I Can’t Do It All, Can’t Make It Work (Life is too Short)

hourglass

The last time I posted here, I had just begun (August 2015) an internship as a process engineer at a well-established company. I am a chemical engineering student, so I took the year off of school in order to gain work experience.

I finally finished up my internship this past August 2016.

The internship was great: I made a lot of money and met a lot of incredible people. The work itself, however, not so much – which is the worrisome part.

I’m too far into my degree to turn back now; I have exerted too much blood, sweat, and tears working hard through my classes to throw it all away. Especially because, from an outsider’s perspective, I’m on track for a successful life. But you know what they say – success if what you define it to be.

What am I defining as success? I like the approval of others, so in the future I would want them to see that I studied and graduated with a challenging major,  am making lots of money, have a respectable job, lead a healthy nutritional lifestyle, keep up with my fitness, am writing a book, and succeeding in the real estate business (plus add husband /or/ wife, and kids to all of that).

But that’s ridiculous. I can’t do all of that. I can’t properly do everything I want to do and live a stress-free life. It frustrates me that I can’t.

Honestly, I just want to be happy. I don’t really care about making a lot of money (I’m a simple person), but I can’t just think about myself; I have to think about my future family and their needs, about my aging parents and their needs, and about my dreams of writing a book and starting a real estate business and the financial needs that THAT will entail.

The core of my conflict right now is that:

I need my chemical engineering job to be: my money-making mule to fund writing my book and the big plans I have for it, and to fund the purchasing of properties for my real estate business.

I need my writing of the book to be: the hobby that brings me joy, that hopefully will entertain other people of my similar taste frequency, and that hopefully I can also make money out of.

I need my real-estate business to be: the passive-income earner, the business that will allow me to quit my high-paying chemical engineering job and live off of my rental properties, no matter how meager the returns, as long as they are steady.

Bottom line: I don’t want to be or work as a chemical engineer, but I want to do it because I want to earn their crazy high salaries in order to help me achieve my other two goals. And once I achieve those two, I want to retire early, so that I can live the rest of my life doing the things I enjoy.

But I’m a realist, and a very pragmatic person with economic sense. My internship made me realize, that I come home exhausted from work. I barely have time to cook, shower, relax, and then sleep. Only to start it all over again the following day. And that was just with me living alone. Can you imagine the responsibilities once I have a family? Where in that schedule could I even fit the ambitions of founding a real estate business or writing a book? Nowhere. Maybe my weekends. But do I really want to spend my weekends working when I could be relaxing and recovering in order to face yet another grueling week of work?

It makes me sad, that I am starting to see my future, and I can’t fit in everything I want to do. I’m feeling trapped. I’m feeling like I’m slowly working towards wasting my life away. Every day I tell myself – “I’ll work on the book a little today” or “I’ll read up on real estate a little today,” but something always gets in the way. Right now, it’s school. Engineering is a rough major; I must study all the time if I want to pass my classes. And being on scholarship, I can’t risk slipping. Every time I’m not studying, I must be either working on my fitness, relaxing, or sleeping, because I need to recover. I can’t “work” more (i.e. write my book or read up on real estate). I need my rest.

Each and every day, I edge close and closer to graduation, and I let myself just ride the wave of compliance, because I have no time to achieve anything else, and graduation date itself seems like a death sentence. The finish line after which I’ll be forced to join corporate America in order to survive and make ends meet. Sure, I’ll live a comfortable life outside of work, but I fear falling into depression because my work will make me so unhappy. My health will suffer because of my stress levels in such a fast-paced environment and the expectations laid down on young people so that I don’t get laid off/fired when ranking of performance comes around. I probably won’t have time for fitness, and if I do, it will cut into the time I could use to write my book or found my real estate business.

I will probably just settle into that mediocre lifestyle, and live and die as just “the average person.” I just wish I could do one amazing thing.

And it makes me sad, that so much potential, in me, and others who have ever had ambitions to be something else, are tamped down so quickly by reality.

How are you all hanging in there?

 

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “I Can’t Do It All, Can’t Make It Work (Life is too Short)

  1. Brave post. Inspiring too. I like this refreshingly honest revelation about the creative soul.

    Inspiration like this can be a curse, as you know. Creativity isn’t very lucrative. One side of you wants to be responsible, the other wants to be expressive, but really approval fuels each side. From an outsider’s point of view (and fellow creator), you can achieve your own approval by staying on track and slowing down your rush to finish that novel.

