My Own Worst Enemy

Yesterday was my first day over the flu. Congrats for me. Even so, I completely wasted yesterday. Didn’t do my half-hour of reading or half-hour of writing I’ve been trying to commit to doing each day, didn’t fill out any job applications, didn’t look up any small business information.

Now, to be completely honest, I really shouldn’t say that I completely wasted the day yesterday. I was able to chat with my mom for a bit, play video games with Little Sister…those are productive, valuable things, things that I wouldn’t be able to do if I were still working out in California. But even so, I can’t say that I feel good about the way that I used my time throughout the day. Though those small points in the day were quality, I spent a whole bunch of time Facebooking and otherwise throwing my day away (started playing Bingo Blitz, a game everyone should stay away from because it’s a tad addicting). I’ve only really been home 6 days now, and I’m already running into a pretty large brick wall.

This is a slightly different beast than I’ve encountered before, a subtle mix of procrastination and something else. I excel in procrastination; if I could receive a degree in procrastination I’d likely hold a double-doctorate and be writing theory books at Harvard right now. But it only somewhat feels like I have all the time in the world right now; even though I’m living at home and not paying for anything, I still feel the drive to get out there and make money, pay my student loans, and otherwise be productive in society. What’s really getting to me is this lack of direction.

Up until this point I’ve always had some sort of direction. High school pushed me into college which pushed me into my internship which pushed me into technical writing position which, in a sense, pushed me back home. But now I’m sitting here at home wondering exactly what I came back here to accomplish. Yes, I want to start my own small businesses and become financially independent, that’s pretty easy to say. But will I do what it takes to actually accomplish that goal? When I quit my job in California, I told myself that I was doing this so that I could take time at home for a couple months and really focus in on starting my projects, but now that I’m actually here, sans car and sans income, I can’t say I feel nearly as positive about the idea.

Today’s big issue is deciding exactly which direction I want to move. I’ve got plenty of projects I want to work on, but I’ve got no idea which one I want to start with. And to top all that off, I’ll need to start working somewhere to make money, or this is all going to get very old very quickly.

Getting a full-time job would give me the ability to make money and buy a car (something I definitely need to do soon), but it would cost me a lot of time. I also hate the idea of getting involved in a profession I don’t have a passion for, which could prove to be a little problematic. Staying unemployed gives me all the flexibility I want with my time, but deeply cuts into my ability to do, well, ANYTHING, since ANYTHING generally costs some sort of money. Working part-time would make sense, a nice median between the two, but what would I be able to take on that would give me enough money to pay my loans and other bills?

Oh, that’s right. I’ve got loans and such to pay. I guess unemployment really isn’t that viable an option.

Right now, I think the key is going to be mapping out the various projects and ideas I want to create, coming up with some potential income generators, and then actually getting started. I told a friend of mine that if you know you have a problem, know the source of the problem, and know what you need to do to take care of the problem, the solution is as simple as taking action. Probably need to take my own advice.

Show Me…Obama’s Birth Certificate!

Imagine that you flip your TV on, do some channel surfing, and see a brand-new episode of Family Feud on the air. Steve Harvey calls one player from each side of the stage to the center podium, and provides the following face-off scenario:

“Alright folks, we surveyed 100 news media outlets and have the top 8 answers here on the board. I want you to come up with the most popular answer for this question: What is the most important topic in the news right now?

Suzie, from the Parker family, buzzes in and answers, “Health care!” Steve turns around to face the board and says, “Show me…health care!” Number 6 flips over, revealing heath care as a low answer.

Melinda, from the Baker family, counters with “The royal wedding!” Steve shakes his head in shame amidst laughter and clapping from the audience. “Show me…the royal wedding!” Number 2 flips over.

Yeah, I just made this up…but does it seem that far from the truth?


Want an “accurate portrayal” of the state of America? Check out Family Feud. The Top 100 surveys obviously tell us things about what we think and feel as a people, right? Just check out this clip my mom showed me the other day:

So, while listening and reading articles from various news institutions, I’ve found out what today’s #1 answer is: the release of Obama’s long form birth certificate. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, while people continue to die in conflict in Libya, while what could possibly be the most polarized Congress in American history continues its dick-swinging contest over budget issues, while the consequences of the nuclear disaster in Japan are still being investigated, the news has decided that the most pressing issues on the national agenda are:

  1. Obama was, in fact, born in Hawaii, as shown by his long form birth certificate. Because, obviously, if Donald Trump doubts the authenticity of the President’s birth, we most certainly need to investigate it.
  2. The royal wedding, featuring the royal family of a country we fought to leave 200+ years ago, took place at 4 this morning local time. People in my town held parties. I have no idea why.

