I’ve been couch surfing for nearly five months now. For the first three, I was in Seattle, trying to figure out what I wanted to do, where to live and how I was going to pull it all off. Since, I’ve been in California, trying to make my way. To be honest, my ideas, plans and goals have not panned out. There’s no blame for this…it’s just how it’s evolved. On the other hand, it’s been a great experience and I have learned a TON about myself and others.
When I got to the Bay Area, I met the people who I was going to work on the magazine with. Right away, I had a feeling that this situation wasn’t for me. It had nothing to do with the people, it was more what the expectations were, what my “role” would be and trying to balance a lack of funds with devoting incredible amounts of time to something that a) wasn’t my dream; and b) provided no money. After “trying out” for two weeks, it was clear to everyone involved (including myself) that I wasn’t a good fit. At that point, I could have come back to Seattle or Bellingham, but I knew I had a place to stay in LA, at least for a little while. So I figured I’d give it a go.
When I arrived in LA, I got right to work trying to find a job. I have busted my ass over the last three weeks to find employment. I’ve applied for everything from delivery driver to assistant to a VP of PR for an entertainment company. In my opinion, I’ve done well for only three weeks. I’ve had interviews, some side work and some very interesting conversations. On the other hand, there are a lot of people who want to take advantage of you and there are even more people who “talk a big game” but show no substance. It’s mostly on me, though. Maybe I didn’t talk to the right people, or didn’t impress when I should have? I already know my strategy had flaws. But if I didn’t go now, when would I have?
I don’t blame anyone, even myself, for my situation. Yet, the fact remains that I need to make a (yet another) command decision about what my next move is. Due to lack of funds, my options have become limited. I recognize that “hindsight’s 20/20” and that fixating on what you “should” have done is unhealthy. Therefore, I have no regrets about my decision to go, no regrets about how hard I’ve tried and no regrets about how it’s turned out.
At this point, it’s highly likely that my time in LA will come to an end and I’ll have to go back to either Seattle or Bellingham. I have about a week left to get a job and find someone to take me in, free of charge. While I’m optimistic, positive and willing to ask for help, I’m also a realist. Even if I got a job today, I wouldn’t get paid for two weeks. If some of the restaurant, bar, driver gigs I’ve applied for panned out, I might be able to get some quick money, but it wouldn’t be enough to move in somewhere. Plus, you can only rely on friends (or strangers) for so long.
There have been plenty of lessons learned. One of the biggest? Money isn’t everything…but, it’s damn close. Especially in our society. Just like many of you, money is the only thing that has definitely hindered my progress. Lack of funds, mixed with incredible debt and no financial cushion. Of course, this is all my doing and my responsibility. Should I have tried to build up more capital before I left? Probably. Should I have been more calculated about my pursuits? Probably.
Is it possible that a person/job/connection could swoop in over the next week and allow me to stay in LA? Well, sure. I’ve put enough feelers out there, made enough contacts and have even done some work for people with some pull. However, NONE of them know how dire my situation is. Can’t let them know that, right? You’ll never get hired!
The realist in me says, ‘You’ve tried hard, Brian. You’ve given it your all. Sometimes, it doesn’t work out how you planned. This is just the next evolution in your life’s journey. Going back to Washington with what you’ve learned isn’t the worst thing; in fact, it could be the best thing.”
The dreamer in me? He’s not gone by any stretch of the imagination. I know I’m destined for amazing things. We all should feel that way. Contrary to how this note might be coming off, I’m still feeling positive, driven and ready to go. As long as I keep social networking, a greater amount of opportunities will emerge. I definitely know that’s true. Had I not made connections in this fashion, I would have never even been able to leave in the first place.
Clearly, I’m a guy who’s trying to figure himself out. I’ve learned a ton in the few months I’ve been gone. If I do come back to Seattle, I’m equipped with more knowledge, experience, ability and want. No worries, folks. This isn’t the end, it’s just the next step.