids, my next car will be I enjoy driving.
– non-smoker
Geez, this friend was really reaching.
– respectful
Geez, this friend flat-out doesn’t know me.
– honest
Not sure that this is such a plus.
– good sense of humor
I can’t tell how much my sense of humor has gotten me laid over the past four years. No, I’ll tell you. It’s every other day. I’m a regular Dane Cook.
– financial future
Oh, I remember which friend this was. She had no clue.
– sincere
Whatever.
– enjoys arts
When I actually find someone to enjoy arts with, which is virtually never
– creative
If this true, I’ve sure been wasting it
– hopeful
I suppose this is true, if the definition of hopeful is that I hope to wake up in the morning, because I do, even if I always want to go right back to sleep.
– loyal group of friends
Not loyal enough to stay single and never date. Kidding.

List #2: Why Dave Is Great:
– sweet
If I ever was, I’m certainly not anymore.
– thoughtful
If I ever was, I’m certainly not anymore.
– intelligent
If I ever was, I’m certainly not anymore.
– intuitive
If I ever was, I’m certainly not anymore.
– funny
Ok, I’m still funny
– quirky
Yeah, I’m a regular Zooey Deschanel.
– generous
Not that generous.
– sensitive
A butterfly flaps its wings on Mars, and I flinch.
– caring
Maybe sometimes.
– giving
Maybe sometimes.
– conscientious
Maybe sometimes.
– self-aware
I don’t want to be self-aware

I have had a refrain the last few years, whenever I’ve gotten the “you’re a great guy sentiment”…

Clearly, I’m not quite great enough.

Four years later, I don’t even get the “you’re a great guy” sentiment.

And then there’s the list I could make of the 384 reasons why Dave is clearly not great. I’m supposed to try to sanitize these, maybe even sweep them under the rug, when going out into the world to try to connect with people. I don’t do this very well, if at all.

Even worse now.

So…in conclusion…No, I am not ok. I am, from day to day, more likely than not, not ok. That sort of blunt expression will gain you no favorable contacts, I am aware.

In conclusion, I am still not ok.

I am acutely aware of how alienating and awkwardness-inducing my authentic self can be.

Still acutely aware.

So…(don’t really know when this will really be in conclusion)…I don’t know what I should or will write about in this blog. Until I say something to the contrary, I’m aware there is no compelling reason for anyone to read anything here. I am aware that this post, itself, exists for the purpose of potentially gaining some sympathy. Shit, I want someone to write me and say, “Actually, you’re really, really, really great!” Who doesn’t? Honestly, who doesn’t? (Yes, I know some people actually have real content 95% of the time, and they write in order to communicate important facts and opinions to the community and not in the hope that someone will tell them how awesome they are. And maybe I shouldn’t speak for the rest of the blogoshere. Maybe there are some who completely don’t care what anyone else thinks….in which case, why bother at all?

So…no comments…I think I’ve just jumped the shark enough for now…

This blog jumped the shark before I even started it.

Grad school (I suppose I should say a word)

…because a couple of people had asked about it when I wrote a post two months ago. I’ll offer a brief summary. It doesn’t matter to me that I did, in fact, get accepted. I got the impression that the bar for admittance wasn’t that high. The impersonal, pithy communications I received to notify me of my acceptance and to inform me the next steps went a long way in my forming a negative opinion about this program. No one has even contacted me to ask why I haven’t enrolled in any courses, though courses for the quarter STARTED LAST WEEK. I don’t want to say the program is a joke. The degree is probably very useful for some, and coursework would probably be very helpful to me in getting me on a different career trajectory. But it’s not worth $XXXXX in fresh debt. The whole episode has been a been a big disappointment.

Advance directly to Square One.