Now, given, even with my pessimism towards marriage and whatnot, I’ve enjoyed my fair share of weddings. I would venture to say that weddings are exciting when one of two situations apply:

  1. The wedding involves people you know personally AND you’re happy for them. Everyone grins and talks about how fantastic the married couple’s lives will be. Hoo-ray.
  2. The wedding involves people you know/don’t know, you’re happy for them/think they’re making a terrible mistake AND there’s an open bar. Procedural note: It doesn’t count as an open bar if it’s your alcohol.

Perhaps some of you out there stayed up all night and are able to consider the royal wedding officially “exciting” now based on these standards. Congratulations for you; I almost stayed up until 4 in the morning yesterday because I’ve been bloody sick with the flu and was watching Powerpuff Girls on DVD. But that’s all really besides the point.

I can’t come up with any reason that the release of Obama’s long form birth certificate, a document which proves information that we ALREADY KNEW, should excite me. In fact, the idea that Obama had to appease the media circus by answering to Donald Trump’s idiotic questions is unexciting. Or should I say that it’s “exciting” in the sense that it creates a sensation, but the sensation is one of outright disgust. It’s appalling.

Trump, if you’re going to run for President, here’s the way to win: spend a ton of money, look good on camera, and get a great speech writer. Forget ideas like designing a positive election campaign, coming up with legitimate governmental reforms that can actually be implemented through presidential power, balancing the budget, or finding ways to decrease the country’s dependence on oil. It seems to be that all you’re concerned about is winning the election, not improving the state of the country (which I’ve mistakenly thought becoming the President was supposed to be about), otherwise you wouldn’t be wasting all this time attempting to disqualify your opposition instead of proving yourself to be the legitimately better candidate.

I’d like to point the Shame Finger (patent pending) at Trump, or even the news media outlets, but at the end of the day, the Shame Finger points strongly at the people who entertain this kind of junk as “important” or even minutely relevant. News corporations are out to make money, to “sell papers” so to speak, and if we as a society continue to buy in to this drivel, continue to be more concerned about royal wedding hats than health care, more worried about political sideshows than the main events that happen every day in Congress, well, we’re just getting what we deserve.

President Obama held a press conference this morning regarding his long form birth certificate. Watching the first 21 seconds reminds me of a phrase I first heard from a former co-worker and good friend of mine back in California: Many a truth is said in jest.

Another New Beginning

Today was my first day of “funemployment.”
I’ve technically been jobless for just over three weeks now, but I’ve considered all the days leading up to this one a vacation of sorts. I’ve visited family, seen old college friends, and moved from sunny, beautiful Southern California to the blustery, cold, sun-starved regions of the Midwest, the land where I was born and raised. I could get into the whole backstory of how I ended up out there and whatnot, and I’m sure I will…another day. Today, we discuss the concept of beginnings.

Yeah, the idea of beginnings is a bit cliché. Every New Year/birthday/new job/graduation/religious conversion someone reminds us that we’re starting anew, have a great opportunity to erase the past and look towards the present with fresh eyes and refined mentalities and whatnot. I woke up at 11 o’clock this morning and the sun was shining while crisp, cool spring air came in through my window. I smiled, stretched, and then a series of lung-crunching coughs from hell came out of me. Yes, my first day of “funemployment” was spent in sickness. My chest hates life right now. But even so, I buckled down and got some work done.

I sent an email to David DuChemin.
This blog is going to be about taking control of life, developing a better understanding of time and how much we can do if only we grasp it. Before venturing into the unknown instabilities of unemployment, I worked for 40 hours a week in a Fortune 100 cubicle. I had opportunities for promotions and health insurance. I worked with good people. And then one day I was in a supervisor’s cube while he was talking with another employee and I read a piece of paper he had tacked to his wall. For a few days prior I’d thought seriously about how my life, my employment, my career, where I’d  be in 10 years…all thoughts that can be a bit daunting to a 23-year old not too far removed from college. But when I read that blog, printed out in nondescript type and tacked to a cubicle, well…

I definitely hope you read that link above, because maybe it’ll help you like it helped me. Regardless, draw a few weeks from that moment to now, and you’ve got my life as it stands currently: unemployed, over-qualified for many jobs in my hometown, but still pretty strongly optimistic about life and its potential. Needless to say, a thank-you email was in order.

So, what am I doing? It’s pretty simple:

I’m taking my life back.

One critical lesson I’ve learned in the last few months: life is much too short to spend waiting for something. I’ve been giving my life to various places and organizations because they’ve promised that if I give them enough time, whatever it was I was doing will be worth it, financially or otherwise. But I’ve developed dreams and goals of my own that I’ve had to venture out of the typical working world to achieve, and so that’s what I’m going to do. I’m back in my hometown to do more than leech off of my parents; I’m here to start my own businesses, to spend time with the people I love, and to teach myself how to use every second of every day to the fullest. Because really, each second is a new beginning, and I plan to use all my beginnings wisely.

-Josh

Today’s Reason for Self-Employment: I want to listen to music through SPEAKERS in my office at high-volume, not headphones.