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.

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.