My Year in Review
Well its time for my annual new years resolution post!
Last year my resolution was “to get my shit together” which someone pointed out was a bad resolution because it wasn’t specific enough… I actually thought vague was good because it left enough wiggle room so I wouldn’t become frustrated if I failed to meet some arbitrary benchmark.
For example my other resolution to “smile for 5 minutes a day” lasted all off two days before I gave up. In contrast I did make a consistent effort at “getting my shit together” throughout the year, though real progress was hard to measure and punctuated by hits and misses.
For the first six months “getting my shit together” meant finding some semblence of discipline in my life. Basically setting up a routine, getting up at a reasonable hour, putting my dirty dishes in the dishwasher, taking the empty beer bottles out to the garage instead of letting them pile up on the counter… Basic chores that come easily to most adults but for some reason I continue to struggle with.
I think its a vestige of depression, if you don’t feel you have a reason to get out of bed in the morning, you don’t. If you don’t think anyone cares whether or not you do the dishes, you won’t. Now I finally got the depression monkey off my back a few years ago, but I still have some bad habits and since there is a link between your external environment and your internal well being its important to stay vigalent.
Part of the reason, or lack of a reason, I have blamed for my bad habits is the fact that I don’t have a regular job. So early last year I decided to volunteer with a local appraisal company, just to get in the habit of getting up and going to work everyday. I also got in the habit of making a healthy breakfast for myself everyday to make the start of my day a little more exciting.
Apart from the fact I wasn’t getting paid, my internship was actually a pretty good gig; it was close to my house, I had my own office, I got to set my own hours and could take a day off whenever i needed. I also had a boss who I didn’t hate and coworkers who I could hold a conversation with… in retrospect I probably should have stuck around, but after six months I felt like I wasn’t learning anything new and needed a change.
Since September I have been working a few days a week doing zoning for a surveying company… which as I mentioned in a previous post is not so wonderful. Although I’m getting paid I’m not earning much and have little hope for advancement. Still I am gaining valuable experience, and my next employer won’t care what I did or how I felt about doing it.
Apart from the nature of the work, and the compensation package, I have some other regrets: Prior to taking the zoning job, I mostly supported myself as a freelance draftsman, and that work has dried up in recent months.
Its hard to say at this point whether the loss of my drafting job is a profit or a loss because I’m not sure whether the reduction in work is in response to my busy schedule/professional neglect or if the attorney who I work for is struggling for business, in which case it was wise of me to seek a steady paycheck… I guess it all depends on whether I can use the zoning job as a stepping stone to something better down the line.
On the fitness front, during the summer I kept a fairly steady regimen of jogging and even worked in some resistance training. When the weather turned cold in november I joined a health club and have been doing a good job of working out two days a week. The gym is right around the corner from my workplace so I like to lift in the mornings and swim in the afternoons… it helps me stay focused at work and gives me a reason to keep showing up despite my unhappiness so on the whole I think I’m doing pretty good.
In addition to my zoning job, I also took a seasonal job at a toy store (to learn about retail and take my mind off my zoning job); this too was a learning experience with advantages and disadvantages but I won’t go in to them here.
On the acting front, I finally decided to change agents. I am now auditioning regularly and I recently booked a national commercial, so things are going about as well as one can expect, but you never know.
Lastly, I finally started to retake my college chemistry at a local community college. This is the single most important thing I did this year because I have spent the better part of a decade kicking myself for doing poorly in chemistry, and now I’ve done something about it. I will actually be better off in the new year than I was a year ago and that is something which hasn’t been true for a very long time.
Looking forward, I did well in my chemistry class (Tri-C isn’t OSU) but I’m not sure yet if I will have the funds/time to continue retaking classes. I’m still not convinced of the wisdom of going back to school full time and I feel like I already accomplished what I set out to do.
I will continue working at the zoning job through february, at which point I will have six months in and will probably quit if I can get a job on a film crew. Since I’m no longer doing drafting or working at the toystore, I will probably add a day to my schedule and I hope to step up my fitness routine accordingly.
As for a resolution for the new year. I just want to continue making progress, I want to find a better job by march, and if it doesn’t happen in my real job I have to make the most out of the auditions I’m getting and hopefully get some more acting jobs to make up for the deficit. Also I think its important that I make an effort to be less cynical. I turn thirty this year, and there are many benchmarks that I am no where close to meeting. I just have to take things in stride and be happy with my lot in life.