"Don't Worry. Be Happy!" - Michelle Tanner (Full House)
---- A month ago in an email update to some friends from Savannah, I wrote the line, "Life is going way too fast in some places, and way too slow in some others. Too many people wish that life could either speed up or slow down - I wish that I could, I dunno, tweak both at the same time. Let some things go flying by at superspeed, while also allowing other things to slow down to a snail's crawl."
This hasn't changed - and in fact becomes of even greater significance. First up, I got a job. I work at a small local video production company called Advanced Video Presence, working as a production assistant.
Now, I assure you, this sounds a lot more 'big deal' than it actually is. The company gets most of its work taping and editing together Wedding and Bar/Bat Mitzvah personal memory videos. What I do is help the Video Production Manager in whatever gopher-esque duties she requires of me, whether it's running across town to pick up customized inserts for someone's Bar Mitzvah (KEVIN AND BRANDON'S PAR-TEE!!!), scanning in a series of 'Growing Up Photos' for inclusion on a restrospective video-screen Montage, or trying to find the single light stand that ISN'T jury-rigged with duct tape all over it because the Boss doesn't want to take 'inferior product' on a corporate shoot.
Or just sit around and listen to Office Gossip And Bitching from the Editors, or the Photography Assistant Girls In The Back.
And then, on the weekends, I'll actually go out and put up a video screen to show the aforementioned montage, or work what we call 'Freeze Frames' - instant-digital photos at the Mitzvahs that we put in buttons, pins, magnets, mirrors, cheap carboard frames (LIVIN' LARGE! or BAD TO THE BONE! or THIS MAGIC MOMENT!, etc, etc.)
There are and will be stories (I already have good anecdotes about each one of them, and I've only been working there two weeks), but they'll come later. The point to get across here is that I have a job that pays $9 an hour, plus about $75 for each weekend gig I take (generally 1 or 2 of these a week). It's good pay for a guy who'se living at home with his parents, who has several bills, but doesn't have rent, utilities, or food to pay for. In short, it's Credit Card Debt-Away Money, to pay off the irresponsible spending I did while at college.
That was the plan, and anything excess would go towards the Get Dave Out Of His Parents' House Fund.
Well, it looks like the fund will be going into effect sooner than expected.
Many of you may know that my dad is an Assemblies of God pastor. You may or may not know that I've had a history of moving around and having to break ties just as I've begun to make them, and just as I'm feeling comfortable in a place. With the exception of one single time, my father wasn't at a fault for having to leave. Things just...happened the way they did.
This cycle didn't really start beginning until the seecond Decade of my life. For additional reading and background, you may be interested in my first landmark, about the first decade of my life
That account ends with my move away from Hanover, PA to Stroudsburg, PA in 1990. Stroudsburg is the first place in which I really felt sorrow and regret for having to leave. The circumstances for leaving were...not good, and it was so abrupt. It hurt.
From there we moved to Springfield, MO, and for a year we stayed at my paternal Grandparents' house. This...was not fun. I started 7th Grade there, and enjoyed school well enough, but didn't really develop any real ties with people. I did, however, get my first nickname ("Doogie"), which at first started out as a term of ridicule (the story how it got applied to me isn't exactly how you may think it was), but then eventually just became a 'term of endearment' of sorts. One of my teachers eventually even called me Doogie.
To this day, only one person still calls me Doogie, and that's the mother of a kid I met in Springfield, who I rarely even talk to anymore.And HE doesn't even call me Doogie. His mom called last week to check on how my sister was dealing in Florida with all the evac stuff. (She's fine, BTW. And actually home right now - she's going back tomorrow). She called me, and addressed me as Doogie, and it made me chuckle. Nostalgia comes in the strangest forms.
Anyway, eventually we got out of grandparents' house, and lived in a small rental. It was while living in this house that I started my Freshman year of High School, and gathered together my very first real Crew of Friends, or "Jeesh" as I'll call them.
I was a Band Geek, and this is where I met them. We became close, and were always hanging together during all of he competitions, practices, and we even had Gym together, so we'd always run our laps together, too.
This is also where I began my career as the Advisor, giving advice when needed. It was unsolicited advice at first, but eventually it was asked of me. And it was often in areas in which I had no personal experience with (IE, Love Life), but I still gave bang-up advice that worked.
