Quitting Your Adult Job

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At the end of April, I left my old job to pursue a career in theater. Despite that being my driving factor, it was a lot less dramatic than you may think. (see what I did there? :D)

The fact of the matter is, I was fairly comfortable where I was. There was steady pay, room for advancement and the people I worked with were fantastic. Sure I worked long hours during certain times of the year, and there were a few angry phone calls from customers now and then, but nothing unbearable. And that got to me.

Not the phone calls. Once you get enough of those, they all turn into the adult voice from the old Peanuts cartoons. It was the comfort. I wasn’t really taking many risks in my old position. This was partly because of NY State mandates, but even in places where I could take chances, I…wasn’t. It became harder to believe that I was the same person who auditioned for Richard III in college with no “formal” acting experience. Or that I was the same person who staged a relatively new play with primarily feminist themes. Was I even the same person who dared to go out on Cinco De Mayo before starting on my final paper for COMP 200? (A great story for another time) It didn’t feel like it.

I’m not saying that you should leave a position solely because you’ve had to change something about yourself. Every job will expect you to give them your time at the minimum, and make you change some habits. For example, if you’re a teacher you can expect to put a few less pictures of your nights out on facebook. Most people have no problem making that adjustment. But if you feel like the world needs your Saturday night instagram, than you have to seriously consider if teaching is still for you. At the end of the day, you can have all the money and stability in the world. But if you feel like your passion, the very thing you were put on this earth to do is being put aside, then you may always feel like there is something missing in your 9 to 5.

One of my favorite quotes as of late has been from Howard Thurman. He wrote, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” I urge anyone reading this to follow that advice…with some reservations.

If your job is the only thing that can keep you financially afloat, then make a long-term plan. First off, chart out steps for saving money for a period where you might not be making anything. If you’re going back to school, consider part-time or online options while still at your current position. This gets you one step closer to doing what you want to do without having a lot of worry about employment. Of course, you can always take the risky option and leave without any prep, but know that you will have to spend some time getting stable before you do what left to do.

Quitting your position can be about job stress, a bad work environment or a bigger check. But I think the best reason to leave is do what truly makes you come alive. It’s not true what they say, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”. You’re going to have to work at least one day in your life doing something you don’t love.

The question is: what will you do next?

For the Singles

(Note: I was stumbling around in my phone and I found this as a note. It was written around Valentine’s Day but I never got around to publishing it. I figure, better late than never, right?)

I’ve been in love since I was five years old. To this day, I can remember my first love: Amanda. It was Pre-Kindergarten…Ms Severino’s class. I told her I loved her and was promptly rejected. Mainly, because, at the time, boys and girls were still infected with cooties.


I also may have come on too strong.


Anyway, you may wonder why I am telling this tale today. It’s because
I realized after valentine’s day one clear fact: I’m not in love with anyone. For the first time in 18 years, I pine over no one! (Except Emma stone/Scarlett Johansen/Zoe Saldana)But I wouldn’t write a post just for that reason either. I wanted to reach out to all the singles out there and say:

It’s all good.


I say this because there is a slight bias against our generations singles. They call us the hook up culture. The ones who can’t commit. Polyphemus! (Polyamarous) but that leaves out the people who are:
Cool with themselves alone
Trying to figure things out
Are asexual (yes, that is a real thing)
Still trying to get over their last thing
Etc.


Yes. There’s songs like single ladies and articles praising the singles. But we don’t need that praise. Yes, ridin solo is a great song, but we don’t need to celebrate single status, just accept it. No shame, no pain. Just pure hardcore acceptance.
Because I grew up in a country that taught me that love was around the corner, or one accident on the street away from happening, I never considered the hard work that goes into every step of the process. If you want a relationship, you gotta put in the effort. And that won’t happen overnight.


So to all my singles out there: don’t be bitter. Don’t be proud if you don’t feel like it either. Be single. Be you. And if someone comes by that would like to add to that, perfect. But don’t ever feel bad for not having an answer to your equation.


