Job Hunting

Following my trip from October-November, I took the holidays off and made a decision about my future. I determined that Boise, Idaho would be the best place to start the next phase of my life. So I packed up the things that I would need and moved to Boise. I’m currently living in my car, getting a bit of writing done, and job searching. And while Boise may still be a place that suits me, I’m beginning to have a more introspective look at what I want from my life.

Now, I will acknowledge that I’ve only recently realized that I forced this to happen now. Instead of listening to my instincts (and family members) and trusting where they would take me, I pushed to make this work now, as opposed to playing it out and coming when I had a job lined up, or at least when it was warmer outside.

I will also acknowledge that this is largely brought to the forefront of my thought pattern because I, by my standard, have been struggling to find a job. I’ve always worked in the service industry, so I approached this opportunity as a chance to start a new career path. So I very exclusively applied to jobs that I thought would be fun, challenging, or some combination of both. That was before this last week.

I never got any responses to those applications, so I figured, no big deal. I applied to a bunch of service industry jobs. For those that don’t know my full background, I have 13 years in the service industry, most of that in a leadership capacity. I’ve been in charge of an entire restaurant and done every sort of inventory management, data analysis and spreadsheet breakdown one would need to do qualify for almost any in-store position imaginable.

Nothing.

I lashed out a bit a few days ago and basically mass applied to everything. I was barely looking at titles or companies. I was freaking out. If I don’t find a job, that means I have to go back. And as much as I love my family and friends, that was never supposed to be on the table.

All of that being said, after my panicked application spree, yesterday and this morning have been a deep dive into what I actually want. And while some (myself included) would have assumed these would have been answers I got on my road trip, I think the reason I didn’t is that I was distracted.

On my trip, I was always thinking of where I was headed next, what I was doing, and whether the place I was at would be someplace I’d want to live. And while my ideal situation for me would be to write and travel wherever I felt like being, I understand that that isn’t feasible in the short term. Maybe eventually I can finish some things I’ve been writing and be able to accomplish that. But for now, I need to make money.

And as much as I’d like to think that this place is where I should be right now, I think I’m more drawn to the idea of being unsettled. This isn’t great in terms of keeping a job but it is good for trying to branch out and try something new. There are careers to be had online and working from home, which is something that I’ll be looking into once I find a job to hold me over.

This is my long way around saying that I’m not married to the idea that I need to be in Boise. Obviously, I would prefer it, but I’m tired of waiting. And I’m tired of settling on something that I’ll do for 40 hours a week. I want to do a job worth doing, and while some service industry jobs may be that, I need to find it one way or another.

Additionally, the weather may be playing a factor in this. The cold isn’t terrible, but it’s definitely slowing my processes down in the mornings. It’s bad enough that we get shorter days during the winter, and Boise is definitely sunnier than Louisville, but the weather is just hard to deal with right now. This would be true whether I had a place to stay in or not. Seasonal Affective Disorder hits me every year, so that feeling is at least not new.

So my update, for now, is: I’m going to resume applying to jobs I believe I would enjoy, now regardless of where they’re located. And once I find someplace to settle for a bit, I’m going to work tirelessly to learn something I can take with me anywhere I go. I want more flexibility and in order to get it, I’m going to have to be more rigid. For now.

get up

endless attempts up an impossible hill

pushing too hard, I collapsed again

mistaken, not in the pursuit

but in thinking it would end differently

when you spend so much time

worrying about saying the wrong thing

trying too hard

and being who you think you should be

be you, unapologetically you

and understanding that the fall

isn’t permanent

as long as you get up

~

Photo by Bobby Stevenson on Unsplash

 

What does love really mean?

As an empath, a water sign, a healer and a writer, love is a central theme to my identity. An identity that has grown more and more complex as I’ve aged. For a long time, I blamed myself for the growing complexity of it.

I was merely born in the wrong century, a time that has long been forgotten. Where people loved each other and took care of each other based around what that person needed, and not what you were comfortable giving. And it’s only recently that I’ve come to the understanding that not only was I wrong about where I was but also how wrong I was about the past.

