A couple weeks ago we had a break in the cold weather that seemed like it would never go away. It was amazing how great it is when that warm spring airs starts to infect everybody with that I can’t go home disease. I of course had to muster up all the willpower I had to enter my home and work on writing that had to be done. As I sat and attempted to work, I heard the Mr. Softee truck passing by. (Well it might not have been Mr. Softee exactly but one of his bootleg counterparts.) After a couple minutes I noticed I was bobbing my head to the music. Funny it actually put me in a better mood even though I was stuck inside and had to work. But just hearing the song brought back all kinds of funny memories from being a kid. Like when you heard the truck and wanted ice cream but had no money. So you had to decide between stopping the truck or finding your parents to give you money. Usually you kind of ended up looking like a dog chasing after it’s own tail. But hey you’re seven so you don’t care what you look like. You just know you need to stop that guy and get money all before he passes your block by because nobody looks like they’re buying. It also just really signifies the end of school, longer days, and all the wonderful other things that come along with summer.
As I sat there bobbing my head it occured to me that even though I was seemingly so happy to hear the magical call of Mr. Softee, it probably wouldn’t last that long. I suddenly had the memory of just last year when one decided to park outside my house for twenty minutes and I almost ran out of the house with a machete ready to chop his head off if he didn’t move. In all fairness to myself, twenty minutes of that song will drive even the most gentle person to violent behavior. However, I have to admit there have been times where my blood started to boil the instant I heard that song. Actually, to be completely honest I’m not sure when the last time hearing that song actually made me happy. For a long time I considered a public nusance. Maybe it’s just the overexposure that gets to me or I just forgot how to appreciate the little things that so easily made me happy as a kid. Well either way I guess the only thing I can do is try to learn to appreciate it now. God knows I’d probaby be disappointed if I never heard that song again. I’m just hoping I remember to keep that in mind the next time I start contemplating chopping into Mr. Softees neck.
Yesterday, I was really in a funky mood. I woke up later than I wanted to, so I stayed in bed being lazy. Just felt like lying around. It didn’t help that I hadn’t really gotten anything done in a couple days. I basically wasted my time, by hanging out, and my money . Not that I didn’t enjoy it or feel like I needed it but I just couldn’t get myself back into a working state of mind. So after I finally got up, sitting in front of my computer I just couldn’t think of one thing I wanted to do. Then I get a text to go hang out with a friend. I did want to go hang out because it’s not like I was being productive. But then I thought about the money issue and if I did go anywhere then I would be upset the next day because again I had gotten nothing done and I would be completely broke.
So as I sat there contemplating what to do I went through my choices.
1. I could get right back into the bed and wait for the day to be over and just start all over tomorrow hoping it would be a better day.
2. I could go hang out and spend the last of my money. I could also hope that hanging out would put me in a better mood and that at least I would have had some fun before I tried starting over again tomorrow.
Or I could do the smartest thing. Just try to work through it and force myself to do something, anything. I thought for a minute and pulled out the easiest thing I could possible do. Take out a journal and just write about how I felt. I just sat and wrote out the whole ordeal, it came out real easily once I began. About half way through it I was already feeling better. I’m not sure how long I wrote but it was about two pages. I stopped to eat and do a couple of other things in between but kept going back. (I tend to always multi-task once I get motivated) But by the time I wrote the last paragraph I felt totally better. I did still get back into bed but with different intentions.
I was just going to do a little mini restart of the day. Instead of getting in the bed and staying there until the next morning I was going to take a little mini nap and get up later to get some stuff done at night. I did get in bed but never up taking the nap. Eventually, I got some work done later in the night after watching a little television.
Whether or not I did get anything done though was besides the point. Writing my way out of my funky mood made me remember why I began writing in the first place. The writing experience has always been very cathartic for me. It was the easiest and most natural outlet for me to channel my energy into. Over the years I’ve lost my enthusiasm for writing. Well actually the better way to put it is I lost the momentum I once used to have. At some points life’s distractions took over. At other times it just started to feel too much like an obligation. With attempting to turn my passion and something that I did purely for fun into a legitimate career I had to write things I didn’t always enjoy, so it became forced. But while I was writing the journal entry it just all flowed out of me, it wasn’t forced and the more I wrote the better I felt. I just realized this is a sign that I’ve got to work out a new routine. I have to do more of that natural, fun writing so I don’t get that burn out from just churning out work.
I have to find a balance so that I don’t forget again that I actually do enjoy writing.
I’ve pretty much been employed since the minute I got my working papers at fourteen years old. Except for a couple of months I was out of work after I moved back to the city, the longest I’ve gone without a job has been three weeks. As I write this I haven’t been working since May, in addition I also finished up my semester right after that. So for the past couple of months I’ve pretty much had nothing to do. I will admit I haven’t been looking that hard, because I am getting unemployment and I know I’ll be starting school again soon.
All this extra time on my hands has been driving me insane. Part of the reason I always worked was I needed to keep busy. So I’ve had a million little projects that I’ve been working on. In case you’re ever wondering how to pass some time if you have plenty of it here are a couple of my recommendations.
Organizing your CD collection and/or uploading them all to your computer.
Saving all clips as pdf files, printing and creating a list of them, or updating your resume. In general preparing yourself for a job in your desired field, whatever that may include for you.
Cleaning out your refrigerator.
Get back into shape (with no real income I’ve become a fan of walking through Prospect Park for an hour or so).
Take care of your health, if you don’t have it yet get medicaid, go get the physical you’ve been putting off.
Catch up with old friends. Who knows it may lead to finding out about a job opening.
There are some also some other things you could do to keep busy that I don’t recommend, they will probably just keep you unemployed longer.
Drink in the middle of the day.
Pace around the house, unless it’s part of your workout routine. (I wouldn’t recommend it though, that’s the kind of thing that makes you start feeling a little cabin fever.)
Spend all your time in bed. This could easily lead to feeling unproductive and useless, that’s when depression starts sinking in.
Catch up with old friends. It could be a bad thing too, either you realize why you don’t talk to them anymore the hard way, or you occupy too much time hanging out instead of focusing on getting a new job.
At the end of the day the best thing to do is find anyway to keep busy while also being productive. If not, you could easily find yourself in a rut that will not lead you back to being employed. In my experience, the longer you stay out of work the harder it is to get back out there. Unless you have the luxury of not working and enjoy doing nothing, I suggest you find something right away and be flexible. Everything may not seem perfect but at least give it a chance, you never know it may become perfect.
I have a life pretty much filled with clutter. This is as much mental as it is physical. I have recently come to the realization that this clutter has become a hurtle to overcome when it comes to my writing. I’m sure some of this will sound familiar to others. Here’s a fun little list of things that stand in my way.
Notebooks upon notebooks half full of writing, ideas and half done poems that I would love to be able to go through to get some inspiration.
Scraps of paper poem lines, short story ideas, scenes, and random dialog.
Folders full of school papers that should be edited to use for publication.
Then there are the piles of random other junk. At the moment my bedroom looks like a tornado just passed through.
First thing in the morning my mind get filled with the redundant task of everyday like, check email, shower, myspace, howework, work, etc.
In the back of my mind I’m always questioning how I’m going to get my bills paid.
Right after that I begin the worry of needing to find a decent paying job. Keeping in mind that I would like it to be a job that I actually like.
While all that runs through my mind I still have all the other worries that I’m pretty sure every other person in their 20’s has. I do have periods of time where I am able to push everything aside and get some writing done. But it seems to be getting harder and harder lately.
It would be great to hear if anybody else has these same issues. It would also be great to get some advice on how to deal with it.