Every holiday we celebrate comes with its own specific brand of optimistic anticipation. The problem with anticipation is that the results are never as good as the idea. New Years is the shortest holiday, yet it delivers the most anticipation. The holiday only lasts for one minute, but the effects of the build up to the idea of a new year can last from 2 weeks to a lifetime. The idea of a “clean slate”, to start over, reset, restart, or finally do a change in your life.
The year 2015, for me, felt like half a decade. A lot of change happened in that year as I transitioned between two big chapters in my life. The ending of my college career and the beginning journey into adulthood. It was also my first official year as a freelance writer. I met a lot of interesting, and wonderful, people who helped me lay the foundation for what will eventually prove to be a successful writing career. I added a few more job titles to my resume this year, first by working as a copywriter. Lived a brief fantasy of a, “starving artist”, during the summer of no steady work while looking for writing gigs. Days with nothing to do but flex my fingers on a computer screen describing the vivid details of my inner thoughts for no one’s eyes but my own.
A good friend of mine got married this year too. He is one of a small select group of friends that have been a part of my life for over a decade now. This year was a culture shock as my friends and I suddenly entered a new reality in which people we remember seeing on monkey bars and coloring with crayons are now getting married or having children. For someone who is still not completely sure what kind of person he is going to be, it is hard to cope with the idea of having another person’s life depending on you emotionally and financially.
Towards the end of 2015 I was looking at a fork in the road. Both roads are filled with rough terrain and possible stormy weather, but they end in the same peaceful destination. The difference between them is that one has a beautiful landscape while the other road feels like you are just going around in circles. I became a member of a writing association, which means I now have a real world opportunity to start my career as an automotive writer. A dream career of getting paid to write about my life’s hobby and seeing the world in the process. Some may think differently, but I am a strong believer in that if you do what you love the money will follow. Sadly, in order to do that you have to find a day job to keep the bills paid until the money starts following.
I ended 2015 by started my first ever “grown up” job. Working for Hertz. Renting cars as a glorified insurance salesman; pushing $65 a day full coverage on a Toyota Yaris with roll up windows to people who make me question Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Having to wear a tie while sitting in a grey colored office for a 10 hour shift sparks my deep fear of a “normal life”. Being normal, to me, means having the same routine for days on end. Doing the same thing over and over again is my greatest fear in life because that does not mean living. Everyday should be a different road that ends in the same destination. Working for Hertz does mean that I now have a steady form of income with a guaranteed opportunity for promotion and advancement. Theoretically, I could force down my anger and dislike for most humans and grow a career with Hertz. The money would be good, and I would be able to afford more toys for myself. However, that would mean I would have to be someone I am not, and work just so I can afford to be myself on weekends.
I do have the ability to sell someone a product, but I hate doing it. I like creating, not selling. I like putting words together and creating a sentence that will cause a reaction in someone’s subconscious when they read it. Selling forces you to shovel heaps of fertilizer in order to convince someone that their way of thinking is wrong. I have the luxury of youth so I have a choice in whether to dedicate 2016 to my writing career or my corporate career.
There is also the idea of going back to school and become a history professor. I want to do my part in helping burst the bubbles of blissful ignorance of future generations. Teaching young people on why those who do not remember their history are doomed to repeat it seems like a good way to help change the world for the better. 2016 will be my first official year as an adult and I have three possible career paths ahead of me, for now.
I can remember once reading a joke that went, “Writer’s block is when the voices in your head stop talking.” I remember it because not only did it make me laugh, it made me realize something I had not noticed before. Ever since I became serious about wanting to be a writer I have developed a little voice in my head that I never had before. Not a voice to tell me right from wrong, or prevent me from hurting myself, a voice that seems to have all the answers. A voice that creates its own dialog as I go about my day. I can be completely focused on a task at hand while the voice in the back of my head starts to rant and deconstruct my reality. I do not know if other writers have a similar situation, but that is how it works for me. When I write I am basically just writing whatever the voice seems to be talking about at that moment. Some of you may be curious as to what the voice in my head sounds like. It is hard to put into words, but the best way to describe it is that is sounds like my ego. I hear the voice and it sounds like my own, but with confidence in its tone. The kind of voice that could help a politician win elections. A blunt, serious sense of righteousness with zero doubt.
My low self-esteem is in constant battle with my furious ego. I have had a number of my articles published in over a handful of magazines, newspapers, and websites, yet I still feel like a kid with a BB gun trying to enter a gunslinger’s saloon. I write with a soul crushing paranoid fear that I am not good enough to be a famous writer, but with an entitled sense of pride that what I am typing will be quoted by students writing essays in decades to come.
So why am I writing this? Why is this the first thing I write about for the year? It came to me on New Year’s Eve. I was not feeling as happy as I should have been and couldn’t understand why. I began to play back the memories of past New Year’s and noticed that for each one I always felt a little neutral. It was because I was always so lost inside my own head trying to predict and fantasize what I wanted the New Year to be like.
This was the year when I became self-aware. The year when I became aware of how the world really works. Run by a selected few, and kept in power through marketing fear to the people. Politics is bought, not won. The world could end in my life time. Reading between the lines of society. Being part of a species that fights over its differences instead of bonding over its similarities. Being able to write is a blessing for it allows me to get all these frustrating emotions of all the unnecessary hate and disgust in the world and put it on to paper. I am truly grateful for that.
For those that read this, I am sorry if I sound conceded or entitled. I was merely speaking my mind exactly as it sounds in my head. This writing was just a reflection of my 2015, while dealing with my fear of uncertainty and optimism. I hope you were entertained at least and I wish all of you nothing but the absolute best for as many New Years as possible.