The past has been romanticized as this place where great people did great things to take care of their people. The weak and downtrodden were lifted up to be part of the group, a group that was viewed as a unit instead of many individuals. The problem with that is that it’s patently false.

Sure, if you fit enough of the mold, you would be accepted. But the outcasts, the ones who believed in “trivial” things like magic, feelings, vibes, and emotions were pushed out. Forced to create their own communities. And even today, the large populous looks down on groups like the hippies of the ’60s and ’70s as kooky or out of touch.

These people are viewed negatively because they embrace their feelings and emotions and listen to the stars, but these are closer to my people than any others. Luckily, in the age of social media, these people are easier to find than ever. We’re drifting toward a society of people who not only embrace their emotions but thrive BECAUSE they do so. Still, there’s a large divide in how we view things like love.

The problem with the word love is that we use it in too many varying ways. Anyone can love sports, their family, their friends, their spouse, and themselves, and each love is different. But we throw the word around with anything we like and expect everyone else to figure out what we actually mean. And for most of us, our problems expressing that love is the cause of divide in relationships. 

To be clear, I also don’t like how we use the word “relationship” either, but for different reasons. When we hear the word “relationship”, most of us default to thinking “Oh, they mean their boyfriend/girlfriend/partner/spouse.” In reality, everyone we interact with is in a relationship with us. We have relationships with ourselves, our family, our friends, our coworkers and really anyone we interact with. You don’t have to love everyone you’re in a relationship with, but it’s still a relationship.

So where do my sticking points come from? While most people’s most difficult relationship is with themselves, mine is not. I don’t say that as a judgment, it’s purely what I’ve observed and heard from people I interact with. That is the part I’ve put the most work into, and probably 99.99% of the time, I do love myself.

But it has been a lonely row to hoe. My family has been there, but I feel our paths diverging. Not in any sort of negative way, but I know that if I’m going to grow further in the ways that I want to, there will be some level of fracture. Nothing permanent or bad, just different from what it is now.

The love of family is strong. It’s almost unbreakable in most cases. People will go to extremes for their families, in ways that they won’t for other people. But that puts a level of weight to it. Almost as if you HAVE to love your family. You can severe any relationship you want, including with family members, but they will always be blood.

To highlight this, look at a family with children. The parents, in moments of honesty, will admit that if it became a choice of their partner or their children, they would choose their children. Why? Because the children are literally blood-related to their parents. The parents, as much as they love their partner, aren’t blood-related.

There are still varying degrees of this, though, so it’s not a black and white decision. Most people would probably choose a partner over a blood relative, but we’re getting too stuck in the mud by trying to assign a distinction to every relationship of every human.

No, my problem is in the friend and partner sense of the word. My desire to love in those areas has typically led me down a self-sacrificial route. When it comes to friends, I’ve mostly always accommodated, never wanting to rock the boat. I’ve gotten better about that, but I was always trying to curry favor in an effort to keep people around. I would agree to go out for a night, knowing it was going to stretch me too thin, and then flake at the last moment. And it meant eventually, I was running people off because I was a yes man, not a friend. 

And in terms of what we call “relationships”, it was more of a selfish-sacrificing pattern. In my teens and early 20s, I was never single for very long. I ignored a lot of warning signs and got into very short term relationships because it was, in my mind, better to have someone, anyone, than to be alone. It’s probably part of why I’ve been single for so long now. It wasn’t a punishment or a lack of potential matches, but I had to teach myself how to be independent.

I had to learn about myself for once and expand myself into new places. I had been running in circles for years and I finally had broken off onto a new path. And it worked. The very, very few times I’ve opened up to new people in the last couple of years, I was confident I was doing so because it was the right decision, and not just grasping at straws or trying to fill a void. Because there was no void to fill anymore.

I’ve acknowledged to myself that I’ll be ok if it’s just me. I worried a lot when I was younger that I would be alone. It’s where a lot of that scrambling to be with someone was born out of, and also why those relationships didn’t prosper. The old saying about gripping on too tightly is applicable. There are no negative feelings around relationships for me either. I had a period where there were, and even times where I was miserable at a wedding because I was making it about myself. As I said, a selfish-sacrificing pattern.

