Please forgive me if it all sounds so familiar.Illy – Heard It All Before
I’m sure that you’ve heard this all before.
I’m only one voice in a world of billions.
And no idea’s original no more.
[ 40 ] I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching in the last year. What do I want to do with my life? With my vehicles? With cars and trucks in general? With work and career? It’s like, somewhere along the way, I got turned around and stumbled through the door marked Nihilism.
Mojo & The Endless Setup
Between 2009 and 2021, I had a purpose. I was building a magazine-slash-community around the idea that business should make a difference before it makes a profit. I had grand plans. (I’ve always got grand plans.) These plans came from a vision that lent itself to something of a personal mission. I wanted to help people like us do more of the things we enjoy and less of things we don’t. I still believe we can build a business around building each other up.
I could have done a better job communicating my vision. I could have narrowed my focus to more niche efforts that would have paid off had I also stayed the course for longer than 15 minutes. Straight up: I could have tried harder. But that’s easy to say in retrospect.
Look, I like big words. I like writing, and like writing things for people. My ADHD predisposes me to what I call The Endless Setup. See also: The Abandoned Punchline. It’s not that I can’t pay attention so much as my brain is wired to pay attention to EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME. Here’s an example: Let’s say you need to pick up some grass seed at Home Depot, drop off a couple Amazon returns at the UPS store, and grab a couple groceries for dinner. You’d probably pause for a moment to plan your stops, right?
Get the grass seed first, hit the UPS store on the way to the grocery, then home in a nice, neat loop.
Here’s how MY brain works through this literally-on-my-todo-list-today example:
Get the grass seed first, but I should also get some manure to top dress. How many bags do I need? I gotta measure the size of the yard. Where’d I put my tape measure? Nevermind. I can just walk it. But then I’d have to fold all the seats down/flat in the truck. So I’d have to figure out where to put my recovery/tool gear. I guess I could put them in the front seat floorboard. Wait a minute. I’ve got a couple dry spots that aren’t getting watered right, so I should probably test the irrigation system again and make sure I’m ready to water that new lawn right before I load a few hundred pounds of bullshit into my truck…
OMG. Nobody cares.
Why would they? We’re up to our eyeballs in “content” these days. Everybody’s selling something. From the dark money political Super PACs bankrolling lies with impunity to the light-hearted Girl Scouts selling cookies in front of the store, everybody’s selling something. Even if you’re not selling a physical product like cookies, you’re a human, and humans evolved to value the security of the tribe.
If you’re not out there producing “content” of some sort, you’ve missed the starting gun. You can’t just upload a resume and get a job today anymore than you can just blog about your job and fall into a lucrative career on the professional speaking circuit. Even if you’re not in marketing or media, you’ve probably spent enough time online to understand that urge to share this, that, or the other somewhere. I mean, if you don’t—how does anyone know you even exist?
What’s the point? I’m not sure who I am anymore.
The point is, we all need a thing that’s ours; Something that defines us and gives us a sense of purpose. Some people find this through faith. (Respect, Brother Keith, Bishop Rob.) Some find it through other loyalties—make, model, community, local sports team, etc.. I guess it’s identity. Or vanity? Maybe both. Anyway—who am I, anyway?
I’ll always love DSMs and GVR4s, but I’ll likely never own another. I love all things Mitsubishi, but just like how I think all the mouth-breathing sycophants online (still) ignorantly complaining about the death of the DSM and Evo (and Pajero) are non-contributing morons, how is my allegiance to Mitsubishi anything more than a pointless waste of time and energy?
- I’m a DSMer who hasn’t had a DSM in a decade. (Once a DSMer, always a DSMer, though.)
- I’m a Mitsubishi loyalist looking more and more at Macans, Miatas, and Monohulls.
- I’m a gearhead who isn’t interested in fixing broke-ass cars that need to run.
But it’s not just cars. I’ve been interested in marketing, publishing, and startup culture for years, and yet—I’m jaded.
- I’m a marketer who’s tired of helping laggards only in it for the money.
- I’m a publisher who doesn’t want to write what everyone wants to read.
- I’m an entrepreneur who wants to build more than a feature for Google.
I need a purpose; a mission.
Right now, that’s managing this move. I’ve been in a leap-of-faith since January. I mean, I’m 40 days away from leaving town. Until yesterday, I didn’t know where I would be living or what I’d be doing for a living (or how much that would pay) next month. Now it’s just a question of how I’ll pay the bills, since I can’t take my job with me—assuming there’s no surprises with the home inspection later this week.
There was a time when I’d be writing for GBXM or TGP any spare minute I got. So many ideas. So many wonderful people all over the world to get to know. And so easy to do it through the lens of being gearheads like us. Today, without a fire in my belly for much of anything (other than what may very well be the penultimate move of this retired Army Brat’s life), I just deal with work shit.
Work pays the bills. Work is a solid crew of people who feel like family that I can count on to get things done and have my back. Work makes sense. I do things that need done. They pay me (well) for doing it. And yet, the workday ends and I have no fire left to cook up my many ideas. My job pretty much ends the day I leave Arizona (in 40 days?) and I haven’t even looked at my resume in at least five years—kind of important right now, don’t you think?
I’ll get around to it, I’m sure.