Sunday, October 12, 2014
What Matters in Life
By Thomas Meisinger
Originally published Saturday, October 10, 2014
Me: Do you ever feel like you're THIS close to having everything you've ever wanted?
Friend: No, I don't think it's possible.
I had this conversation with a mentor a week ago. Then I listened to this Christian author/speaker during one of my midnight siestas at my parent's house. Until 2 AM I stared at my childhood bedroom closet full of toys, clothes, and board games and thought about what really matters. As I spend this vacation reconnecting with my dad’s family and celebrating my Grandma Meisinger's 90th birthday, I've learned what matters most is....to not disclose now if I want you to keep reading.
When I was twenty-three I was offered a job with better pay, better hours, and more responsibility. It was definitive advancement for my career. It was also in Fayetteville, Arkansas, home to U of A (Go Razorbacks!) and nothing else. In addition, the workplace gave off a Boy’s Club frat vibe. Why would I want to live in a place I would eventually hate once the extra money disappeared? Why would I spend fifty hours a week in a room of people I didn't trust? So I didn't.
So if money didn’t matter, what did? I didn’t have much of a social life in Joplin. I spent most of my evenings watching cable TV, writing, and drinking alone at bars. I had a few friends, but knew they contributed more to the relationship than I ever could. It destroyed my confidence and made me depressed. It wasn’t good for my health, faith, or mind. After much hesitation I turned to God and knew it was only going to get worse if I kept to myself. I vowed to move to St. Louis within six months. Thirty-three days later I had multiple job offers and was looking at apartments.
I moved to St. Louis to have a social life and be closer to family. I was done feeling sorry for myself all the time. But before that could happen I needed to reconnect with my family and that didn’t happen right away. Instead, I attended almost daily happy hours and didn’t notice a change. I had an older co-worker tell me I couldn’t live on deadlines and expect things to happen. But that was also the same guy who once drunkenly told me advice was overrated.
I began taking better care of myself and lost thirty pounds in a year. Now I’m working out more than ever. Drinking helps me forget I’m “losing the game” when I don’t want to play at all. I don’t even want to be around people who want to play the game and I learned that from my last relationship. It didn’t bother me when it was over because the following day I woke up and knew I was THIS close.
I was THIS close to waking up before dawn to focus on my health at the gym. I was THIS close to daily counseling with a Christian friend sharing his view from one step ahead. I was THIS close to having a job where I start every day off by making sure everyone hears “Good morning!” I was THIS close to talking to family every day. I was THIS close to becoming an active member in my church. I was THIS close to learning there are no blueprints for a relationship. I was THIS close to actually listening to my coworker when they said, “You’re a smart, funny, good-looking guy! You have no reason to be shy!” I was THIS close to having all the confidence back and then some.
It's the confidence in knowing what matters most is those sitting around you. Asking my friend if he had ever had that feeling didn’t refer to owning a fancy house, having a powerful job, or traveling across the world. I was asking him if he knew what he wanted. I was asking him if it was time to put it back in the box.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Thomas Meisinger was born, raised and educated in Chicago's southwest suburbs. He began performing stand-up comedy in 2009 while in college. You may have seen him at The Comedy Shrine, Edge Comedy Club, and other establishments he doesn't like enough to give free publicity. If he spent as much time filling out job applications as he did writing jokes during his last semester, he would probably have a better paying job. Currently residing utterly alone in Missouri, he has since shifted his focus to writing.
He spent a year working on his first novel, The World Is Shallow; That's Why I Never Learned How to Swim, which is currently available on all major eBook retail sites. The humorous fictional autobiography has received rave reviews from family, friends, and stray cats wandering his apartment. Meisinger’s favorite hobby is people-watching at coffee shops but let's face it, he really just has a staring problem.
He currently writes five blogs: Penguins are Pretentious (www.penguinsarepretentious.blogspot.com) is a collection of Meisinger’s ideas, opinions and experiences. Bacon, Eggs, and Whiskey (www.baconeggsandwhiskey.blogspot.com) is life from a bachelor’s point of view. Spiritual Vitamin (www.spiritualvitamin.blogspot.com) contains Christian-themed reflections. Dear Grandma Margie (www.deargrandmamargie.blogspot.com) is a series of fictional letters Meisinger wrote to his real grandmother. The St Louis Laugh Report at stlouislaughreport.blogspot.com is open only to invited readers, as is Bacon, Eggs and Whiskey and Dear Grandma Margie.
If you must, "Like" Meisinger's Facebook Fan Page, follow him on Twitter at #TomMeisinger., or check out his website at www.funnythomas.com.