I’ve been in love since age 5. I don’t mind taking a 5 minute break

One More Day

An old prose piece for today. Enjoy 🙂

One More

Another dream.

Another sunset.

Another me.

I was staring at another me. He was dressed in a suit, had one hand in his pocket, and was looking forward at a full sunset. There was nothing around that was recognizable to me besides the sky. We were on a deck, but there was no water. I figured that I should start the conversation. “So. You’re me?” I said casually. “Yes.” The other me answered back just as casually. “So, do you have something to tell me?” I asked. “Yes.” The other me responded. I waited for him to begin talking, but it was silent. (For convenience’s sake, I’m calling him Fate).

Then I thought, “Can you only answer questions?” “Yes.” Fate responded, smiling. “Okay, so…are you a copy of me or me from the future?” I asked. “Both.” Fate responded. Whoa. This was big. “How far? And can you tell me anything?” I eagerly asked. “A year and a couple months ahead. I can tell you some things, but nothing specific.” Fate answered. I started off with the most important thing, “Girls?” “Too specific.” Fate said, chuckling. “Money?” I asked. “You have at least enough to get by.” “Failures?” “That’ll happen.” “Any pain?” “Yes.” Me and Fate said back and forth.

I almost groaned. This seemed like the biggest opportunity in the world but I wasn’t getting anywhere. I think Fate could sense my frustration, but remained silent. We were at a stalemate. The sunset remained constant, giving the illusion that no time had passed− even though it seemed as if Fate and I had been standing in silence for hours. Finally, I gave into my impatience and asked, “If you can’t tell me anything, why are we talking?” Fate turned his head toward me. His expression was neutral when he said,

“Because sometimes all you need to know about the future is that you’ll make it to another sunset.”

Fate’s words hit me hard. And then I heard a door open. I turned behind me and saw a door that hadn’t been there before. There was a blinding white light on the other side of the door, obscuring my view. I think my time was up. “There’s one thing I’m allowed to tell you.” Fate said. I turned and saw Fate with that same blank expression. “There will be a big opportunity coming up. Make sure you think carefully about taking it or not.” He said. I smiled and said, “Any chance you’ll tell me what I decided?” Fate smiled back and said, “No.”

I went to the doorway but stopped, gripping the door frame. There was one question left. “Who makes your rules, Fate?” I asked. The moment I asked the question, the moon joined the sun in the sky, bringing stars next to clouds. Fate opened his mouth and I expected him to say, “Too specific.” He smiled his biggest smile yet, as he said, “Too obvious.” The white light overpowered everything, blinding me.

Another dream.

Another me.

Another reason to face the light of a new day.

I Quit Writing. A True Story.

“I should work on that screenplay.” I thought, while logging onto Facebook. It was a typical Sunday. I finally get a few hours to myself to write, and I usually throw it away on…pretty much anything. “How do I procrastinate today?” I thought, scrolling through email. Just as I saw the Netflix House of Cards season 3 email (and had prepared myself to binge watch), I noticed an email from a coworker. “Could you send me _____ document from your flash drive?” I sighed. I ‘d never squeeze Netflix and a ps4 session in at this rate.

I reached into my bag for the flash drive. It’s gone. The drive for a hundred stories, countless poems and potential Razzie award winning screenplays, was gone. Not again.

2003

I hopped on the bus with my stories in hand. Going to the Statue of Liberty was exciting and all, but there was one thing more exciting: I just finished the newest story in my series! What better place to show my friends than a boring bus ride? As soon as we settled in to our seats, I nudged my best friend. I flashed my folder (it was YU-GI-0H themed. Shut up. It was cool) and told him to take a look. He just shook his head, saying, “Reading on the bus makes me feel sick.”

I was a little disappointed, but that was okay. At least I could read my stories. Time passed by as I read about every punch, kick and plot twist along the way. Before I knew it, we were at the Statue of Liberty. As we piled out of the bus, I realized that a full folder may not be the best traveling companion. “Can I leave my folder on the bus?” I asked the teacher. She nodded as we headed off to see what the deal was with this big green lady.

