Jimmy Olsen Blues

You ever get the feeling you don’t altogether know where you’re going in life? For some reason, the idea of calling, of vocation, of purpose, of whatever-the-heck you want to call it, keeps cropping up, a niggling gnome sitting on my shoulder asking if I’m on the right path. And listening to the gnome is obviously something that needs to be done, because it doesn’t feel right shoving him in the microwave and setting it to defrost.
This isn’t about my job, not exactly. For the most part I like my job, I love the people, the pay and conditions are acceptable, everything’s fine, apart from the ever-present issues everyone has with their jobs, and the fact that we face the same socio-political issues encountered by every educational establishment. Don’t want to use this to whine about my job by any means. It’s just that I’ll be 30 in November, and the suspicion is slowly dawning on me that I’m going to end up like the lead character in Springsteen’s Glory Days, sitting in the bar telling the same old stories I told a bazillion years ago. Heck, I struggle to come up with meaningful/funny/interesting material for this blog, and maybe that’s slightly symptomatic of…I dunno, maybe a lack of ambition, and quite definitely a lack of direction.
It sounds like I’m going off on some self-pitying tangent again, and I could handle that, but the thing is, I don’t think it’s just me. I either know, or know of, plenty of people who remain unsure where they see their lives going; either things have fallen apart, or things never got put together in the first place, or there are a hundred different roads but no A to Z, or the journey is clear but the tickets are all sold out. Heck, watch Smallville, even Superman doesn’t recognise his purpose! How messed up is that?
I’ve always been a little jealous of people who have always seemed to know what they want out of life, or who seem to have a crystal clear calling, a Road to Damascus thing that has lit up their direction in neon lights. I always think that, if your calling is that clear you can handle the problems and pitfalls and unexpected hindrances that life throws at you. You’ve got something to fight for – you know where the medieval princess babe is, and you’ve got a rocket launcher prepped to take out that dragon. Go get ‘em!
But sometimes you don’t get to take on the dragon. You don’t know where he is, even if he is a big scaly fire-breathing myth o’ mass destruction. You’re not going to get the princess babe, you’re going to get the bedsit full of cats. You’re Jimmy Olsen. You’re Merry and Pippin and Xander Harris. You’re the tin dog.
Of course, I know what I like, I know some of the things I’m a little bit good at, I know I one day want kids and a wife who’ll tolerate a comic-book collection. At the moment, I don’t see how all that coalesces into Purpose-with-a-capital-P. And maybe it takes a lot more thinking and praying and talking than I’ve given the subject in the past, but like I said, soon be 30 and something’s got to be done. That 2 changing to a 3 has a major psychological impact, you know.
So I guess what I’m looking for, what I’m asking, is a) what’s your Gig, and b) how’d you know what that Gig is? Not just vocationally, but personally and socially as well, the whole caboodle. Oh, and c) go read Sudge’s ‘I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke’ post which is on a sort-of related note, because it’s really well-written. Potential and purpose are connected, I think, it a weird sort of metaphysical way. I do believe we’re all on a mission from God, see, but the trick is figuring out what it is. And that, my friends, ain’t easy…

2 thoughts on “Jimmy Olsen Blues

  1. sudge

    First mate, just want to say thanks for the praise there, I really appreciate it. Having read your writing, that truly is a compliment.
    I have definately had the same kind of thoughts you’ve been having. Destiny, purpose, direction. I’ve always had the thought that everyone has a mission from God too. Some are small. Some are Huge. All are important. The thing that really bugs me though, is that not all missions from God will pay. Yeah, I said it, I want divine payment dammit! Honestly though, as much as we’d like to go on with our mission, come what may, no matter what we believe it is, its a sad fact that we do need money for food, clothes etc, and alot of people will be put off their calling if it doesnt pay the bills. I honestly dont know if I’ll have the courage, if and when I figure out my calling, to just go after it full steam. Even if there is nothing to stand in my way, even if it pays a jillion pounds a day, to know you are embarking on your mission is frightening, because, well, what if you screw it up?
    The almighty doesnt give us tasks we arent capable of. What we have the potential for (there’s my word again!) So its up to us.
    You’re a smart guy Matt, on more levels than I knew there were. I have every belief, every faith, that you’ll figure it out. You have to! Or what hope is there for me??

    1. matthewhyde Post author

      You’re sorted though, you’re gonna write Superman! 😉
      You’re right in separating career from vocation. I think that’s part of the issue, actually, the idea that Purpose isn’t necessarily what we get paid for, but what we get paid for is the thing we give the most attention to. Hence a generation of wage slaves who figure their careers are what matters, which isn’t necessarily the case…
      I don’t know, it’s still a little mixed up in my head. I’ve got a few ideas that I have to think through and look at more closely and ponder and pray about. So let’s see where they go…


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