So, I moved to Chicago.
Wait, let me rewind. Eight months before I moved to Chicago, I moved in with my parents in Arlington, Virginia.
Yep, college drop-out, living with my parents, I took a job at a sandwich shop. If I thought college was a bad time, I learned an important lesson during the first few months of this phase. Still depressed, but without alcohol to numb it, these were some of the toughest times for me. I spent a couple of weeks trying to get my spirits up and convince everyone I knew, including myself, that I’d made the right decision.
Around this time, I had THE MOMENT. I’d had THE MOMENT once before in my life, and I’ve had it dozens of times since. THE MOMENT is when I fall so far into myself, into my own head and problems that I feel like I’m breaking. And once I’m all broken up, sitting on the floor of my shower and crying, you know ridiculous over-dramatic things like this, I find this overwhelming quiet. I pick myself up, and I start planning again to take over the world (this is my ultimate goal in life. Rest assured I will rule you all. Bwah ha ha. Bwah hahahaha. bwah ha ha… ha). So, I got up from the small corner I was huddling in or wherever I was and I pulled out my notebook.
A word of advice to anyone going through a life crisis. Write down what you’re feeling. Most people try to sort through their thoughts inside of their own heads. If you’re smart enough to puzzle yourself out this way, congratulations. You’re a minority. I can spend a lifetime jumping from thought to thought, but writing makes you choose. You make decisions. It’s like having a discussion with yourself. You gain acceptance from writing it down. “I’m feeling this” “Oh my god me too!”
So, now you’ve written down how you’re feeling. That’s great, but it’s probably not a great synopsis. “I’m full of gloom and heart-ache” makes for a terrible read. So next step, you write down what you want. And I mean, everything. I do an exercise where I take ten minutes and try to write down a hundred things I want to do. Do not list things you want to buy. That list will do you absolutely no good. List things you want to do. I love these lists because in the first minute, you really realize what you want to do and you spend the next nine minutes desperately grabbing for eighty other things to write down. My first list included paragliding and midget sex. I only want to do one of these things. Hint: I’m afraid of heights.
Ok, so now you know how you’re feeling and what you want. Next, write down a plan. One year, five years, ten years. Short term, long term, lifetime. Divide it up how you want, but make some goals and figure out how to accomplish them. This step should be easier, because now you know what you want. This is important though. I have a firm belief that boredom and fear are the underlying causes of most unhappiness. Radical goal setting, or planning for what you really want rather than what you think you can get, helps to undermine these two demons. So, you know, dream big and all that, and then actually plan for it. The thing is, most people can have exactly what they want, but fear keeps them from it. “I would move, but my job won’t let me.” “I’m going to travel, but I don’t have that kind of money” “I hate my job” “I hate my school” “I hate my life” Ok, I’m sympathetic, but you’re not telling the truth. Your job might fire you, but they can’t stop you from moving. You spend that kind of money all the time. Quit your job. Leave your school. Get a life. A new one.
This is what I did a few months after leaving school. My destination was Chicago, but I had some things to do before I made it there.