Present Day

My room is in tatters. Clothes strewn everywhere. My bed is upturned. Every bag lay with its contents spilled out. There was simply no hard drive to be found. I sat at the edge of the bed, thinking about all that I had lost. “Idiot!” I thought, holding a hand over my mouth.

I thought my stories were unotouchable. That the drive was unfailable. Nothing could happen to it, so why worry about making any copies? I could just start over…

I stood up suddenly. Maybe the drive was in my office! I grabbed my keys and raced down the stairs. I had to know.

2003

We walked back to the familiar looking bus, weary from a day of climbing stairs and riding ferries. My best friend looked a little sick. Made sense, boats are worse than buses…what? I had reached my seat but there was a huge difference: No folder. I looked around the seats, and even under them. How could it move?

I moved up to the bus driver and asked, “Did you see a folder around?” The bus driver nodded. “Yep, dumped into the garbage in between shifts.” I stopped. The world froze. It was all gone? Just like that?

I slowly went back to my seat. Everything I had written was gone. I didn’t have any backups. Nothing on the computer. My stories were gone.

“Can I read your stories?” my friend asked. “No. They’re gone now.” I said. “Oh? Well, I guess you can just make new ones?” he asked. I looked out the window, the Statue of Liberty now a distant sight. I was starting to feel sick myself now.

Present Day

I crawled in between the seats of my car. After a failed search throughout my office, this was the only option left. The flashlight illuminated what was under the seat, revealing what I already knew: It was gone. I sat in the back of my car. I was starting to feel sick again.

The moon shone through my back window. I looked up and out to the stars that had started to come out. For a moment, I wished there was just one. One to make a wish on. One to reverse time. One…just to keep me writing. I shook my head. It was happening again. I climbed out of my car and began the walk back to my apartment.

I thought of the stories I had lost. The screenplay I wrote off a suggestion from a dear friend. My first attempt at writing a book. The complete rewrite of the series that I had lost almost 12 years ago. I sighed and pushed open the front door. This time, I looked straight ahead. I started over once. I can do it again.

One day, this will be a funny story. Just like I taught in the humor presentation I gave off my hard drive the other day…OH MY GOD!

I grabbed my key and flew out the door. There was one last place to check.

2003

“How was your trip?” mom asked, typing away on her computer. “It was okay.” I said quickly. My mom didn’t notice my deflection. How could should not notice? I lost so much today. An entire world! And yet…no one noticed.

I turned back to my mother.

“Mom, I don’t think I want to be a writer anymore.”

My mom raised an eyebrow. “Really? You’ve been telling stories since you were six? Why change it now?”

I met her gaze and said, “There’s too many people out there. Nobody would read my stuff. It’s unrealistic.”

Present Day

I stand in the middle of a dark presentation room.

My flash drive stands clutched tightly to my chest.

I had two thoughts:

  1. I am backing up every single thing on this to the cloud, sixteen laptops and my n64 somehow.
  2. This is a second chance if I’ve ever seen one.

I don’t know if this was fate. I don’t know if this was a cosmic lesson. I don’t know if this was some random series of events one after the other. But I did know that it would take more than a couple of lost files to stop me from writing again.

True story.

AreteAdvice Volume 4: The Most Simplest and Most Difficult Question

Question: Can I change?

No.

“I” has been a letter of the alphabet for too long now and most of our language is built on its utility and usefulness. We ain’t changing.

But if you were talking about “I” as in you, yes, you can change. But you have to make two concessions:

  1. It WILL NOT happen right away

Statistics say it takes around 90 days to form a new habit. I’m bad with math, and even worse at gathering statistics, so let’s throw out the numbers. Go with something simpler. Imagine if you ate pizza every day of your life. Every day. One of three reactions will happen:

You’re getting sick of pizza.

You are ambivalent towards pizza, but you will still eat it just cause.

You love pizza unconditionally.

