Who am I?
What am I?
I have basic, quick, dismissive answers to those questions so as to satisfy the questioner and quickly change the subject, but the truth is I have struggled my whole life with knowing the true answers to those questions. Only recently have I started to work on figuring it out, but my work is just beginning. Seeing as you probably don’t know me as of yet, I guess let me start by giving you the basic answers that I have given in my life and then we can work on it from there.
My name is Justin. I was Justin before that name was so popular. I’m four years younger than Timberlake, so I have to give him the credit for popularizing the name, but I was actually named after another musician: Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues; my parents’ favorite band to this day. I enjoy their music too, but not so much that I feel the need to name my kid after them. How do I feel about being named after him? I feel nothing. The name Justin is innocent enough for me. It fits my soft, spoiled personality, while also carrying a bit of a charismatic flair to it. It is more popular today, but still not as common as Michael. My middle and last names are a bit of a touchier subject for me, but we can get into that another time.
What do I do? I hate that question and will explain why in a sec, but the short answer is not much. I do work for money, and that is what people typically refer to when asking that question, so I’ll answer that first of all. I am currently working in a nursing home (several nursing homes, really) as an occupational therapy assistant. As far as jobs and careers go, it’s not bad I suppose.
People remark how rewarding my work must be. It’s not as rewarding as you may think. It’s also not physically excruciating, which gives me potential for a long career of making money. The money isn’t six figures, but I could get there if I wanted to work seven days a week. I don’t find my work nearly as rewarding as my peers, and I have my reasons for that, which I will kindly touch on later. But the short answer for now is that I would hate any job that forces me to sit on someone else’s time clock and trade my lifetime in exchange for money, especially on a big corporation’s clock. My first job working for “the man” was in fast food when I was 15. My parents forced me to work it, it was high stress for no reason and for $5.15/hour before taxes, and I was so happy to walk in two months later (I had it as a summer job) and tell them I was working my final week.
I guess I am just naturally not good at living for other people’s standards, and nursing homes, unfortunately and fortunately, have a lot of standards that are increasing every year.
While my first instinct for answering the question what do I do is still work related, the Minimalists shifted my thinking on the answer to refer to what I am passionate about. I am passionate about achieving peace. I am passionate about evolving as a soul and ascending on my journey. I am passionate about creative writing, as well as analyzing and researching subjects. I am passionate about learning and knowledge. I am passionate about travel and having new experiences. I am passionate about living independently and tolerant of others. I am passionate about living more simply and purposefully, as I find it makes me happier. I am passionate about sustainability and renewable energy, to an extent at least. I am passionate about self-improvement and spirituality, as well as physical health and nutrition (I once crashed my way down 80lbs and gained back every single one, so that didn’t work). I was passionate about baseball, hockey, football, professional wrestling, and basketball, but my passion for sports has waned. I am passionate about becoming financially independent so that I can have my time back for me and my family, possibly never having to work again on some corporation’s clock.
What am I?
I have many roles which I haven’t done well. Actually, many of them I do piss poorly. I am a father, a husband, a son, a brother, an uncle, a nephew, a cousin, a friend, a human being, and a soul. I’ve failed in every one of those roles in several aspects. I love my wife and daughter, but I struggle to convey how much I care, withholding emotions instead often times. I am a provider and a cat owner. I’m an introvert. I’m a bit awkward. I can also be a bit of a self-loathing narcissist. Not all procrastinators are lazy, but I am. I can be bitter and spiteful. I’ve been an unfaithful coward. I’ve been immature, ignorant, and stupid. I’ve been deeply flawed, manipulative, and abusive.
It is also very recent from this writing that I started to gain any kind of introspective insight into these things about myself, especially to do anything about it. I get obsessively focused on something and neglect other facets in my life. I’ve been a spoiled brat who lacks empathy, and I am currently working on turning that around. But yet I am still lazy. I have leadership abilities, but yet I have been a staunch follower in my life. I get distracted and lose my train of thought a lot. I say a lot more with my written word than I do verbally, and I haven’t taken advantage of my writing ability nearly enough (this is the most I’ve written since I got my English degree that I‘ve done nothing with).
I am sarcastic with a biting wit, and that often has gotten me in trouble. Unlike my wife, I had everything handed to me for my whole life, and that didn’t help me become a better person but rather serves as an obstacle I have to overcome.
They say that if you truly love what you do for a living then it never feels like you’re working. Writing this doesn’t feel like work, and I am writing this on my day off. Writing is therapeutic for me, and I hope that our story will help others along the way. It is a hell of a story to tell, and it is nowhere near complete. Keep reading and following to see how we went from a family of 2.5 in a 2 bedroom apartment to a family of 3 and hopeful for a 4th living in a one bedroom to pursue ultimately a better way of life. I believe you’ll learn from and relate to our struggles and rebounds to this point, as well as from what is yet to come for us.
Tomorrow, I go back to the nursing home. Back on someone else’s time clock. That will always feel like work to me. It takes away my time for my passions and for what makes me happy and gives me peace. It is literally soul sucking for me. It turns me into a zombie. A slave to the routine and mundane. I lose focus on what is important to me in the day to day. I have to work for now to pay off stupid debts of mine (another post to come) and to save up for what we want to do in the future, but I have hope with thinking outside the consumerist box some, that I will not be on someone else’s clock for the next 30-40 years of this life (or if I am, it will at least be severely reduced). The realization and change in my thought process alone has made me happier, hopeful, and a better person overall, and I hope our story and what I have to say will help you as well. I hope you will learn through our failures and triumphs and be entertained at the same time, as we really are just a bunch of dinguses stumbling and bumbling and trying to figure out our way on our collective journey.