The Road Ahead

I'm looking at a bunch of half-filled boxes amid a cloud of procrastination and anxiety. Anticipating my upcoming move and the many things about to change in my life, a thought returned to me that maybe I need to be more candid with my thoughts and actually spit them out. You'd think with the amount of talking I do every week across two podcasts, in addition to the amount of endless rambling many of my friends have the unfortunate burden of enduring, that there wouldn't be much more to say. Sorry to tell you, but there's still more. The good news, however, is that with all but physical interaction, you don't even need to feign interest.

This post, and any that follow, are purely my way of getting things out of my head to clear room for new things. The things I write here will probably have a wide range of mood, and may often be aggravatingly cynical, or hopelessly optimistic. Also, there will likely be an utter lack of narrative structure or cohesion whatsoever. Fair warning.

Over the past year, I've learned a lot about myself. This time a year ago, I had a job that paid me very well, surrounded by great people, and generally in a position that would make other 21 year-olds green with envy. I had taken the easy way out of high school, skipping class more times than I attended it, to ultimately just take a test which would allow me to move on. After that was done, I tried again to conform to conventional education, and still couldn't find it in me to feign interest in the things I was supposed to be learning. So I worked for about 4 years as a salesman for various companies, and reached a point where I felt I could live comfortably for years to come, wanting for little.

Up to this point, I had always thought that if I could just reach a point of definite financial security and comfort, that whatever hopes and dreams I had throughout my years would become somewhat irrelevant. I was, obviously, wrong.

For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to tell stories. The endgame was ever-changing; through the years my goals changed from comic book illustrator to journalist to comedian to documentarian (we're going to pretend that's a word for sake of rhythm) and ultimately to writer for visual mediums. (film, TV, comic books, animation, etc.)

As I enjoyed the fruits of financial success, I found myself constantly using that money to learn more about film making, cartooning, writing, and storytelling. I couldn't buy enough biographies and instructional books. I was drowning in the works of Joseph Campbell and Blake Snyder, filling my ears with interviews and tales from every storyteller I've ever admired. At any given moment, I was listening to a podcast, searching for all the keys to success, finding those things that made the stories of these writers and artists really resonate. 

Eventually, I came around to the obvious realization that I was in the wrong profession. My performance at work was becoming more and more uninspired and disorganized, and all I could think about was how badly I wanted to return to a path that would lead to that dream of crafting stories for a living.

Living in Utah, the opportunity doesn't come often to find work in film or television, and at that point I wasn't ready to just take a leap and move on out to Hollywood without a lick of experience in the industry. Well, fortunately for me, the opportunity came along to leave my job, take an absolutely staggering pay cut, and work as essentially an errand boy on a TV show that was destined for failure. Surprisingly, I was entirely okay with that. I left that great job I had, giving much shorter notice than I would've liked, because, apparently, this show needed my help as soon as I could possibly make it work.

Well, I worked on that show up until its cancellation, and honestly enjoyed it. The hours were really long, the commute was incredibly lengthy, the pay was crap, half the people were great, and half were awful. Nearly everything they had me doing was really damn monotonous, but I had managed to jump into television without leaving the comfort of the state I had grown up in, and was picking up all sorts of information from new friends about how this industry worked. I was glad as hell to be there, and still very glad I got that opportunity.

When the show got cancelled, however, was when I unfortunately slowed my momentum quite significantly, in favor of safety. I had managed to save up quite a lot of money over the course of that year, and could've easily afforded to move myself out to L.A. and really start grinding it out to find work in entertainment. What I did instead was stay in Utah, return to another job I had before, because I thought that based on my previous experience, it would allow me to save up even more money, and be even more financially secure by the time I was hoping to move.

What I didn't realize, however, was that when I had attained such success previously, it was because I genuinely believed that job was my key to success, that my entire career hinged upon doing well there. This time around, I was looking at it as something of a stop-gap. My passion wasn't there, and thus, I didn't find success. What I found was months of steadily losing money as my interest in the job faded more and more, until I realized I couldn't keep going through those motions any longer. 

So here i am, almost 8 months after I looked down and couldn't muster up the courage to jump, finally saying "fuck it" and going with my gut. I'm incredibly nervous, and have no idea how this will all work out, but what I do know is I've never succeeded by being conventional. If I'm going to make this little dream work out, it'll probably end up being in a very different way than I'm anticipating right now, so all I can do is take change in stride, and go wherever the wind takes me. If you're still reading, I applaud your patience. As a reward, I'll do my best to make future posts much shorter.