Is it time to leave, in order to find success and sense of worth?

Last week, I attended a going away party. In the midst of the fun and the enjoyment, a long-held thought crept into my mind again. It was hard to dismiss it.

My gear is stuck in neutral. I’m at the proverbial crossroads of what the rest of my life will end up being.

Everyone around me, friends and acquaintances, are landing new jobs, careers, getting married, starting families, you know, all of the good things that we celebrate. I celebrate for my friends when great news arrive, and I’m there when bad news hits the door.

Then there’s the feeling of “why is it that everyone is having the best year of their lives, and I’m going nowhere?”

I’m a positive person for the most part. I try not to let anyone in on how draining and depressing it is when you feel that no one understands how much you struggle to survive each day. There is no such thing as living life to the fullest, because life isn’t perfect.

It never was perfect.

Is it that everyone is afraid to understand, because they don’t want to “feel” the emotions that you are experiencing? Are we doing all we can to deny being vulnerable to these feelings, because we have to suppress them, to appease everyone?

When someone asks me about my job search, I tell them my current status. Then, they conclude with “…well, I’ll keep my eye out on anything (for you).”

Please do me a favor: stop doing it.

Most of you will never keep an eye out for any job openings for anyone, not even for a friend. No one is willing to risk their reputation and credibility if they recommend a friend.

Someone I know said “it’s not who you know, but it’s who knows you.” The people in my age group, and the non-profit/volunteer world, knows who I am.

The business community doesn’t know who I am. To most of them, I’m a 37-year old Generation X single professional male, who is “invisible” to them. I’m not the superstar up-and-coming vice president, account manager, event planner that they can groom to be the new leaders.

I’ll never be picked to be in the class of Forty Under 40 or be profiled in dsm Magazine. That’s reality. I’m willing to accept that as fact.

I have done everything to build identity capital: volunteer, network, being active in different professional and social circles. As Meg Jay pointed out, “identity capital begets identity capital.” (Note, Jay’s talk isn’t just for 20-somethings. 30-somethings need to watch this too.)

After nearly four years of doing this, the result has come up empty.

In my personal life, time is running out on me to find and start a family, and establishing “solid” roots in the community. I’m 37 years old. I shouldn’t be single and lonely. I don’t mind doing things alone, but loneliness is a silent killer.

It infuriates me when friends and acquaintances blindly utter the “if you don’t think about it, it’ll happen” line when it comes to seeking a mate. If I “don’t think about it”, it will never happen.

From my standpoint, it’s the worst advice ever to offer to a person. It tells that person several things:

  • You don’t think they are worthy of dating or having a mate. They’re not worthy of love.
  • You’re discouraging them from trying, intentionally or unintentionally, and
  • If they did find that person they choose to be with, you would be jealous as hell.

Saying that I’m better off single is an insult, if you want my honest opinion. I don’t tell you that being married or dating is a waste of time or a huge mistake. The time to pick my family (importantly a mate) is now. I don’t have the time to “take as much time as I need” to find someone to be with.

Everyone’s “got the right to love”, right? Why deny anyone that?

There is a point where I have to ask the inevitable: should I leave Des Moines, in order to find success personally and professionally?

Because I feel nothing is going to positively happen for me here. I’ve been patient and have kept my sanity in check long enough. I’m tired of being the one to see someone get a new job, watch someone walk down the aisle, and get noticed for business achievement.

When will my “best year” happen?  Today? Tomorrow? Never?

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