This Old Life

Life is weird. The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve discovered it’s just a series of trial and error, of making bad decisions over and over and over again until you learn what exactly what constitutes a good decision, and that the lines aren’t always clear.

I bought another pack of cigarettes. It had been a while, and boy did they get expensive. I guess I’m fortunate that I’ve never needed to quit, because I’ve never been addicted. But tonight I was feeling an especial need for that nostalgic feeling of being carefree and badass, a feeling that wasn’t so foreign to me all that long ago. The thought of it reminded me of everything I was doing only last year, before I lost it all; producing and directing my first ever short film, learning how to edit and color grade, doing fashion and headshot shoots, taking my yoga teacher certification training, training for USMC bootcamp, making weekly coding sessions with my ladies, seeing foreign films at indie theaters, going on a million Tinder dates till I finally met the Boy, writing songs and learning riffs on my new Strat, sometimes working three jobs in one day, doing a shit-ton of reading about filmmaking, writing, and business; and now, here I am again on my parents’ couch having spent the last few months failing to evade a pervasive sense of hopelessness I feared I might never shake.

Enter the cigarette.

So, suddenly, as I was driving home, it all came rushing back, the memories, all of it. I remembered how it felt to have things I cared about, and to be happy. Even though I was mostly alone, or bouncing from one friend group to another, I felt like I might actually be doing something with my life for the first time ever. And now that I remember it, I miss it. I miss it like hell. Why was I wanting so badly to run away from everything when my work here wasn’t done? I guess the staggering disappointment of one monumental failure on top of another was just too much for me. To add insult to injury, depression came in to slow me down, and anxiety kicked my legs out from under me. I was done for.

But it’s no longer just me anymore.

My selfishness has allowed me to fall off course and lose myself. I can’t allow that to happen again. This time, I have others to think about. My parents, my friends, the Boy; they need to see me finish what I started.

So, I’m definitely going back to school. Yep. In two weeks. It might be miserable, I might hate every second of it, but I could¬†fulfill my transfer requirements in 3 semesters and decide where to go and what to do after that happens. I’m still terrified I won’t make the grade on my assessments and have to take a remedial class (math was never my best friend), and I am nothing if not impatient. Still, I’d rather not kill myself with stress or with math. And so it begins. TWO WEEKS.

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To Leave or Not to Leave

This is the constant question I ask myself. Should I stay here? Is this where I am supposed to be? Is it time to move on to bigger, better things? I feel like such a traitor and a turncoat for having these thoughts, but it seems to be in my nature to wander. It’s half the reason I’m so attracted to airplanes. To fly is to get away, to go somewhere else, to escape. It’s also to explore, to adventure someplace new and learn new things about the world, to make new friends and meet people different than yourself.

I have tried, largely without success, to affirm my loyalty to certain places by forcing myself to remain there beyond what was comfortable. It was easy when I worked at Barnes & Noble; two years passed without ever feeling like two years. But eventually, that grew old too. Everything has an expiration date.

Now that I have turned in my notice at the yoga studio, the job which I will have held for eleven months, I feel no sadness. Is that the marker? If I left my other two jobs now, the sadness would outweigh the newfound freedom. That is the only way I know how to stay. But even then, am I missing the call to something greater? When I had planned to move to the Bay area to pursue a job in tech two years ago, even if it meant living in my car for a few months, was I wrong for staying? I ask myself the same thing today, while I am still here, tied to a job and a relationship, whether what I would sacrifice is not worth what I could gain. This question may always plague me.

Enough for today. Time to study math and code. Now enjoy some airplane pictures.

 

Disappearing… or escaping?

Certain days, especially during the miserable Southern California summer heat, I want desperately to escape somewhere smaller and somewhere colder. With the impending changes in my life (A&P classes, resuming undergrad) looming over me like a great vulture about to peck my eyes out, not to mention my sanity, it’s hard not to wonder whether I’m really doing the right thing. I know I can be an optimist to my own detriment… I’ve worked three jobs before, it’s no big deal. I’ve taken twelve credits while working during the holidays, it isn’t impossible. But this time, I’m not sure if it is¬†possible. With A&P classes every morning till 2 followed by night classes, work in between and all weekend, and juggling flight lessons somewhere in there, I am not sure if I can survive that for four months. It is doable, but only with the proper setup. I have to face the reality of my circumstances; I live on a couch in my family’s messy crowded house because rent in this city is too expensive to do anything other than work to pay your rent, and maybe go out once a month. Realistically, I won’t be able to find the time, let alone the privacy, to study and do my homework. And when you’re taking nothing but math and physics, that’s kind of important.

So I daydream. What about this place? Is it not fanciful and lovely?

 

The towns in Humboldt county are just darling. And there are nearby colleges, both community and state, and just a little further north is an Air National Guard fighter unit if I decide to go that route… I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t seriously tempted. Escape the heat, the traffic, the crowds, the stress, the lack of privacy and finally find a place to be calm and focused. But that’s just the fantasy talking. I’m sure that surfing on weekends, flying out of one of the various small airports nearby, and being able to ride my bicycle into town wouldn’t equate to the magical paradise I believe it to be. I’d be making minimum wage as a barista or cashier assuming I find a job; if not, my savings would be depleted in a few months. But then again, it isn’t like I’d be moving to New York to dance on Broadway, a city where you can pay someone a grand for the privilege of sleeping on their doormat. I’d be moving to a simple town in pursuit of a simple life. More than likely, that’s what I’d find.

All I can do now is crunch the numbers and lay the timelines, and decide whether not taking a leap of faith is making the stupid choice.

50 lashes in overdraft fees

Today marks the first day of practicing financial fitness. I’m overdrawn nearly $500 in one account, while my last paycheck swept up another $100 in overdraft fees on my second account. I’ve really got to tell my banks to stop covering my ass. If I don’t have $5 dollars to spare, don’t fucking lend me a hand for $34 in fees. I’m really not sure why my credit union thought it would be better to let my last flight training check for $300 slide instead of bouncing it. I would have much rather paid the $25 and written a new check than pay the insufficient funds fee for that and all future auto payments PLUS $5 a day until payday when I could actually make a deposit. It’s time to get my shit together. I don’t work two weeks just so I can pay off one mistake. I’m going to start acting like every rich person I’ve ever met and make a big stink over pennies. One guy I know who makes BILLIONS bitched over $20. I want to be that guy. Starting today I’m going to write down every expense in the notebook I carry with me, and balance my account at the end of each day. The sad part is I’m not a big spender, and there will be little fat to trim, but maybe I didn’t need to buy that burrito. One less burrito every day for a year would save me approximately $2920. Not to say that my life is a paradise where I can consume a burrito a day, but it does give one pause.

One method I haven’t tried in a while is the cash method. I am such a penny-pinching Jew when I have cash that it almost physically pains me to be parted from my precious bills. But frankly, having cash these days is more of a hassle than it’s worth. I think the best course of action for myself would be to make my everyday necessary purchases (gas, groceries, school or office supplies) on my credit card, and then pay off that amount plus my standard payment the following month. Then make the more frivolous purchases on my debit card or in cash. That way, everything is accounted for. My flight training will have to take a backseat of necessity, and that pains me, but I’d rather not be drowning in the debt and stress it induces because of my poor management. LET’S FACE IT; I’m great at most things, but not at everything.