    I am an editor, ghost writer (novels/screenplays), and overall nerd. I can say that writing for a living will be a struggle, although it’s fueled by love. Writing a novel isn’t as daunting as it sounds… if you aren’t in a rush hehehe. That said, an in-depth outline will speed up your actual ‘writing’ incredibly, to the point where you can just plug and play.

    Remain steadfast in your career and write on the side, unless you feel that writing needs more time. If you wake up and can’t wait to write your next page or outline your next story, then you know writing is for you. As a working writer, you’ll need to do this over and over, with new ideas for new novels each day. If you can’t turn off the proverbial tap, then you ‘have’ to write.

    If you have one story that ‘haunts’ you, I’d say finish that first. If you get another must-write idea after that it may be time to consider writing more seriously.

    The challenge of writing may seem easier, but I propose it’d require as much dedication as you’ve already put into schooling. As a writer who romances the craft, my practical side still calls out to say you can manage both. As a full time writer you’ll be just as busy as you are now. The stress will usually be worth it on both side, but the outcome with engineering is definitely more reliable.

    The battle between your head and your heart will continue (as it does with us all). From a fellow writer to another, move forward with your book, whether it’s one day or one year at a time 🙂

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    • Hi, Dan!

      Thank you very much for having taken the time to read my post. It’s very reassuring to see I’m not writing into the dead winds, ha ha. I’m happy you were really able to understand my creative conflict. I just find myself having mini existential crises pretty much every day, because it just seems so crazy to me, that we really only have one life, and so few of us actually take the leap and try and live in the way that makes them happiest (even if, in the eyes of others, they are just being reckless and irresponsible). It is true… we only hear about the successes, and that is what most of us creatives aspire to achieve, but it makes me wonder, what became of those that failed, and are they satisfied that they at least gave their dream a shot? I have done many (not as consequential) things just for the sake of trying them out, and my logic has always been, “If you tried it, then whether you failed or not, at least you will have no regrets, because you went and did it.” But I can’t seem to apply this same attitude when it comes to something that will have significant financial consequences (my investments, my business, my book, and my job).

      Currently, my plan is to delay entering the real world, because once I do, I will have too many responsibilities weighing me down to write my book. I think I might go on another year-long internship to give myself more time to continue writing my book. As an engineering intern, I get paid well, and have no real responsibilities. This should open up the time I need, I believe.

      Anyway, thank you again, it’s nice to hear from another fellow writer. I wish you luck in your writing endeavors! It’s nice to see someone living the dream!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I had to chime in. It was a great post 🙂 I feel the pain too.

        You can get the novel done this year, especially if it isn’t a huge book hehehe. Try outlining it to see how many pages your story will require. 10k words a week is doable (that’s about 30 pages) if you already feel comfortable with the story and characters. Rewriting and editing is a whole other beast, but if you set aside a few hours a week it will all seem much more manageable.

        While it’s great to live the dream (so to speak), I don’t deny the idea of a more financially comfortable lifestyle. That said, I didn’t leap into my dream when I was as young as you are. You have time on your side.

        Writing is something you can leap into at any time. While you may not control inspiration or the birth of a story, you can control the actual process rather easily. Keep at it!

        I’m glad to help encourage a fellow writer. You may be in a unique scenario where you can ‘risk’ tackling writing -and- stay on your career path. If the craft doesn’t infect you, at least you can rest easy knowing you completed a novel 🙂 Pursuing your own happiness is always most important.

        Best of luck in everything.

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  2. Fast forward about 10 years and take the school part out and I’m pretty much right where you are. Waking up every day with really good intentions to exercise, write some of my novel, job hunt for something I’ll actually enjoy, etc, only to be overwhelmed and retreat to the comforts of Facebook, game apps, and Playstation. I’m no role model by any means, but here’s my 2 cents: keep working hard to get your degree. If you have to slack a bit in the fitness department, then so be it. You’re still young and getting back in to it will be easier once the degree is under your belt. Also remember that the degree doesn’t mean you HAVE to become an engineer. There’s lots of other jobs/careers that you can get in to because of that piece of paper. Find something that makes you happy. Without happiness, none of the rest of it will matter. Now I’m going to go and try to take some of my own advice. Hang in there.

    Like

    • Thank you again, Jonathan! I appreciate you reading all my posts. It’s encouraging to see I’m not alone in this, and that at least one other person is going through life also feeling like they are not living up to the fullest potential.

      I hope you can find a more fulfilling job, and that you can finish writing your novel :)! Let me know if you ever do, I would love to read it.

      Liked by 1 person

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