No one expects to wake one morning and say aloud, “Yup, this is it: today’s the lowest point in my life.” You don’t anticipate rolling out of bed and thinking, “I don’t have a fucking clue why I’m even getting out of bed today.”
You sort of just arrive. While you’re pouring your Fruit Loops, or dumbly clicking your mouse. Or head to your unpaid internship, where you watch Youtube videos for eight hours straight in an urban cave shared by two dozen other 20-somethings, an activity gently dubbed as “business development.”
A few weeks shy of my 26th birthday and inside that cave was where I sat, unsatisfied with my work, unsatisfied with my writing. I didn’t know what I was still doing in Los Angeles. Later that day, I trudged back to my car in the rain, and I found a lovely note from the county’s parking enforcement, asking to please remit $63 to their offices.
If a child kicked my shins and a dog pissed on my shoes, I wouldn’t have been surprised. All I wanted was to bury my head in the sand. I wanted to stew in my misery and “figure my shit out,” whatever that means. It’s the approach I took for the first 25 years of my life: bottle it in, tell myself not to be a pussy, and get back to work – except it’s taken me 26 years to realize how self-destructive and insidious self-this behavior was. Doesn’t matter how hard you shovel, you can’t dig your way out of a hole.
Instead I called a friend. And she stayed on the line until I spilt everything I: how incredibly shitty I felt about myself, and what I hadn’t accomplished in two years, that maybe it wasn’t worth it and I should move back to New York. I told her I didn’t know what I was doing with my work, that I hated being poor and stopped feeling good about writing a long time ago.
Nothing was resolved. She didn’t offer any takeaway or sagely advice. But that wasn’t the point. She was there to listen when I needed to say something.
Part of me knew that the job would get better. That if watching Youtube videos and buying up channels was a skill I wanted to excel at, I could get there. I just didn’t know if this particular dip was one I wanted to conquer. No matter how good I got at it, would I be happy signing Youtube talent?
I quit the next day. I decided this wasn’t where I wanted to be in terms of my career, my writing, or my finances. I couldn’t unravel which tangents brought me down this path, so my only choice was to start retracing my steps, trying to remember when my trail was last good again
Photos credit: A guy called John