“Lifer” Syndrome


I’ve been told I should run for office. They say I’d be a great public servant, that my poise and eloquence would serve the legislature well. “You should run.” “When are you running?” “You’d be great!”

Well, it’s not happening. I’m not going into so-called public service again. It’s over. I’m done. You know why? Because I used to care too much.

Call it “lifer syndrome.” I owe that term to a friend of mine and former military policeman, now an anarchist who has gotten into many confrontations for protesting war. While reminiscing on the good old days in the service, he casually mentioned that he used to be so dedicated, so enthusiastic, so hardcore that everyone assumed he was a “lifer,” or someone who would be in the military for the rest of his life. It certainly came as a surprise to many people when he left and turned his life in the complete opposite direction. Not to me, though.

You see, that’s the problem with passion: it’s sincere to a fault. And that sincerity has no tolerance for a corrupt and phony way of life. An unenthusiastic person can maintain a low level of faith and support in a system based on lies, trudging along in mediocre monotony for a lifetime. For a passionate person, living a lie is absolutely not sustainable. They will believe it with all their heart, put the entirety of their physical and emotional resources behind its advancement, and then will invariably come face to face with just how wrong they were. An ember can smolder endlessly under a pile of false promises, but a bright flame burns through them all in short order.

My friend fought for freedom so hard that he came to the inescapable conclusion that it wasn’t about that at all. Similarly, I worked my butt of during my time inside the political system, and subsequently burned out, because I cared too much.

So don’t try to get me back into politics. I’m a lifer. I was too honest to stay in it. And if you cared at all, you’d get out too.

Joël Valenzuela
Joël Valenzuela
Joël Valenzuela is the editor of The Desert Lynx. He is also the founder of the Rights Brigade, a mover for the Free State Project, and a martial art instructor.
  • Rafael R Santos

    It is both weird and wonderful how I feel the same. It is weird that those feelings I thought were so mine, so personal, so private, suddenly can be shared with certain people along all mankind. By other perspective, though, it is wonderful I am not being alone. Now I wonder: how many people are feeling like that and, like us, are taught that this feeling is wrong, that they need to be fixed, and they end on going to psychiatrists, church or others for the sake of a “adjustment therapy” thing, because nobody around them is even close to think that it can be a normal psychological condition?