However, it’s been lonely. The loneliness, I used to think, was from not being in a “relationship”. And in a way, it is. But not in the ways we typically conflate. It’s not just about the physical, it’s the emotional and mental labor that you share with another person. It’s the type of symbiotic relationship that only comes when you don’t “have” to love them. When they choose you and you, them. You’ve both acknowledged that your life is enhanced by them being in it. 

Every time I have a rough day mentally or emotionally, it’s all on me. In a healthy relationship, it’s a balancing act. When they’re having a low day, you can adopt more of the load and visa versa. If I have a low period, I still have to make sure the bills are paid, fix the sink, cancel the phone plan, or whatever issues may come up. And for a short period of time, most people are ok. Hell, sometimes people thrive in that situation. I am usually one of those people. But after a while, it does get old. But you learn from letting things fall through the cracks and the mistakes made and you get better next time. 

The thing I wish more people would realize is how grey everything is. There is no black and white, no one single answer for any of life’s questions. People stay for a myriad of reasons. People leave for even more. And ultimately, if you can find that one person that will share your load, don’t take that for granted.

Wrapped up in that, however, is the understanding that we have to love how those people need to be loved, not how we want it to be. If they’re your friends, love them as your friend. If they’re your partner, love them like that. Same with your family. But understand that it’s not about you. It’s about them.

~

Photo by Leighann Renee on Unsplash

 

Millennial High School Nostalgia

The absurdity of being a white high school kid in the mid-2000s only became apparent to me recently. Millennials were between the ages of 5 and 20 when 9/11 happened and the internet started to take off. No big deal, just our formative years completely altered by a catastrophic national event and a culture change unlike anything seen in history. That’s a lot coming at you all at once. It was less than ideal, to say the least.

But for most of us, there was music. After all, who better to explain the feelings and give hope to a bunch of 16-year-olds than a group of 22-year-olds? Oh, shit, we really were set up, weren’t we?

Either way, a lot of us made it through some rough times because of that music. I’ve gone back several times through my 20s and listened to that music, and in some low points, it all felt very familiar. But I also realized that it was contributing to a lot of my problems at the time. I was listening to a lot of really sad, hopeless, and depressing music at that time. It fed into those feelings for sure.

Now that I’ve grown past a lot of those problems, I appreciate the positive, uplifting music more and how those songs remind me of the good things about being a teenager. First kisses, first loves, freedom from things like work, bills and heavyweight consequences. And again, I say all of this from a white kid in a midwest city perspective. If there’s one thing the internet has helped do, it makes people who are willing to listen more conscious of the plight of others. I was very privileged to have the experiences I did.

I don’t think the world has gotten easier since we were in high school. Actually, I’d argue that it’s gotten more complex, even if we have access to more information now. It’s the information overload that concerns me, combined with the spread of misinformation that has taken hold. It’s my hope that for the high schoolers out there now, they are finding music that speaks to them and helps them out through the tough shit.

Even if it depresses me now, when you’re a kid, you just want to know you’re not alone. And music provides that. Even as adults, that’s all we want. I think that’s why artists like Lizzo, Beyoncé, and Weezer (still) maintain their strong base of fans. They allow people to stay with them on the journey and continue to enjoy listening to their music.

Conversely, I think that’s why artists like My Chemical Romance, Blink-182, and Good Charlotte (all of whom I loved listening to in high school) don’t stay with us into adulthood for the most part. We grow out of that angst and frustration with the world and (generally) develop healthier ways of dealing with those problems when they come up. Music merely serves as that reminder: we are not alone.

~

Photo by Rocco Dipoppa on Unsplash

 

Ideas for a Better Us

I’ve been ruminating on my trip, thinking about the lessons I took away from it. I gained a lot of new ways of viewing things, but I also recognize I have a long way to go in terms of understanding. There’s no way of knowing everything there is to know on this planet, but the more we grow, learn and understand, the closer we get to AN understanding, and the better off we all are.

