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mark45y
03-30-2005, 10:03 AM
I guess I did the same thing. I worked my way through college as a bartender and made substantial bucks in tips every night. Upon graduation my first job offers were not even half what I was making at the bar so I moved to a bigger bar. More action, more fun party party party. I had a condo at a ski resort and an apartment in the city. Big fast cars and a motorcycle. It wasn’t till I hit 30 that I realized I had wasted 10 years. It hit me like a bushel of bricks.

Same thing with a stripper I know. She makes 80 or 90 a year and stopped going to school. She didn’t drink, now she does. She didn’t drug and now she does. She never turned a trick and now she does every once in a while to pay for special things.

She can’t see it but her family and I can. Her slide is incredibly fast to everyone except her as I am sure mine was to everyone except me.

There is not a damn thing I can say to her that would make a difference. Her new friends have attention spans that max out at 5 minutes so nothing serious is ever discussed except on E. She is so cliched, pierced, tattooed in all the same places everyone else is. Listens to the same music as everyone else. Goes to the same places and buys her makeup at the same places. A generation of silly MTV clones.

No point to this. No stereotypes implied. Just my personal rage at seeing a good person turn into something not very good.

Katrine
03-30-2005, 09:43 PM
This sounds like me, minus the tatoos and piercings, and dropping out of school part. :(

I am wasting my life too, and I need help :(

erotictonic
03-30-2005, 10:27 PM
Yea, me too until this past year. Now I've turned myself around and am planning to embark on a new career. And I'm 34... Alot of us waste our twenties.

Silverback
03-30-2005, 10:48 PM
This sounds like me, minus the tatoos and piercings, and dropping out of school part. :(

I am wasting my life too, and I need help :(

Darn that everything else!>:(

Katrine, pull up your pants and stop wasting your life.:)

miabella
03-30-2005, 11:03 PM
i wasted the first half of my twenties in a series of online entanglements, and i worry constantly that i'll never acquire enough discipline to avoid wasting the second half in the stripclub scene. the episodes of total burnout every other month are hardly helping. meh.

merely_lurking
03-30-2005, 11:55 PM
Hey, what's with all the frowning faces I see, little campers. Sure, a lot of us wasted a lot of time, myself included. There are a lot of meandering paths we pursue in life that may have seemed like dead ends, but there is something to be learned from every experience that life has to give us. Life is to be experienced, and we have many lessons to learn, some of them very difficult. As long as there is life, there is hope. And it may extend beyond then, so turn those frowns upside down because there is no time like the present to learn from the "wasted years" and make the best of what lies ahead of us. (Can you tell I'm drunk?) :)

Nicolina
03-31-2005, 12:24 AM
Thanks JZ...It made me cry but it made me feel better too. I'm having a bad night....

Moneywise
03-31-2005, 05:34 AM
I'm a firm believer that you control your destiny. After having spent some years in the military at age 18 and never attending college until I exited the military (thought the military was a gigantic party), I began my collegiate studies at age 22. I always worked a full time job and took courses at night. I have attended a total of 5 schools with each having had a decent number of classes to contribute to where I am today. You just never give up. I took what I believed to be the non-traditional route to achieve my first goal and didn't receive it until age 29. Life for me really began at age 30. At that time I was mature enough to focus on a career and had finally made up my mind as to what I wanted to do with myself. Did you hear that? Age 30 people...

Having been in my current job for a few years, and mingling amongst the staff, I have found that the route I took to get there has become more and more traditional every day. People encounter many obstacles in life such as children, family pressures (mother or father in need), immaturity, lack of focus.. etc. However, the one constant that I can see is that age 30 almost always brings about a sense of focus. Finally you've gotten the whoring and partying out of the way.(speaking from self experience) The 20s were a blur for many of us. Now you can focus on the road ahead.

I've traveled and seen more places around the globe than your average person. I also took lots of pictures so that blur will always be remembered.

I'm actually thankful for having had the opportunity to experience an abundance of jobs in my 20s. Add that to a pretty good college tenure and you have a resume that works very well. If I can do it I know many people on here can do it too. (including my cyber fave) There was always a bit of self doubt there but I took those chances and they worked out. You'll just never know if you never take that leap. Follow your instincts. Follow your heart. :heartbeat

yoda57us
03-31-2005, 05:45 AM
I guess everybody handles adversity differently. It's tough to watch someone you care about go down the wrong path but it is the path THEY choose and, sometimes, all we can do is be there for support. We all control our own destiny.

