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Miniblog #147: Why I’ve Been Sucking at Life and What I’m Going to Do About It

by Carson T. Clark on November 15, 2012

I’m not gonna lie. For three years I’ve felt like I suck at life and have been poorly transitioning into life after college. I’ve been thriving in few areas and languishing in most. Last night I made a bit of a breakthrough, though. An old college friend pointed out that I need to find some sort of deep, intrinsic motivation for being healthier.11.Specifically, eating better. He said it can’t be something I feel like should motivate me. It needs to be something that does motivate me. Otherwise it won’t happen. It was wise counsel. After getting off the phone I dug deeper, applying this insight to the multiplicity of trouble areas… and promptly felt overwhelmed. I’ve been struggling to find motivation almost anywhere. In all these areas it’s like I’m trying to draw from a reservoir that’s already bone dry.22.Continuously more areas have been slipping. It has been a downward spiral, like a Rust Belt city whose shrinking population means less tax revenue and fewer police officers, which in turn means more crime and greater need, which only accelerates population decline. A thoroughly depressing prospect. This led me to question why I feel so depleted in the first place. Then I asked myself how I might finally refill this motivational reservoir. I see now that I’ve been putting off the answers because they’re circumstantially difficult and societally atypical. But after taking a good, hard look in the mirror I finally accepted the truth: The fuel that propels everything is rigorous academic-intellectual discourse–often touching upon faith themes–expressed within close community.33.I’m desperate for a small group of friends with whom I can have regular, lengthy Inklings sorts of discussions. Honestly, I’ve been putting it near the bottom of my priorities list because other things have seemed more important and pressing. That was idiotic. It’s time for a major lifestyle change. What I’m going to do is make a concerted effort push this to #3 on my priority list behind only marriage and work. Everything, and I do mean everything, else must be subservient because all else will continue to whither if I don’t get replenished. The life of the mind must once again take preeminence. It’s the only way for me to pursue God, stop sucking at life, and return to thriving.44.Now, how the heck do I find these people?

  • Leo Staley

    Sounds excellent. I’m gonna fly out this after the end of the semester (about 3 or 4 or maybe 5 weeks.) for several days. We’ll thrive for a bit.

  • Dave Leigh

    Have you considered going back to school?

    • Carson T. Clark

      Hey, Dave. Yeah. Unfortunately, my learning disability makes it nearly impossible to study any of the fields I’m really interested in.

  • Evelyn

    I was despairing earlier this week about the loneliness of a long distance learner! Community is so important. Obviously it didn’t help me this week, but I did actually simply start up my own home group a few months ago by inviting a few people to meet weekly. Relationships take time to build (or get deeper or whatever you want to call it) but I’m hopeful we will be wrestling with God in fellowship before long. There are only 5 of us, no comment is out of bounds and from the start we have been committed to being more than a ‘holy huddle’. As to footnote 4: can you really not find 2 or 3 other people anywhere in your city? That would be heart-breaking.

  • Gill

    I really hear your heartcry, Carson. One way to think about it is, if I were to ask certain people to pray for me, who would I trust? You could then start with a prayer circle of friends who were understanding and willing to hold you in prayer.

    They may or may not be the same as people who you find it refreshing to discuss things with – maybe make a list of those too, and then send them a line asking if they would be interested in, say, a monthly get-together?

    In your shoes, I’d start by going on a retreat. Putting aside that time with the Lord and having a retreat conductor to talk to each day about the stuff that comes up, can be both scary and immensely healing and liberating. I’m looking forward to a silent Ignatian one next week! – but I know that silence is not for everyone. Our spiritualities are as different as our personalities, and God always deals with us as unique beings. Give Him a chance …

    Blessings and hugs!

  • Ian

    How’s about skype or a Google plus hangout? I know a guy in South Georgia who would be down for it.

    • Andy Walsh

      Seconded. Although your mileage may vary depending on what you are trying to get out of it. Video conferencing can facilitate discussions. But if you’re looking for a full community built upon shared experiences, that is harder to achieve with a diaspora.

      FWIW, I’d be willing to participate if you choose to experiment with Skype/G+ hangouts/what have you.

  • Rob K

    I struggled similarly after a job change and move that put me in the boondocks of Minnesota. My natural bent towards introversion was not a great match for a rural area. Interestingly, I got to know some people who started a Catholic Worker community/farm near me and that changed everything. Out of the group, I have one person whom I can discuss ethics, theology, and the other stuff, and then I have the gregarious owner of the farm who later just hugs you and tells you not to worry to much about that stuff, God loves you. It has proven to be a very nice balance.

    • Rob K

      Of course, the cost of it is that I am now a very part-time farmer. Never would have seen that coming.

  • Jay

    One of these people lives across the street from you. That’s a start.

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