Don’t Worry, Be Happy

I wish I could worry less about life and the world around me. I’d even settle for one out of two.

The desire to just, check out, watch TV and let day after day swim by is strong. Caring takes a lot of energy. Plus, all the news is depressing. Even the good stuff carries weight.

I’m not the first person to have these thoughts. I’m sure that the Athenian philosophers of old felt the same way about the wars with Sparta.

They didn’t even have Netflix.

As of this writing I am still waiting to hear back about a good job. A perfect job in fact, one I know I could sink my teeth into and feel like I was accomplishing something with my life.

Something like that is hard to come by so I am understandably nervous about my chances. I think I did everything right but Lady Luck and I have never gotten along. I’m hopeful but cautious. The hope decreases exponentially as each day goes by.

As it often does.

Since January I’ve probably applied to at least one hundred jobs, give or take twenty. Of those jobs, I’ve gotten some form of rejection email from perhaps fifteen. At least they let me know for sure they weren’t interested. That was nice of them.

As far as interviews go, I’ve had four. Three by phone and one in person. One of the phone interviews was supposed to lead to second, but they never got back to me. Like I was someone they met on Tinder or something.

Another interview was for a job that misrepresented the basics. I thought it was full time work, they thought I was some fresh college student willing to take any employment even if it mean being discarded six months later like a paper cup.

In some ways though, I am.

None of it is up to me, of course. A lesson I always knew but optimistically believed wouldn’t matter. However, I have little to distinguish me from the many other qualified people out there searching for the same line of work. I can’t point to much that isn’t readily available to many others. I can only send out my resume and hope something comes back. A majority of the time only silence returns.

It’s discouraging to say the least.

To elaborate, it’s frustrating. I finished that book of Mastery I spoke about last week. In it they talk about “the apprenticeship” phase of mastery. This is where you take whatever opportunity that comes your way, as long as it will let you learn the ins and outs of what you want to do. Even if it’s only tangential at first.

Therein lies the problem. First you must figure out what it is that you are called to do. All the greats apparently had a feeling of purpose. A desire they couldn’t quench.

Have I discovered that about myself?

Perhaps.

That sort of knowledge is really only available in retrospect. But I am still waiting to find something that will let me pursue what I’ve come to hope is my purpose. There are no tips and tricks in the book to solve that particular problem.

Nothing about what to do if you got it wrong either.

To be fair, if everyone could do what they wanted there would be too many video game testers. The book makes it sound so simple though. Find a way to earn a living doing what you love. What you wake up every day wanting to do. Then learn all you can until you are skilled enough to strike out on your own. Don’t be lazy about the work involved. Focus, focus, focus.

There, I’ve spoiled most of it for you. When you boil it down it sounds like every by the bootstraps speech you’ve ever heard. Unfortunately for me, I can’t get started until I get a job. So far, getting over that last hurdle has been almost completely out of my control. So, I check Twitter obsessively to feel like I’m involved in the world around me.

Every day I forget how depressing my Twitter feed is. Even if it’s awful it helps me feel like I’m in the study phase at least. And lately it’s always been terrible.

Always.

Republicans would be better off if they had lost

I’m standing on the porch at a friend’s house. It’s late November, maybe early December. I had spent Thanksgiving making a concerted effort to not bring up politics. It wasn’t easy since my mother is the only person I know for sure didn’t vote for Trump. Some of my cousins might have been on Team Democrat but I wouldn’t know it. We all kept our mouths shut.

Except to eat of course.

It’s taken me some time to recover from the shock of losing. Understandable given how much time I had put into the election. I don’t know how my co-workers who were at it for years managed. I suspect booze played a large role. Despite all of that, here I am on a cool Raleigh night, arguing about politics.

My opponent is a smart guy. I have to give him credit. He thinks NPR is a left wing ivory tower but he listens to it and comes with logical counter arguments. This might have something to do with being the only conservative in our mutual friend group. He’s used to being on the defensive so he keeps the walls manned and the pikes sharp.

As most discussions of this nature do, we get close to a shouting match. Tempers are easily enflamed when it comes to matters of Trump. At this point however, all we could really do was rehash the election. 45 hadn’t yet begun to pick from his Cabinet list entitled “The Absolute Worst Options Possible.”

So of course, we’re talking about emails.

My other friend who, until this point, has kept out of the argument suddenly pipes up.

“Well the one thing we can all agree on is that we hope Trump succeeds and is one of the best Presidents ever.” A bit overly optimistic perhaps. One of the best ever? At even this early point I was willing to settle for doesn’t destroy the economy.

Now before you throw my buddy under the bus, think about it. That’s not a bad sentiment to have. Yes, Trump is a horrible human being in most ways. But prior to the inauguration we didn’t know how he would govern. I mean, we all knew but we didn’t know. At that point, it was all hypothetical. It couldn’t possibly be as bad as we imagined, right?

Unquestionably, we should hope for success rather than root for failure.

Well things are different now. They’re real. Far, far, far too real. On the day I write this, they’ve just appointed a special prosecutor to look into Trump’s ties with Russia. By the time that I post it anything could have happened. The consequences of the President’s actions will be sweeping and devastating for the Republican party.

What have they gained in the bargain?

A Supreme Court pick that forced them to throw away decades of tradition, a universally hated health care bill, and one of the worst political scandals in modern memory. Plus, the embarrassment of having to vouch for an unhinged amateur autocrat. This is Comcast internet levels of bad deal.

What would they have if Trump lost?

Chances are they’d still have the margin they have in the House and Senate. They lost seats with Trump at the helm but still managed to hold on. They would be able to rail and complain about the ACA for another few years without having to actually do anything about it. Complaining without doing anything is their favorite pastime.

They would have gotten Merrick Garland and wouldn’t have had to cheat on the rules. The Republicans certainly would have wanted that 60-vote threshold around for Clinton’s presidency. They would have a newly ascendant Fox News style media powerhouse in after Trump played Voltron with his MAGA brand and Breitbart.

Does anyone still think he wanted to be President at this point?

Trump is never going to be popular. He could cure cancer tomorrow and people would still be like fuck that guy. I’ll be one of them. Even if the investigation turns up nothing the Democrats are riled up. Apathy is the liberal’s greatest enemy and I think it’s safe to say that the coming midterms are going to be a barnstormer.

There’s also the bigger issue that the Republicans have quite likely lost an entire generation of voters. The Snapchat armada is not buying what they’re selling. The ones that do are more likely in it for the shits and giggles. Memes and centipedes or whatever. It’s not something you can build a governing coalition on.

I could be wrong of course. If this year has taught me anything it’s to never make assumptions.

But I feel good about this one.