If you could choose to have never been born, what choice would you make? Yes, that sounds familiar. It is the concept of the famous movie entitled "It's a Wonderful Life." In the movie, an angel shows George what his life would have been like if he had never been born. We travel him through all the joys and sorrows of his life and eventually he determines that he was happy to be born and happy with his life.
I think most of us would say no to the question, but there are times in our life, where things just don't go well. There are not just times where things don't go well, there are themes that do not go well. It was those themes that have taken their toll on me.
I was thinking on this today and it led to all kinds of questions and even a prayer to God, himself. Here are some of those questions and statements about my life that I came up with:
Why am I so mediocre in everything I do?
I used to love to sing! I sang and played my guitar for hour upon hour. No matter how much I practiced, I was never better than mediocre.
I fell in love with photography back in 1995, but I have never been better than mediocre. No matter how much work I put in, I never get past the mid point.
I am a mediocre software architect. I am good at much of it, but so much of it, I am just mediocre. Not a math wiz, but very intuitive to the point of it being an oddity. The net result is being mediocre.
I am mediocre spiritually. I am born again and at best, I keep the ten commandments, but I have no real spiritual gifts given by God. I can't preach. I can't sing extremely well. I can't teach. I am terrible with relationships. No one wants to be around me. I have had three spiritual encounters with God over my life, and I have had nothing for the last 15 years or more.
Why have I never been the life of the party?
I am mediocre at a party. I go, but I don't really talk to a ton of people. When I do talk, I talk so fast that no one understands what I am saying. I have little in common with other people who love sports, for example. I have a face that looks like I am angry at the world, no matter how happy I am.
Why do I have to claw my way up the mountain every time I am presented with one?
I could summarize my life, in one simple statement. I have crawled on my belly, up a mountain, for everything I have ever done. Matt, what does that mean?
Let's Talk About Photography
In 1995, I began a long term struggle up the photography mountain. I read book after book. Took college level courses and practiced over and over again. After more than 28 years, I continue to claw up the mountain. I do not get handouts, my wife hates me for it and my depression grows deeper. I truly love it, but it doesn't love me back.
Let's Talk About Software Development
Given the choice of starving or continuing my photography journey, I went with another love of mine, computers. I went back to college and received a MS degree in Software Development and Management from RIT.
I have written so many apps and so many lines of code, that I almost don't even have to think about it anymore. It is a good living, but again, I never achieved more than mediocre to good. I have never been a great software developer, but I am better than your average monkey.
I don't have a great memory, I don't have amazing math skills., and I am not quick on my feet in a meeting. Again, I have to think, concentrate and claw my way up that mountain every day. Nothing comes easy and I mean nothing! There is a reason that is a trite saying.
Despite a great day job, and good money management, why do I never make any financial gains?
This is the one that destroys my mind more than anything else, as it seems to make no sense. I live in a 1300 square feet house on a less than a half acre of land. The floor in the house has weakened in spots so badly that you almost fall through them. I have a dirt driveway with gravel lightly applied. About every 8 years, I can come up with enough money to have a load of gravel brought in. The house is so small, I had to convert the kitchen to an office just to have a place to work. We haven't had dinner at a table since about 2005. I make my own repairs on the house when I can afford to do so.
We drive basic cars like KIA or buy used small cars when possible. We have a 2006 van with faded paint and 250,000 miles on it. Right now, my stupid dryer is broken, and I have ordered a part to fix it. It is probably on the porch as I write this.
Our friend's kids get full rides to college. Not ours, we have to pay, pay, pay.
On the photography side, I experiment, push myself and try all manner of techniques to market and sell my photography and almost nothing to show.
Yes, I have a mediocre life and even this wonderful post is just mediocre :)