The following is a heartbreaking, but strangely inspirational, story by a man who calls himself “John”. What he has to say about his own life, and about life in general, might change your perspective on things.
My name’s John and I need to get something off my chest. Actually, it’s my whole life that I need to get off my chest.
I’m a 46 year old banker and I have been living my whole life the exact opposite of how I wanted. All my dreams, my passions, gone. In a steady 9-7 job now. 6 days a week. For 26 years. I repeatedly chose the safe path for everything, which eventually changed who I was.
Today I found out my wife has been cheating on me for the last 10 years. On top of that, I know that my son feels nothing for me. I realized I missed my father’s funeral FOR NOTHING.
I didn’t complete my novel, I never traveled the world, I never helped the homeless and the poor. All these things I thought I knew to be a certainty about myself when I was in my late teens and early twenties.
If my younger self had met me today, I would have punched myself in the face. I’ll get to explaining exactly how those dreams were crushed soon.
Let’s start with a description of me when I was 20. It seemed only yesterday when I was sure I was going to change the world. People loved me, and I loved people. I was innovative, creative, spontaneous, risk-taking and great with people. I had two dreams.
The first, was writing a utopic/dystopic book. The second, was traveling the world and helping the poor. I had been dating my wife for four years by then. Young love. She loved my spontaneity, my energy, my ability to make people laugh and feel loved.
I knew my book was going to change the world. I would show the perspective of the ‘bad’ and the ‘twisted’, showing my viewers that everybody thinks differently, that people never think what they do is wrong. I was 70 pages through when I was 20. I am still 70 pages in, at 46.
By 20, I had gone backpacking around New Zealand and the Philippines. I planned to do all of Asia, then Europe, then America (I live in Australia). To date, I have only been to New Zealand and the Philippines.
Now, we get to where it all went wrong. My biggest regrets…
I was 20. I was the only child. I needed to be stable. I needed to take that graduate job, which would dictate my whole life. To devote my entire life in a 9-7 job.
But what was I thinking? How could I live, when the job was becoming my life? After coming home, I would eat dinner, prepare my work for the following day, and sleep at 10pm, to wake up at 6am the following day. God, I can’t remember the last time I’ve made love to my wife.
Yesterday, my wife admitted to cheating on me for the last 10 years. 10 years. That seems like a long time, but I can’t really comprehend it. It doesn’t even hurt. She says it’s because I’ve changed. I’m not the person I was. What have I been doing in the last 10 years? Outside of work, I really can’t say anything.
I know this thought. I have not been a proper husband. I have not been living as the REAL ME. Who am I? What happened to me? I didn’t even ask for a divorce, or yell at my wife, or cry. I felt NOTHING. Now I can feel a tear as I write this. But not because my wife has been cheating on me, but because I am now realizing I have been dying inside.
What happened to that fun-loving, risk-taking, energetic person that was me, hungering to change the world? I remember being asked on a date by the most popular girl in the school, but declining her for my now-wife. God, I was really popular with the girls in high school. In university/college too. But I stayed loyal. I didn’t explore. I studied everyday.
Remember all that backpacking and book-writing I told you about? That was all in the first few years of college. I worked part-time and splurged all that I had earned. Now, I save every penny. I don’t remember a time I spend anything on anything fun. On anything for myself. What do I even want now?
My father passed ten years ago. I remember getting calls from mom, telling me he was getting sicker and sicker. I was getting busier and busier, on the verge of a big promotion. I kept putting my visit off, hoping in my mind he would hold on. He died, and I got my promotion. I haven’t seen him in 15 years.
When he died, I told myself it didn’t matter that I didn’t see him. Being an atheist, I rationalized that being dead, it wouldn’t matter anyway. WHAT WAS I THINKING?
Rationalizing everything, making excuses to put things off. Excuses. Procrastination. It all leads to one thing – NOTHING. I rationalized that financial security was the most important thing. I now know, that it definitely is not. I regret doing nothing with my energy, when I had it. My passions. My youth. I regret letting my job take over my life. I regret being an awful husband, a money-making machine. I regret not finishing my novel, not traveling the world. Not being emotionally there for my son. Being a damn emotionless wallet.
If you’re reading this, and you have a whole life ahead of you, please. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t leave your dreams for later. Relish in your energy, your passions. Don’t stay on the internet with all your spare time (unless your passion needs it). Please, do something with your life while your young. DO NOT settle down at 20. DO NOT forget your friends, your family. Yourself. Do NOT waste your life. Your ambitions. Like I did mine. Do not be like me.
Sorry for the long story, I just had to get this out there.
In conclusion, I realized that I let procrastination and money stop me from pursuing my passions when I was younger, and now I am dead inside, old and tired.
Freedom and escape are extremely difficult for me now. But if you’re young, or if you aren’t too tied down, then I urge you not to make the same mistakes that I did.
Travel the world. Finish your novel. Live your ideal life. Before it’s too late.