I'm not going to bore you all with stories about one of the most inspirational people i've ever known but I will tell you that she is a 30 something retired stripper who over came all sorts of obsatcles, including the daily challenges of dancing, and came out just fine at the other end.

Life is a journey, not a destination. Whatever phase of your life you are going through right now try to relish it, you only live once and what you are experiencing now, today, you will never experience in quite the same way again. We all make mistakes but triumphs and tragedies are both part of life and part of the learning experience. As long you as you keep moving forward-however slowly, you are on the right track.

Moneywise
03-31-2005, 05:49 AM
There is not a damn thing I can say to her that would make a difference.



She sounds like she could use some support and you sound as though you care enough to be there for her. Don't give up.

Ms. J is also backsliding a little bit every week. I just do what I can when I can to inject little tidbits of positivity in her ears. Maybe it will work. Maybe it won't. I don't control her destiny but I do care.

SportsWriter2
03-31-2005, 07:10 AM
Former USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev used to say, "People are born, they suffer, and they die." Anything better than that is frosting on the cake.

I have an interesting professional life. But I can come out of a Friday morning meeting and listen to a voicemail that says, "It's sooo beautiful today. Can we have lunch together and go to the [nearby ocean] park and bite each other's nipples? Please." And then she'll tell me how she's doing in school...

Nothing is wasted when you have cute little freaks in your life, and you're happy day to day. :)

Susan Wayward
03-31-2005, 08:33 AM
I'm with Jay on this one. I sure don't consider my twenties wasted. Sure, it took me eight years to finish college and for the most part I fucked around, but I got to travel, have fun, learn about the world, etc.

Only in modern Western society do we have the luxury to waste our time like that.

Just another incredibly useful and entertaining post by the always-enlightening Mark45 . . .

IACali
03-31-2005, 10:00 AM
I was tempted to say that I've wasted/been wasting my life.... and there are certainly days when I feel like that. But what JZ said really hit home as well, and I have some days when I truly believe that I've lived thus far for the journey, not the destination. I want to continue to live that way.

There are certainly things that I need to change, so I can provide the kind of life for my daughter that I want her to have. Each day that I don't work towards those changes, yes, I'm "wasting" in a way..... but every single one of those days also brings a moment, a word, an interaction, a breath, that makes that day valuable on its own, even without that forward momentum.

I don't think that was very eloquent, but that's how I feel.

love
cali

Casual Observer
03-31-2005, 10:20 AM
Former USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev used to say, "People are born, they suffer, and they die."

That's because he's Russian; they excel and revel in suffering as a people. Look at their operas sometime. :)

My own experience echos that of MW almost exactly--military, college, then starting and losing a business before going to grad school, and I have no regrets about it. It really is about the journey. And while there were some very negative experiences along the way, they have helped define who CO is.

In my bag I keep a copy of Robert Frost's A Road Not Taken, because it's really expressive of how I've gone about living this life an it provides me with perspective when I feel I'm lacking:


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

(emphasis mine)



And for those of you that find Frost too cheesy or abstract, Iron Maiden's Wasted Years seems equally appropriate (especially for you Kat). ;)


From the coast of gold, across the seven seas,
I'm travelling on, far and wide,
But now it seems, I'm just a stranger to myself,
And all the things I sometimes do, it isn't me but someone else.

I close my eyes, and think of home,
Another city goes by, in the night,
Ain't it funny how it is, you never miss it til it's gone away,
And my heart is lying there and will be til my dying day.

Chorus:
So understand
Don't waste your time always searching for those wasted years,
Face up...make your stand,
And realise you're living in the golden years.

Too much time on my hands, I got you on my mind,
Can't ease this pain, so easily,
When you can't find the words to say, it's hard to make it through another day,
And it makes me wanna cry, and throw my hands up to the sky.

Chorus:
So understand
Don't waste your time always searching for those wasted years,
Face up...make your stand,
And realise you're living in the golden years.

Katrine
03-31-2005, 11:00 AM
Former USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev used to say, "People are born, they suffer, and they die." Anything better than that is frosting on the cake.


