And just like that, I’m back in Alaska. If nothing else, I can confidently say that I am so much happier on a consistent basis to be out of that household. I’m not sure if I’ll ever fully explain just how bad things got for me in Seattle to my friends and family. It may not have been rock bottom, but it’s about as close as I’ve been in my lifetime.
I was trying so hard to find a job, ended up with well over 100 applications in the course of just under a month. Unfortunately, those translated to only one interview. It was for a “marketing” job, and involved a three step interview process. Seems pretty intensive, I thought, and I was thrilled when I was offered the job. That’s about the extent of the good news concerning that little foray, however.
It promised a whole, whole lot. “Make 80k within 9 months!” My spidey sense started tingling, but considering it was the only place that reached out to me, I dove in head first, determined to make the most of it. Surprise, it was a pyramid scheme. Well, they would argue against that point for sure, and there was one or two things that they did that meant technically they weren’t a pyramid scheme, but c’mon. It was for a sales position where we would go out to different retailers in the state and set up shop for a week at a time. There, in our booth that we would set up in store, we would sell certain items. Granted, most of the items they sold were actually pretty cool, so it was easy to buy into at first.
The gist was this: Once every half hour, make an announcement on the store intercom that free gifts are about to be handed out to “every special customer in the store right now!”. Then, once you get a few people gathered around your booth, you hand out a free little knick knack (like a keychain tape measure – good up to 3 feet!) and then launch into your spiel about the actual star of the show, which is the product you wanted people to buy. Do 16 or so of these “shows” a day, and hopefully you sold enough pieces of product to make the day worth it.
The hours were ridiculous. Morning meetings designed to go over the agenda and goals for the day went from 7-9 each morning. Then you had to grab product and drive out to your store that you were given for the week, sometimes as far as an hour drive from the office. Oh, and you weren’t paid for any of that. It was considered voluntary, for law purposes I’m sure, but if you weren’t showing up, that was a big no no. That meant you were only getting paid for the time you were actually at the store location. So 8 hours at the store + 2 hour morning meeting + commute time = ridiculously long days.
During the first couple of months at the sales job, I was still moonlighting at the retail store as well. I had originally quit but they practically begged me to stay on in whatever capacity. So 15-20 hours a week there plus the 50-60 at the sales job meant I was burning out, and quick. This was affecting my sales as well, as I was too tired to be the annoyingly bubbly person one needs to be to make the most of a job like that.
So I quit the retail job and hoped that the new focus would be reflected in the sales paychecks I was getting. Turned out not so lucky. I’m no mathematician, but I was looking at how many hours I was working and trying to figure out why my paychecks weren’t reflecting even my lowest of estimates. I was met with excuses about how it was the other jobs fault and after I quit, I should see a bump up.
So, the kicker is that first paycheck I receive after all this, and it’s even lower than my previous couple. And that’s when I broke. Talking to people around the office, I knew that paycheck tomfoolery was a common issues at different “branches” of this marketing company. I knew it was a pyramid scheme, more or less. I knew I felt like I was pushing myself pretty hard, throwing myself completely out of my comfort zone with the sheer volume of people I barged in on and asked to buy stuff from me, and the rejection that follows. And when I saw I wasn’t making any more from this job that I was at the retail job, I said fuck it.
As timing would have it, my friend from back home was in town and had asked me to hang out. I wasn’t 100% it was going to happen before, but after getting that paycheck I wanted nothing to do with that place, so I met up with him. Said I was done and never went back in. Admittedly, I played hooky a few days before I expressed that sentiment to the employer.
So I’m talking to my friend who happens to be moving back home. Tells me to as well. And then I was like, holy shit why not. I had to be moved out of the house in two weeks. Couldn’t afford a place thanks to the shitty sales job withholding money, or at least finding enough loopholes to screw me over. Part of me was happy to sleep in my car for the time being because I knew I wanted out of that house no matter what. But part of me likes sleeping in a bed under a roof.
I started to recap why I was so against moving back home, and I certainly have quite a few reasons, but the more I thought about it, the more I narrowed it down.
I was always kinda miserable back home, I wasn’t accomplishing my goals, and I didn’t find myself doing enough to warrant my time there. But wait. Just a second. That’s what I was doing in Seattle as well. To a much greater degree, in all facets.