One day, your doctor comes along and says, “Dude. Stop. You’re not a Ninja Turtle.” So now I pose the following: who has it easiest? The person who hates pizza? The person who is ambivalent? Or the person who loves pizza unconditionally? Answer: d. depends on the body. Mentally, you can be ready to change all you want, but if your body fights you, it’s going to be difficult. This is the struggle for people trying to lose weight, trying to kick a bad habit or even watch Netflix. Your body has settled into a comfortable routine. One that it knows will keep you safe and at the least content. Altering that routine drastically is unlikely to have a clean result.

This is not to say it can’t happen. You can kick pepperoni to the curb! Just stop expecting it to happen overnight. It’s not realistic. Think about every training montage you’ve ever seen. Even though they are all sped up (and usually underscored with awesome music), the characters take time to get it down. They don’t start day 2 of their karate training with mastery, they practice each step over and over again until their body accepts it as normal. That’s the secret to change-boring repeititon. If you doubt it works, think about what you’d like to change about yourself. Didn’t you get there through mind-numbing repetition? Think about it before you order dominos.

  1. You can’t change everything

Robocop.

Go watch that and then come back to this section if you haven’t already.

If you are at work or do not have access to Robcop (both sad things), I’ll give you the quick breakdown. Man gets shot. Man gets robo parts to replace injured body. Man shoots back. Throughout the movie, we see the man struggle with his new parts and how even the little things in life are different with his new body. But underneath it all, there’s still the human side that has remained unaltered.

I doubt that you’re a person who wants to radically change every aspect of who you are. But if that’s what you’re going for, I honestly can’t say that I’ve seen that work. My real life example:

As a kid, I was overweight. Ate too much, exercised too little. For years and years, that was a core part of me and my identity. Then a grew a little (Not too much, trust me), metabolism decided to work and I even started to be more of a physical person. Everything evened out…but I haven’t lost that aspect of me.

To this day, as crazy as it may sound, I still sometimes feel like I am carrying that weight. The insecurity and self-doubt from that time still hang around. Yes, I’m tons more confident than I used to be. But will I ever be truly able to change the small part of me that never thought he’d look like everyone else? I’m not sure.

This is not to be pessimistic about change. You’re going to keep some good parts of yourself too! I still have my encyclopedic knowledge of all the Power Rangers seasons, can recite the plot to at least 10 Goosebumps books and the controls to Mario kart are basically like breathing to me. That’s just who I am, and will always be. Sure, all those things I mentioned are not nearly as important to me as they seemed back then, but they still are important. Without those aspects, I wouldn’t be changing myself. I’d become someone completely different.

So yes, go ahead and change. It’s going to take some time, and you won’t change everything. But I promise one thing. Even you at least make an attempt, an honest, heartfelt attempt, and that attempt to change fails:

You’ll find that you already have.

OPEN LINK; ADVICE INSIDE: Arete Advice Volume 3

For this installment of AreteAdvice, I decided to lend an ear to people who really needed it: The cast of the Walking Dead.

Sheriff Friendly writes,

I got a question about my son, uh…Snarl. He’s growing up in a walker infested world, where he has to fight everyday to survive. On top of that, he may be a sociopath. When’s the right time to teach him stuff, and things…about the birds and the bees?

Dear Sheriff Friendly,

It sounds like Snarl has it pretty rough out there. With undead beasts hungry to devour him each day while you fight for basic needs, he may have a lot on his mind. That said, I think it would be good to teach him the birds and the bees as soon as you can. With the constant threat of marauders, wild animals and gingivitis, who knows if you can afford to wait to teach him these things! (Unless you’re the main character. Then you don’t have to worry about dying or anything.) So take Carl out for a fishing trip/walker run and tell him about the stuff and things that got him and his sister there. He’ll thank you for it later. If you survive.

Oh and good luck with that sociopath thing.

Q: I’m a single woman looking to reenter the dating life after the loss of my husband and half-season loss of my daughter. There is a guy with a crossbow that catches my eye that I deeply care about, but I can’t seem to get his attention. Any tips?

