It’s amazing what getting out of my apartment did for my spirit. As you know, if you’ve been following my life, I’ve been unemployed for quite a while. For the better (or worse) part of the last eight months I have had little in the way of steady employment. The ocassional freelance gig has been helpful, but oh how I yearn for the nine-to-five desk job again. There’s something to be said for security. There’s something to be said for not writing a check to my previous employer for some of the worst HMO health[we-really-don’t]care. I’m not there just yet, but it just feels like something’s going to give. There’s something in the air.
It’s been challenging to stay optimistic. I’ve been rejected more in the last several months than a two-headed retard in a Beverly Hills club. It’s not always easy to keep saying, ‘you’ll have a job, you’ll make a good living like you used to and you’ll be happy.’ The thing is, I have never been happier. I’ve also never been more poor. I’m not starving and I can pay rent, but I just don’t spend like I used to. It’s actually fine. It’s been very humbling. I actually think about what I’m going to spend my money on. I budget to some degree and I even use Quicken to keep track of things. These are all kind of new to me. I’ve never been very responsible with money. Who has time? Who cares? It’s not like you can take it with you when you die. Might as well spend it and have a great fucking time, right? I mean aside from a music shopping spree, I don’t spend much money on stuff.
That word has come up a lot recently. I have a lot of stuff. Most of it is bullshit, useless crap that I could donate or just plain do without. The books and magazines, for instance. I keep magazines for what? I read them, but then what? They take up space on a shelf, make me look like I know what’s going on in the world, even if it is just the world of music, fashion and pop culture. We all do it to some extent. I have every issue of Rolling Stone from August 1987 to the present. Crazy, eh? Aside from the yearbooks and photo issues, I have rarely gone back to look at any of them. Half of them are at my parents’ house. Then there’s the box that I can’t lift that is sitting in the corner of one of my closets. Of course there are issues all around the apartment in various piles as well. Sure, Wired looks cool on a shelf, but why the fuck do I need four years worth of them? I could go on about the magazines, but I think I’ll just spare myself the utter embarrassment of knowing that you are reading about all of my stuff.
Let’s be honest for a moment. Why do people keep books and put them on a shelf for people to see? To look smart, cultured and well-read. There really is no other reason to keep a book. There are a few exceptions like reference books, coffee table books (which are really just for show as well) and photography books, all of which I look at pretty often. There are a few that will make it through the next move. David Sedaris books will remain. I never get sick of reading his books. Perhaps a book or two from Douglas Coupland, Nick Hornby, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Tom Robbins and the Neale Donald Walsch books. What now fills up nearly two 6′ x 3′ Ikea “Billy” bookshelves will fit nicely on a couple of shelves.
I’m getting off track, talking about my stuff. My original point was to tell you how a change of scenery has helped recharge me. It has inspired me, made me set an alarm to get out of bed and made me feel like I was actually doing something. Oh, and I was making a little cash too! I guess it didn’t hurt that the job I just finished was for a guy who lived with an amazing view of the ocean in Malibu. I’m already working on my next job and have had to pass on an opportunity. Why is it that everyone has to have stuff right now? No matter. I handed the job to a woman who just moved to town and needs the work. There’s certainly something to be said for some good employment karma.
There’s going to come a day when someone hires me as a full-time employee. That time is going to come soon and then I’ll probably be writing about how much fun I had freelancing, but hopefully not. Like I said before, I’m happy and healthy, which I am thankful for. What it really comes down to for me is that I remain happy and learn a little something along the way. When I quit my job last year, I made a vow to myself that I would never take a job so personally that it damaged my psyche or physical well-being. Nothing and no one is worth any of that shit.
I received some nice emails about the quote that was in my last post: “Don’t eat your soul to fill your belly.” It’s not the only sign I have hanging in my office. A few of the other ones are:
“If you hate your job, hold down your expenses, save up for a while and INVEST IN YOUR JOY. Do it well, get paid and GET FIRED. It’s not rocket science.”
“I’d rather have a LIFE than a LIVING”
“Blasphemy means ignoring your dreams”
They just serve as a constant reminder. It’s easy to lose track of things when your life is moving at the speed of light or you’re in a rut. Slow down, chill out, get out and make time for yourself. Put up some signs or whatever you need to do.