Old Dog on the Train

After today, I cannot help but appreciate the phrase, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” I feel like an old dog. It was an overwhelming day. I had thoughts here and there that ranged from “What the hell am I doing?” to “Maybe if I get really sick, I can bow out of this gracefully.”

I hope that I can chalk this up to my old age, which is not that old, but old in a career sense, perhaps. Am I just too wrung out for this crazy pace and the unrealistic expectations I put on myself? I just don’t know. Part of me feels like I have given the best part of my career years already and I am spent.

I feel like a hypocrite again.

I just read an article about an accomplished ad creative exec that died from cancer at 52 years old and before he died, he wrote his last blog about how his advertising career was a scam. A con. He conned himself. It was not worth all the long hours and missed family time. It was not worth all the effort and energy he poured into it, because what was the real value? Not much. Certificates on his wall. More money for the bottom line of the companies he helped.

It wasn’t satisfying and he realized how much he disliked what he did. Creating ads with a gun to his head.

It was a very real moment of realization for me.

What would I want to spend my time doing if I were diagnosed with a terminal illness and had limited time to live? Well, I would travel to see and spend time with my family. I would create as many family memories as I could. And if I still had enough time that I could work or would need to work – it would be something totally different than the area I am in.

Wow. How’s that for perspective? I have lived my whole life with the underlying premise that I had to do something to survive. That whole idea of doing what you love for a living did not compute as a concept in my broken house growing up. I had to make money to support myself. Period. End of story.

How sad. And it’s been the thread and underlying storyline of my career. Do what it takes to advance and make more money so I don’t have to live like I did growing up. Ugh. Yuck. Negative. Sick to my stomach sick of it. Done. Why do I have to feel lucky to have the job I do. Why do I feel like I have to stay on the same train?

This old dog is tired of being on the train.

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