Dear Caring,

Sounds like that guy with the crossbow shot you straight in the heart! There’s only one cure: some apocalyptic romance. First, find some squirrels for a gamey surprise dinner. Then get a nice big fire ready. (But don’t throw anybody in! Hahaha, jk!) Once you get him there, have him turn and look at the flowers while you pull some drinks. (Not peach schnapps). If you do all of this and he resists you, then maybe it’s not meant to be. Because what man could resist romance and squirrels?

Q: I’ve heard about this big group lead by a police officer that somehow manages to keep a baby alive. They sound like they’re pretty strong and reliable. Should I join them? P.S. I’m a 5’8 black man.

Dear T-Dog 7,

I know that group well! They’re cool guys. All you have to do is earn their trust and they’ll protect you. It may take a while, but it’s worth it. Once you’re assimilated into the group, you’ll be untouchable. Oh, when you arrive, be sure to bring a condolences card for the last black guy who just died.

That may sound a little troubling, so let me explain. For some odd reason, every time a new black guy joins the group, another black guy dies. Sometimes there’s a delay, but it happens every time. But don’t get too worried! Usually it’s the black guy that’s been around the longest. So as long as you’re new or second newest, you should be fine. Once you’re the oldest though…

GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE!

Q: Sometimes when I’m on open roads, I flip my car over for no reason. Any advice?

Dear Lori,

You’re beyond my help.

Got a question for areteadvice? Know a fictional character who could use some? Just send your questions to areteadvice@gmail.com and I’ll respond in my next column.

AreteAdvice Volume 2: Spacey Love

Welcome to the second edition of AreteAdvice. I figured since Valentine’s Day is coming up, I’d answer two (sort of) relationship questions. Without further ado:

What do you do when you forget a friend/significant other’s birthday?

Dear Forgetful,

I’ll be upfront with you right away: I’m guilty of this. A lot. In fact, without facebook, I would probably be a serial birthday forgetter. So how do you avoid being one of those people who scribbles on a facebook wall at 11 pm? (Also me) A couple of tips.

Put the birthdays of your closest friends in your phone…now. This may sound time-consuming, but not in the 21st century. First, pick your closest friends. If you want to expand it to your entire acapella group or Biology class, feel free. But start off with five friends. After finding out their birthdays, (which again, should be through facebook/hiring a private investigator), put them into your phone or on a calendar. Set a reminder 24 hours before their bday. Why? So you have enough time to grab a present/make a card/buy an Applebee’s gift card.*

(*You can do better)

And notice, you can use this method for virtually everything! Your parents’ anniversary, your conception date and of course, the anniversary in your own relationship.

But what if, despite all of your preparation, you still find yourself forgetting? You go big or go home. In this case, you’re upfront with your friend. You had a busy week. Thwarting your mortal enemies’ plans in the middle of a live volcano takes a lot out of you. So in exchange, you do something on a grander scale for your friend. So that card turns into a fully recorded video. Cake? Try cake and chicken wings. This maneuver especially works if your friend has a birthday on a busy/workday.

Use these tips and you’ll never forget a birthday-you’ll be too prepared…or too scared to attempt last year’s belated birthday celebration with left shark from the superbowl.

When not to do sex?

Dear Timing,

Sex is both a natural part of the human life as well as enjoyable (when done right). It can be so enjoyable that you might not know when to not do it. Here’s a short list of some frowned upon times do not do sex:

-Funeral Homes

-Divorce Proceedings**

-DMV (You’ll lose your place in line)

-Recreations of the Titanic Sinking

-At the Scene of the Crime (Watch CSI)

-In a Washing Machine

**80/20 on this one.

On a semi-serious note, you should also avoid sex in front of recording device. Why? Here’s a short list of pros and cons:

Pros

You can watch it later, reminiscing on good times

Cons

It can be leaked.

Your lighting/direction may leave something to desired on later viewings. Ever wonder why X-rated movies have an entire crew instead of lone webcam?

It can be leaked to the internet.

You probably make weird faces.

It’s a potential source of blackmail. You know why?

IT CAN BE LEAKED.

I hope this quick guide helped you gain the presence of mind when not to do sex, timing ;)!

For more advice, send your questions to areteadvice@gmail.com. Your questions will always be credited as anonymous.