This week’s Weekly Writing Challenge at the Daily Post is a relatively simple one: Complete the sentence “I wish I were _____” to toy with the subjunctive mood. I’m feeling really melancholic right now, so bear with me while I write something that’s significantly less light-hearted and humorous than my usual fare.

I wish I were beyond whinging. Whinging is something kids do to draw attention to themselves in a desperate attempt to garner sympathy. And for what purpose? What good could possibly come of it? Will someone magically fix all my problems? Would it make things better if someone were to pat me on the back and tell me that everything is going to be okay?

Of course not. I’m more realistic than that.

Yet I can’t stop myself from doing so right now. It’s like that last bit of cake. You know you shouldn’t eat it, but you eat it anyway. It doesn’t matter if nobody reads or notices this, deep down inside I know that I relented, and for that I feel ashamed.

I wish I had gotten into animation at an earlier stage of my life. I just can’t help but wonder that if maybe I’d done that instead of making a mid-career switch, I wouldn’t be looking for entry-level jobs when I’m in my mid-30’s, and feeling like a deadbeat loser.

When I look around me, the people in my position are young and free from many responsibilities and commitments. I look at the other people that are my age, and they’re comfortably established in stable careers after having put enough years into this industry. And here I am, stuck in the middle.

I wish I don’t have to go job-hunting. When you put me in a job, my level of confidence soars and I can truthfully say that I’m the type of guy that always gets things done well. I may not be a genius, but I’m creative, resourceful, and probably more than just a little bit lucky.

But no matter how stellar my track record might be, I instantly forget all of that when I’m here in this state of unemployed purgatory. I am engulfed by self-doubt and despair, I lose all belief in my skills, and I start to wallow in the music of The Cure. Honestly, I don’t even know most of their lyrics; it just sounds like how I feel.

I wish I weren’t so quick to lose my sense of perspective. I have my health, a loving wife, and a furry dog that loves to sleep on my foot. How could I possibly complain when many people don’t even have these? Some really unfortunate folks are even allergic to dogs.

And it’s not like I’m unemployable either. Maybe my dream job is unrealistic in my current situation, but I have the skills and experience necessary to do well in a lot of other jobs. Why do I always forget this?

Wishing is what you do when you’re not actually doing anything about your situation. Life goes on. You have to move with it, and you do that by accepting the cards that you’re dealt with, and dealing with the choices you’ve already made.

So that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

About Drew

I love my kids, my wife movies and video games (in no particular order). Sometimes my dog too, but he likes to stink up my pillow these days.

13 responses »

  1. I think it helps to actively turn your whinging into goals. To your peers that have established careers. I bet many of them wish they had the courage to start again and do something they really love instead of the path they probably picked when they were in high school. Many people these days switch paths because it’s much easier to be enlightened and therefore dissatisfied. I dream of being a fulltime freelancer. Yet around me, my friends are all craving the stability of a fulltime job. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what is a dream job vs your dream job.

    • Drew says:

      Yeah, a friend of mine was like “Wallowing is bad for you” when I told him I was writing that post. But if you channel the wallowing properly, I find that you can get some really true emotions out. My favorite bits of writing, including the one screenplay that I’m quite proud of, have all stemmed from emo moments.

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  3. There’s nothing wrong with whinging, per se – in evolutionary terms perhaps its function is to make us strive to not have those things to whinge about. And, I hear you – I am back in college after working in a job for years and there’s something about not having a job that is very insecure-making. The only time whinging goes wrong, is when your friends do it constantly, ignoring any constructive stuff you might say and then complaining about the same old thing every time you see them. That sucks.

    • Drew says:

      Ah yeah… the vicious cycle of constant self-pitying with no effort to improve one’s situation. I did originally include a paragraph in my post that made a reference to depending entirely on prayer, wishes, and letters to Oprah, but I decided to take that out as I figured my cynical humor might’ve ruined the tone.

      I wish you luck with the college thing. I did that 2 years ago. I absolutely HATED it, especially when I had classmates who were young, disruptive, and more concerned with their PSPs than developing skills to help them in their future careers.

  4. I believe that some whining is good, because it helps you to release the pressure. However, I would not practice doing it all the time. I also can identify with you when you say sometimes we make the wrong career choice. This happen to me and believe me I do reqret it and I am so disappointed in the choices I made. As you said, you watch people that are your age and they are establish and here we are looking for a job. I feel the same way, I should have stayed on my job and I would have been retiring by now. However, I am not going to swallow as you said in this, I am picking myself up and doing what I need to do. So, cheer up, you are not alone. Be encourage, I am sure it will all come together for you.

  5. Alvin says:

    Hey dudebro,

    It happens. We all have our moments. Just let it out – better out then in I always say (that last line came from Shrek).

    I don’t know if this helps – but the present senior batch of 3D animators in Singapore all started in their middle age. This generation started in the 90s, when consumer PCs were just about getting powerful enough to do basic 3D at home.

    These guys all had full-time jobs and were learning this stuff on their own out of interest (yeah, back when I enrolled in the first ever official 3D course in ’96, there were no schools out there teaching this in SG).

    I can’t say it worked out for everyone of them, but I do know it worked out for at least a couple. Things are never easy, and sometimes it’s an uphill climb. It’s like Bruce Lee said;

    “To grow, to discover, we need involvement, which is something I experience every day – sometimes good, sometimes frustrating. No matter what, you must let your inner light guide you out of the darkness.”

    All the best, dudebrah.

  6. Mitzie Mee says:

    What an excellent post! I’m sure you’ll find something soon..and remember, you’ve got a dog that likes to sleep on your foot:)

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