Many a time when I was growing up, I would get myself into some type of jam or sticky situation, and my mother would repeat the old adage, “You made your bed – now you have to sleep in it.”
Sometimes things would work out just fine. I would confront and resolve the problem, or it would somehow resolve itself. Other times, I learned things the hard way.
I have learned many lessons the hard way.
A while ago, I am not sure exactly when, I realized that nobody but myself is responsible for whatever work and life situations that I find myself in. True, I did not have the cushiest upbringing in comparison to many people that I know, but I accept that my life is a reflection of the choices that I have made. I want to lead a better life, hence I must learn to make better choices. This may apply to you, too.
I have written about taking action in several prior posts. I have good intentions and plan on doing things to help boost my income and improve myself, but I have yet to take any definitive actions beyond starting this blog, which is obviously not leading me to a path of great wealth and success.
Although I am middle aged and hope to be reaching other middle aged readers, we must agree that it is not too late for us to unlock more of our potential. We may not ever reach it fully, but it sure would feel good to move closer to reaching it.
I made my own bed, and it is not always neatly made.
In my quest for personal betterment, I have mostly pursued it by reading, thinking and writing about it. A lot of reading, thinking and writing but little doing.
Many people do not become successful due to lack of talent, laziness or not caring to become successful. I do not fit in those categories, although my talents may not lie in high-demand lucrative skills like computer programming, medical training or engineering.
I had nearly as good an education and training in writing than any Middle Class Guy could get, and I have willingly allowed my greatest talents to lie dormant for decades. I speak better than I write, and can expound at length in an engaging manner on a wide variety of topics, but I am not yet ready to put myself out there in that regard. Writing under a pseudonym is much safer when it comes to my middle class way of thinking and my job security with a very conservative employer.
My guess is that you, too, have hidden or latent talents above and beyond what you are currently utilizing. You and I could both make a long list of excuses why things did not go our way as much as we had hoped and intended for them to. Whether you blame your upbringing, your spouse, your coworkers, your ethnic origin, your schools, your boss, the government, the economy, politicians, your in-laws, your geographical location, or my favorite, “The Man,” it is time for us both to stop making excuses and start kicking some major ass.
Don’t waste any of your valuable time reading those touchy-feely books like Shakti Gawain’s Creative Visualization that I tried to get into earlier this year.
That shit about affirmations is fine for new agey women who are already well-off and seeking spiritual comfort and a greater sense of purpose. Those books serve those who they are written for well.
Me, I have come to learn that you can say that you are rich until you are blue in the face, and visualize the money coming into your account every night while falling asleep (like I do), and it will not help you whatsoever unless you do something to make yourself more prosperous. I have yet to gain one extra red cent or iota of greater success by saying affirmations.
Affirmation without action is self-delusion, or as I now think of it, Affirmations Shmaffirmations.
Must Earn It
Like Smith Barney, if you are a Middle Class Guy like me who wants to make more money, you need to do it the old-fashioned way and earn it. Most people do not necessarily want to earn more, they just want to have more.
As I just wrote, I am working on parlaying my reading, thinking and writing skills into additional income, but that may not be the way for you and other readers. Everyone can do something and has a skill that can be marketed. Everyone can do more than they are currently doing. The ways of gaining extra income are more plentiful than ever, but at the same time that solid, full-time employment with benefits is shrinking more than ever.
I thought about starting this blog for several years before doing so. I thought and thought and am still thinking about creating eBooks to sell on multiple platforms to gain some additional income. I’m not looking for Stephen King or John Grisham money, but enough extra to make a positive difference in my family’s lives.
Any extra income that you and I make should first go toward reducing our debts, whether they be mortgage debt, auto loans, student loans, credit card bills or all of the above.
There may not be a shortage of ways to make some extra income this coming year, but there should also not be a shortage of willingness for me and you to work a few gigs, sell a few of our items or write, create and sell eBooks on Amazon.
As the famous Nike commercials told us for many years,
With the new year coming up soon, it is time for you and me to take a hard look in the mirror and be honest with ourselves.
The past is just that, the past. The mistakes that you and I have made, the roads not taken, the chances not taken or not recognized as opportunities, the opportunities that we took that did not turn out for the best, those are behind us.
Did I envision myself as a municipal economic development staff person answering to an inexperienced boss fourteen years my junior in my late forties? No.
Did I envision my family living in a house in need of many repairs and driving junky old cars at this age? Not really. I figured that I would be driving a Porsche and my wife would drive a new Lincoln Navigator or comparable massive SUV, perhaps a Hummer, to ferry around the town. I assumed that I would be able to spend this kind of money on vehicles, like the successful people that I saw all over my town where I grew up.
Speaking of the town, I envisioned living in a lovely north shore community like Highland Park. But we are many miles away from there, literally and metaphorically.
I never envisioned enduring chronic ankle pain due to an injury that would not heal and that does not improve no matter what I do. The only thing that makes it feel better are taking painkillers and rubbing it with Biofreeze every night. Also not the kind of thing that you dream of when you are younger.
I never dreamed of working all the time, just to pay the bills that never stop rolling in, a mortgage for several decades, high property taxes, a steady stream of auto repairs, computer repairs and home repairs, college tuition and so on and so forth,
After doing that for about thirty-five years, I would qualify for a modest pension, but not close to enough to lead the kind of lifestyle that we would want to. If I do not take a step forward in my earnings and overall outlook, I am doomed to spend my entire life grinding away, saving up as much as I can for some nebulous conceptual time called “retirement,” and doing my best to support my family and send my children to a decent college, so that they can hopefully do better than I am now doing.
Well, what can I say?
I accept that I have made my bed and am now sleeping in it, but I am poised to go beyond just coming up with ideas this coming year. As they say, good ideas are a dime a dozen, but implemented ideas are priceless.