I was just going to say, that's not something he just made up, its the proverbial Russian spirit, or lack thereof.

I don't think you need to be career and money making focused in your 20's. I just have a problem that is causing me not to live my life to the fullest. I've done so well for myself and right now I suffer from a self-imposed handicap that is consuming................

evan_essence
03-31-2005, 11:38 AM
I've done so well for myself and right now I suffer from a self-imposed handicap that is consuming................Self-imposed handicaps. I can relate. If someone else were to blame, I'd be fighting mad. When I'm at the core of the problem, I become lethargic and resigned to failure. Philosophic observations, poetry and quotations seem to have little impact. Well, check that. They're actually downright frickin' annoying. On the other hand, sarcasm is always comforting.

-Ev

Nicolina
03-31-2005, 12:57 PM
My current self-imposed handicap is a hardcore SW addiction.....

NinaDaisy
04-01-2005, 03:39 AM
I've vacillated between feeling like I've wasted my life and a "no regrets" approach.

I'm glad that dancing allowed me to have the money and flexibility to travel and do things and meet people that I otherwise never would have. I have numerous college friends with "serious" jobs (law, finance, etc...) who often tell me they're envious of the freedoms I enjoy that they don't. Nice to hear when you realize they're working 60+ hour weeks. However, I know that it's almost certain that in a few years they'll move up the corporate food chain and really be raking it in, while in dancing there are no raises or promotions. You just make your money and that's it.

I'm on the verge of retiring very soon, just because I think it's time. I consider myself fortunate to not have fallen victim to many of the stereotypical pitfalls that sometimes engulf dancers. I have a decent nest egg (and yes, a few designer handbags too!), haven't even tried coke and don't get shitfaced at work, no tats or piercings ever, and spent 4 1/2 years with a great, supportive SO (yes, he was a musician, but also a college professor who owns his own recording studio). I occasionally feel marginalized because of my job, especially since in the last few months I've been hanging out with a few "kids from old-money" types who I tend to feel very squeamish around despite my education and considering myself to be a fairly cultured person.

Youth is wasted on the young; isn't that the old cliche?

Many people spend their twenties, and even much of their thirties, doing what they think they're "supposed" to do in terms of career, family and behavior. They also still wonder if perhaps they wasted their lives by "playing it safe".

SeppeSai
04-01-2005, 04:08 AM
I know that some of my friends and family consider my clubbing to be a complete waste of time, but what they don't know is that I've had some of the best moments of my life in these places, sharing time and companionship with my two ATFs and multiple favorites.

My retired ATF in particular gave me one of the most intense and personally satisfying moments that I've ever had, and my current ATF has turned the daily grind into something bearable when I can refer to our good times in my mind while slogging it out at the old workplace, thereby instantly picking me up and putting a smile on my face. A waste of time? I think not.

doc-catfish
04-01-2005, 08:39 AM
I happen to know some people who got to accomplish what they set out to do in life as a teenager, and the strange thing is that some of them are absolutely miserable. Many of them wish they had slacked a little bit more.

Those who we wish we could be more like often wish they could be more like us. Just some food for thought when one is a bit down on themselves over what they don't have, or haven't done.

DeepGreen
04-02-2005, 10:07 AM
IMHO, you can just as easily "waste" your life working 80 hours per week at a high-powered job... What really matters is whether you truly live and experience life. I think in this country it is more common for people to waste their lives at work...living in a suit in a cubicle or a corner office...yet never truly appreciating the wonderful things and people that are around them every day.

Nicolina
04-02-2005, 10:22 AM
Very true, DeepGreen, and very comforting to those of us who have lived unconventional lives and worried, at times, that we were missing out on the benefits of being "normal".....Thanks!

FBR
04-02-2005, 10:35 AM
I cant complain. My five younguns are doing well. Mrs FBR looks a hell of a lot better for her age than I do. My business, despite a few ups and downs, has allowed me to provide nicely for my family and have a few bucks left over for a couple hours of entertainment from time to time ;) . As Jay said "We got it good, folks".

FBR

Silverback
04-02-2005, 10:56 AM
I happen to know some people who got to accomplish what they set out to do in life as a teenager, and the strange thing is that some of them are absolutely miserable. Many of them wish they had slacked a little bit more.

