Most days, I feel pretty worthless. This can’t be normal, right?

Feeling Worthless

I’ve been having a hard time figuring out my purpose lately. I know purpose is kind of one-of-those-words-no-one-really-understands — and then some thought leader tells a company to define it, and they do an even worse job — but I basically mean (sorry to sound melodramatic): Why am I here? What’s the reason behind me being here, at 34, as opposed to someone else? A lot of days I feel pretty worthless and unclear about my purpose. Let me try to explain a little bit.

Here’s the worst way I can look at myself:

I’m 34. I’ve never been a manager at any kind of job I’ve had. Most of the time, I’ve worked on stuff people don’t really care about relative to the main goals of the organizations in question. I’m overweight and not that attractive. Most people think I’m stupid when they meet me, because I’m big and lumbering and talk slower. I have a hard time following through on my goals. I spend a lot of time alone. It’s hard for me to make new friends. I write on this blog all the time and honestly, I have more spam comments on this thing than real, actual comments. When my friends talk to me about it, it’s largely negative. (“You shouldn’t write that kind of stuff.”)

Here’s the best way I can look at myself:

I have a cool job that pays me money, I have some good friends, and I have people that care about me, including my wife. I’m aware of my flaws and can work on them.

The problem is that recently, (A) — which was longer text, admittedly — is winning out over (B) most of the time. I often feel kinda lost, like I’m walking through life and don’t understand what I’m supposed to do next. It’s hard to necessarily define in words, but I have this overwhelming sense of who am I and what am I doing, and I need to think of ways to fix it. Here are a few that I came up with.

1. Exercise Program: I’m going to do this 90-day program that I found from a girl I met at a happy hour. It looks pretty all-inclusive and helpful. If I can stick with it, I should be done around August. Hopefully that will make me lose a few pounds, which could help with self-confidence. I’m not sure that’s the same thing as “self-worth,” but I think there’s gotta be some correlation there.

2. Blogging: I think I might actually blog less; wrote about that a little here. I just don’t know what the end game is. I’m not going to stop outright because I often use it for personal therapy, i.e. this post, but I might dial it back.

3. Activities: I think I need to join a few more structured activities as a way to (a) make friends and (b) have things to do when my wife has other stuff going on. I’m thinking about joining a basketball league. I’m not very good at basketball per se, but eh. I’m tall. That has to count for something, right? I know it’s easy to look at a 30-something guy “joining a club/league” and say, “HA!” because it seems like a last ditch grasping effort. Maybe it is. I dunno. But I think it might help.

4. Therapy: Do this, and will continue to do so.

5. Affirmation: I think — and this sounds really lame, but still — I think every morning I’m going to write down 3 things I’m grateful for in my life. I’ll try to never repeat a concept more than once a week. That would give me 21 things I’m grateful for every week. If you’re grateful for 21 different things in a week, that’s gotta be something, right?

6. Religion: I converted to Catholicism to get married, but I’m not exactly the most religious person in the world. Maybe I should be. Gonna try to start going every Sunday.

7. The Control Issue: As I’ve gotten older, maybe one of the biggest things I’ve realized is that everything in life really comes back to someone wanting control of a specific situation. You see this all the time at work, in relationships, with your family, with your in-laws, with your friends, etc. It’s micro-level — someone deciding where a group should eat — and macro-level — someone saying that a massive problem isn’t a problem because, well, it isn’t — and it happens hourly. At some point, then, dealing with this worthlessness thing is more about realizing there’s X, Y, and Z thing I can control, and A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and H thing I’ll never be able to. Put ’em in different buckets and go from there.

If you sometimes feel worthless in your own life or doubt your purpose, feel free to leave a comment or use the form to contact me directly.

Ted Bauer