The member of the group I grew the closest to was a girl named Rachel Kraft, who got me hooked on the X-Files. She was a feisty little thing who refused to conform to others thoughts of what she should be, but did it without the 'Hey look at me, I need ATTENTION for being DIFFERENT!' that so many other 'non-conformists' seemed to do. She was 'one of the guys', but still very much aknowledged as a girl. (There was a constant drama between her and a member of the Jeesh who had dated for a short time before). Yeah, I'll admit, I had a bit of a crush on her, but that wasn't ever my focus. She was my friend first and foremost. And she was a geek, which kind of rocked. She'd listen to audio-taped X-Files dialogue, and quote out of her underlined copy of Stephen King's THE STAND. She also happened to be the first Mormon I ever met, but there was never any discussion about religion at all that I can remember. It was a non-issue to me, just an interesting factoid.
In was in the middle of the school year when our Jeesh's bonds were reaching an apex when I was told I'd be moving away to New Jersy - and I wouldn't be waiting until the year ended, I'd be ripped away right in the middle, right at the Semester break. That REALLY hurt. On my last day, my Jeesh presented me with a calendar that they'd all signed a month, and written a personal message. Its one of my most cherished posessions to this day.
In Jersey, I hated school. In hindsight psychoanalyses (the best kind!), I've realized this is where I but up my Emotional Barrier, not allowing myself to get attatched to anyone else new, for a sort of latent fear of the same thing happening again. I think I delved into a bit of depression, but the depression wasn't full-fledged because of one major thing - Rachel's letters. At first, they flowed regularly. But as the second year started, and I was more comfortable with my school and becoming more involved in their competative marching band program, I did something stupid - I became lazy, and stopped replying to letters. There are few things I can truly say I regret doing in life, and this is one of them - losing contact with Rachel. After I moved, I saw her twice, when we had visited Missouri. The first time was meeting up with her and some of her friends opening night of ID4: INDEPENDENCE DAY, and the second was during a day of their band camp the following summer - I got to see a couple members of the old Jeesh then too. It was brief, but wonderful.
But the letters stopped, and it was my fault. I still have a hefty folder filled with the correspondance. The correspondance that kept me sane. It wasn't until contact had been lost with her that I realized the important impact she'd had on my life, and my regret is never being able to tell her this. It's probably a regret that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
But through the rest of high school, I still didn't allow myself to make any real friends. Using that Magic Gift Of Hindsight once again, I can see that people tried. Some even pretty hard to be my friend. But I'd set myself into a bubble in which I forced myself to believe that everyone was talking about me behind my back, and that no one really wanted to be my friend. Even the ones who SAID as such. In my mind, there was all mocking. Let alone any romantic relationships - in my mind I was thoroughly unattractive. I was a bit whacked, but that's how I was.
So when I went off to college, I left no friends behind, had no teary-farewells. It was a clean break, and a welcome one, too. A New Beginning.
My New Jeesh began to form slowly the day the first day of school was supposed to happen - but we were evacuated due to a hurricane instead (Sound familiar?). On the evacuation, I met a couple of people who became some of my best friends who lasted all throughout my college career, and have extended afterwards as well.
It wasn't until the end of my Sophomore year, though, that I really made the conscious effort to break out of my 'Black Hole Of Depression'. I recognized it at this point, and really willed myself to break loose --- and it started to work. Little by little, small steps, line upon line precept upon precept, but it WORKED.
The Jeesh started to expand by that point, and would be cemented the next year. I had a Jeesh, and we ruled Savannah, and had wonderful times.
But since I had the whole major-change thing, I ended up staying longer than many of them did, and my last year was devoid of most of the Jeesh - they'd graduated and left Savannah. It was tough. I actually privately cried in my car when the last of my really good friends left town. I didn't have anyone to just hang out with anymore. I was alone.
But it was also this time when I met a new crew of people at church that I instantly clicked with.
These guys...were, quite frankly, exactly what I needed. People I could just "play" with, be crazy and have a good time.
After my original college friends had left, I thought leaving Savannah would be an easy thing, since all the friends had already left. But now, I had just begun a new set of adjustments to a new set of friends. I was in a comfort zone. So of course, it had to be messed with.