Those who we wish we could be more like often wish they could be more like us. Just some food for thought when one is a bit down on themselves over what they don't have, or haven't done.

Doc,

You stirred recolection of something Lilly Tomlin said once. It was:


Wouldn't it be great of we all grew up to be what we wanted to be? The world would be full of Nurses, Firemen, and Ballerinas

SportsWriter2
04-02-2005, 12:03 PM
And another Lily Tomlin quote to echo DeepGreen:

"The trouble with the rate race is that even if you win, you're still a rat." :-\

mark45y
04-02-2005, 01:07 PM
The reason I wrote this post was something that happened to me when I was 30. My three college roommates came to visit me. I was running a restaurant in Chicago and had not spoken to them much in the 10 years since we had graduated from college. We all took the LSAT tests and GRE’s at about the same time. I had scored the highest by a long shot and in our junior year in college had by far the most assets because of my restaurant and club jobs while in college.

For some obscure reason (drugs, sex and rock and roll) I had stayed in the restaurant business. Roommate number one Dick had just finished defending a high profile murder case and was the talk of the legal town for winning the case. Bill was the head of the Presidents task force against organized crime and had a bodyguard wherever he went. And Harry had invented canned air for cleaning cameras and was the president and CEO of his own company.

After having dinner at my restaurant I took them across the street to the playboy club for drinks.

I realized then what they had that I did not was an ability to put off gratification for a few years and be persistent about work and education and savings.

I drank and partied while they had worked and saved.

Luck aside it has been my experience that successful people are able to put off gratification and are persistent in the pursuit of what it is that they want.

SportsWriter2
04-02-2005, 01:44 PM
I realized then what they had that I did not was an ability to put off gratification for a few years and be persistent about work and education and savings.

Yes, deferred gratification is the cornerstone of middle-class capitalism. But you also need to know when instant gratification comes easy. :)

Like the song says, "If it don't come easy, you better let it go."

merely_lurking
04-02-2005, 01:50 PM
I think mark45y, that you just followed your own path, but your competitive ego is telling you that you were smarter or more capable then those friends of yours, and then you kick yourself for not having taken another career path. Would you really have wanted to delay gratification as long as those other guys? You just got gratified sooner than them.

The_Oceans
04-02-2005, 05:48 PM
I had one of these moments about six months ago, when I was watching "Around The Horn" (sports talk show on ESPN) and saw that the former sports editor of my university newspaper (the year before I became sports director of the university radio station) was now a staff writer for Sports Illustrated, and was making regular appearances on national TV. And I got to thinking about the ambitions I had growing up, wanting to be a national sportscaster (a la Vin Scully, Bob Costas, Chris Berman, etc.). After getting my degree a quarter early, I decided instead to take a job with a startup company, the summer of 1994. The startup only lasted a year, and I started on a path that took me to where I am today, as a senior purchasing agent for a US company - eight years with the company, the last three here in the UK.

At first I lamented the fact that I was still watching sporting events on TV (I'm watching the Final Four as I type this) instead of being courtside telling the story. I started thinking about other moments where I was faced with a choice, going back to the first time I "fell in love" when I was 12 years old, and cursing the choices or events that got me where I am today.

But then I realized, if I hadn't taken the path I did, I wouldn't have made the friends I did, I would've had different opportunities, and who knows, I probably wouldn't have had the chance to live outside the USA and finally be independent, and travel to the extent that I'm starting to now. I agree with Moneywise...life begins at 30! ;D

So today, I try not to focus on what could've been, but what is. And while my life isn't perfect, or at least where I'd like it to be, I remind myself that I've found a stable career, I have friends and family that care about me, and even if it's a little late, I'm getting to do all the things I only talked about doing before. That's not so bad, is it?

VenusGoddess
04-02-2005, 06:33 PM
When I get to the point of looking back and wondering what the fuck I was doing in my younger years...I firmly remind myself that I did not waste 10 years...I simply spent all of those years weeding out the ways that I did not want to spend my money for the rest of my life, the ways that I did not want to party for the rest of my life, the people I did not want to invite to share myself with for the rest of my life, and learned what boundaries I will instill in my life.

So, you see...it's not all been a waste. I may have spent 10 years searching...but, it's helped me decide what is best for me...and what is not. ;)