In pursuit of that, I know I have to make changes in my life to allow that growth and change to occur. Namely, ridding myself of some of the toxic behaviors and generally neutral actions I have in my life. Things that add nothing to my life or take time away from things that I do deem important.

But what things do I value? That’s what I dove into and uncovered, and I think a lot of them could apply to most people. The ideas and stories aren’t always unique, but sometimes it takes hearing them in the right context to allow them to sink in. I’ve known, on a conscious and subconscious level, a lot of the things I needed to change. But it’s only now that I’m actually attempting to get serious about them. We are all on our own journey, and we’ll get there in our own time.

All that being said, here are the things that I’ve chosen to focus on going forward. I’m going to do everything I can to spend my time on these things, but I know that there will be slipups. Time’s where I drift back to the things that aren’t as valuable. But when you become aware that you’ve taken the wrong path, you backtrack and rejoin the correct route.

Consume Health

I worded this very intentionally. It started with wanting to eat healthily, something I’ve always struggled with. Even when eating a primarily plant-based diet, I ate a lot of junk food. But it goes beyond that. We consume every day with all of our senses. We taste, touch, smell, hear, and see thousands of things every day. How many of them are toxic or don’t provide value? I want to minimize that. I want to eat amazing, healthy food. I want to listen to beautiful music and high-quality podcasts. I want to see and watch stunning plays, art, films, etc.

I know these are grandiose plans I’m laying, but it’s not about being perfect. It’s about the attempt. If everyone just attempted to be better, how much better would we be?

Travel

This is a big one for me. And it doesn’t have to include travel plans across the country or internationally. I do think it includes time out in nature, much more than most of us get. Additionally, instead of your regular routine, go to a different gym, grocery or coffee shop. Experience different things. Even if you only go to one Starbucks, go to a different location. You can get your regular while experiencing something new. And that’s what this is really about: new experiences. Our bubbles don’t just exist online on social media. They include the people we encounter, the places we visit and the businesses we support. If we open up to these new experiences, how much can we learn?

Connect with Good Energy

All of that being said, we should use our intuition to connect with good energy. This is different because sometimes good energy can make us uncomfortable. There are many people I’ve met and become close to that I value for that reason. They push me out of my comfort zones and have allowed me to go further. Experiences I never would have had otherwise were opened up by choosing to be around their good energy. Good energy will look different for everyone, but if you’re listening to yourself when you’re around people and in different or new situations, you’ll know what it feels like.

Physical Effort

A lot of times, people conflate being physical with going to the gym or doing what most people deem as “exercise”. Putting that kind of pressure on it is a good reason why people don’t stick with their New Years’ resolutions or workout plans. I find a plan to be beneficial, as I struggle with less structure. But things like walking, hiking, gardening, chores around the house, etc. are all examples of things we can do to be physical without needing new shoes and gym clothes. And aside from the physical health benefits, exercise helps fight mental health issues as well, so it’s a win-win.

Create

Another misconstrued idea is that we either aren’t creative or don’t possess the “right” creativity. We are all creative. We are all capable of creating. Because whether it’s writing, art, dance, cooking, organizing, photos of the dog, bedtime stories for our kids…the point is, anything we make is an expression of creativity. I intend to tap into that, beyond just writing. I want to learn different types of art, and I think I’d be good at the more physical arts that you use your hands for such as pottery or sculpting. But I won’t know unless I try.

Learn

The final piece is the one that ties everything together. I want to learn. I’ve always been curious and attempted to learn the things that interest me, but I’ve gotten away from that wonder that I had years ago. I got comfortable, but it’s time to go back. Any time I think I’ve figured something out or started to understand something, I learn new information. We live in a grey world where very little is black and white. Understanding that opens us up to an endless supply of learning opportunities. Capitalizing on those leads us to evolution and that’s what I’m most in search of, for everyone.

~

Some of these ideas are things that some people may not be concerned about. As I said before, I do think everyone is on their own path. But I know there’s some crossover and I think these are things that would be beneficial to most. I’ve got some concrete goals that I want to layout later, but I think these general goals are good avenues to start down.

~

Photo by Paul Gilmore on Unsplash