It took a little while to get re-adjusted in any capacity to the return to NJ. I did eventually make some friends, and have a small bit of a 'movie crew' (I'm one of those people who, for the most part, refuse to go see a movie alone). And around this time I also got that job that I talked about above. I started getting into a comfort zone again - things were pretty good.
The first warning sign should've been this fact in and of itself - right when things are A-OKAY, I should've gotten worried.
The second warning sign was being assigned to speak in Church two weeks in a row on the same topic - The topic was "Faith in times of uncertainty". Well, I'd had experience with it, but wasn't majorly in that place right then. I had a job, I had some people to hang out with, everything is tip-top.
The week after giving the talk, friends I'd made locally began moving away back to college.
And then my parents officially announce to me my Dad's resignation.
We live in a house owned by the church my dad's a Pastor at, right across the street from it. When he officially resigns (this Sunday), the clock will be ticking on how long we'll be staying there. My parents have no clue where they'll be moving next, apart from that it'll be out of Jersey.
All I know is that...I can't go with them. They didn't tell me this - this is something I just know within myself. This is the final boost I needed to start living my post-college life as much on my own as I can be. the problem is, the job doesn't pay enough right now to sustain all my bills plus rent and utilities in any normal place, so I'm on the lookout for possibilities.
I would LOVE to get out of Jersey, go somewhere else (ANYWHERE else), and start a new life. The problem is, I can't afford to go anywhere without having a job guaranteed for me first, or totally mooching off of someone until I get one - the former seeming incredibly unlikely, the latter being something I simply don't want to have to do. If I wanted to do that, I'd follow my parents to wherever they went.
There are some possible options and compromises I can make with some people here in Jersey for the time being, and most likely those will be taken, but I hope for them to be temporary. I want to get out. I want to get on my own. I want to start My Own Life.
And I think that the Sign of the Dave Cycle is the push I needed. I've come to really feel that these are God's ways of taking off the training wheels and shoving me down a hill. Harsh, but absolutely necessary and beneficial to my learning.
I just didn't realize that life was filled with a series of neverending training wheels. Life isn't just a single test, it's made up of a series of tests. And the completion of one Chapter just leads you in to the next one - and it's logically going to build upon the knowledge you gained in the last chapter, and test you on it. You're given an understanding, now you're placed in a position to act on the adage. To put your money where your mouth is. To, as Nike so elegently puts it, JUST DO IT.
This past chapter of my life was a shorter one than many before it, but it was still important. I have no idea how long the next chapter will be either.
But I do know that thinks will turn out okay. There's a verse in Proverbs that goes, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understandings. In all your ways aknowledge him, and he will direct your path."
And then there's a song by FrouFrou called Let Go (Featured in the movie GARDEN STATE - in theaters now! GO SEE IT!) with the lyric, "There's Beauty in the Breakdown".
And that's true on so many levels. It's become almost a motto of sorts to me lately.
I'm kind of excited to see how things will turn out. And while I have no clue how or when they will, I do have faith that things will turn out for the best. Whatever that may be.
Posts: 2689 | Registered: Apr 2000
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I keep offering folks a position as full-time housekeeper and nanny for room and board (lots of space in the garage - I buy the materials, you do the remodel) and every third Tuesday off. No one ever takes me up on the offer.
Okay - poor joke! You certainly sound like you are at one of those innumerable crux points - it will all work out - hang in there!
Posts: 5606 | Registered: Jan 2003
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You'll pull through it Dave. I've thought about how I'm going to be able to support myself after college, and it scares the crap out of me. Yet I look at other people, and there are so many people who do it constantly, that it eases my fears.
Everyone seems to find a way. You'll find yours.
And dude, if you EVER need a place to crash, come find me.
Posts: 1934 | Registered: Jun 2001
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After writing this, I thought momentarily about many of the other conditions Jatraqueros have been through, and realizing that my situation may appear 'cushy' in comparrison. Momentarily, I wondered about the "Ooh, poor little kid with great family who just graduated college has to live on his own. Boo hoo." - but then I realized, of all the people I know who've had lives much harder for longer periods of time than I've ever experienced - they're the kind of people who know that strife is relative.
Yeah, compared to others, my life is downright cushy, and it's far and away 'about time' for me to grow up and face it.
I know it. Hence, the need and intense desire on my part to 'really grow up'. I know I'm overdue.
You guys are really wonderful. And I appreciate all of you.
Posts: 2689 | Registered: Apr 2000
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