I think my line of reasoning had always been that if I change my environment, then I would change myself. Something that I think back upon now and obviously find fault with, but it always seemed so logical. I think that’s why many people tend to do that same sort of yo-yo with this place. I obviously must not be the only one thinking along those lines.
So I thought I could either stay in Seattle, continue to be broke and/or bumming money from my parents, struggle to find any sort of positivity in my day to day life, and be a general sad sack who had no way of ever doing right long enough to get his feet back under him? Or do I hit my hometown up once more to do a hard reset?
The third time I’ve moved back home after moving away. And it made so much sense. I need to do me. Mainly? I need to quit making excuses for myself. It’s why I procrastinate, and end up doing nothing.
I honestly believe one of the keys to personal happiness is having your goals and your actions align. So many people talk about hobbies, careers, educations, fixing bad habits, etc. without taking the necessary steps to getting to that same place. Walking the walk is the hardest part. When you pacify yourself with immediate gratification (for me – drinking, tv, video games), that takes away an opportunity to go after what you want.
I know when I say that I want to do something, that I do mean it. A large chunk of me, really, but perhaps not the most important. Whatever part of me that involves decision making and ambition didn’t get the memo. I figured those two sections would like, talk things over and I’d naturally just fall into success, but 28 years later, I realize it doesn’t work that way. It might in fits and spurts, but it never lasts.
So that change needs to come from within. I won’t magically become this ideal version of myself through moving away from a solid foundation and into the great unknown. In fact, I do know now what awaits me there (in my old, set ways), and that’s just more misery and grumbling. I certainly did not trust myself at that most recent point in time to improve my situation in Seattle. It was a bittersweet moment. To know that I wasn’t capable of getting out of the hole I had dug for myself was definitely a downer, but to realize it before digging it deeper was reassuring. Maybe something finally clicked.
And so I came back. To give myself as few excuses as possible. There’s nothing but what I do with this opportunity, and I don’t feel content to let the passive self win anymore. I need to take more action. To get an education, to get fit, to be reliable, and all these other wants of mine that I had hoped would somehow happen overnight.
It also helps to realize that my brain is a piece of shit. No. Seriously. I used to think it was just conflicted and that eventually all these motivating thoughts would come and it would almost be like an alarm clock chirping in. “Hooray body! What a day! Let’s go exercise and do chores and all the responsible things!”
If only. Instead, it just likes to talk about all the negative things in ife and play ‘what if’ scenarios for hours on end. So yeah. I would say that 99% of the shit that pops into my brain is worthless and combative, and should be ignored. Like I said, it’s a big piece of shit.
With this knowledge in hand, I’ve made strides in my first couple of weeks back. Now I still have plenty I want to do, but I’m starting to go about it. I tend to put myself in action before I give myself time to overthink everything, and as such it’s starting to change the way I think. Less “what if” scenarios and more about falling in line with my actions, as opposed to vice versa. Down just about 10 lbs already, which is encouraging as I came back home weighing the most I can remember. A personal high (low?).
Being out of that house in Seattle has certainly helped things. That’s for damn sure. Eating home made meals again since I feel comfortable in the kitchen. Way less fast food and ready made junk. The compulsion to drink is pretty much gone. Had a few days there where I slipped back into it, but I’ve been more sober in these two weeks than I had the previous two months combined, easily. And that, that’s real. Tough to think about.
Same turnaround could be said for exercise. 4 runs in one week as opposed to 4 runs in 4 months.
I’ve hoped for a spark to get me to change my life for the longest time. And I’m done waiting because now I finally understand it will never come. The only spark is the one that comes from within, when one finally just has to say fuck it and start doing things. That’s all I’ve ever lacked, is just a simple process of just doing the damn thing.
Once day I was randomly sitting down and wondering about having a kid, about what I would tell them about living their life. And after finding so many blatant differences between what I think one should do, and what I do myself, I could only shake my head.
If nothing else, I’m tired of giving myself excuses. I know my brain is going to try everything it can to keep me stuck in neutral. Content in it’s little comfort zone. Well, a comfort zone sure is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.