The 54th Deadline: Life often forces some pressure your way to encourage immediate action.
More than five years ago, I was a loser by all means. I never would admit to it back then, but one could call me that now and I wouldn’t get mad at them for it.
That’s what I was. A loser. A bonafide loser. But that doesn’t mean I had to remain one. That’s the key. You can always change.
I was a new college grad, unemployed, just sleeping on a mattress in my parents’ basement. My laptop, my salvation at the time, sat on the desk where the old sewing machine used to be.
Every day, it was often the same routine with little variation.
I woke up. I got ready and all of that jazz. I then parked my butt in front of my laptop. At first, I was genuinely productive for a long while. I applied to many job listings that matched my degree. Granted, that was a rough time to attempt becoming a journalist, let alone getting some small gig to tide me over.
Things are always hard when you’re starting out, after all. The journalism job market at the time was sketchy and very unfriendly toward a lot of new people trying to get their journalism feet wet.
Anyway, the initial months were a constant blur of monotony. I took the summer off to “recharge” from my senior year in college, but the truth is I had a lot of built-up depression systems that lingered after college graduation. I was just in major denial of it.
Regardless, I was hellbent on getting my dream job after summer. I applied and applied, and most of my replies seemed rather pointless. I felt like I was wasting my time, but I knew I still had to apply with some semblance of a chance that things would pan out the way I had wanted.
But what was I to do in the meantime? Because I was so thoroughly weary and exhausted by the time my senior year of college ended, I did in fact needed the rest. So I passed the time mostly on my computer, wasting away hours upon hours while I hoped my “feelers” as you would call them were supposedly working their magic.
I played a lot of video games. An unhealthy amount, no less. I just played a LOT of video games. So many hours. So unproductive.
Alas, I wish my resumes could have told me somehow that their searches were to no avail. Potential employers don’t have to tell you they passed on you. Heck no. Most just ignore you. It’s like you never sent anything to them at all. You become just another blip on their radar they don’t notice. Another message in their inbox they might as well put in the spam folder.
Unless you had a gleaming resume or prior connections, many college grads were basically screwed. I was no different. Unfortunately, I should have known how ill-prepared I was to face the real world at the time.
It would take about two months after summer before I got my first real interview for a potential job, but that’s a different story I have discussed before way in the past. That led to a lot of terrible things for me personally, which added further self-destruction to my name as that particular series of events unfolded.
I might touch up on that later, but for now I want to focus on the notion of “pressure” and why I need it more than anything else in my life at the moment.
Pressure would have stopped a lot of the emotional bleeding I was hemorrhaging left and right at the time. And what I mean by that is rather simple.
In short, I needed someone to get on my case. Kick my ass. Whatever you wanted to call it.
I needed something to pressure me toward doing what needed to be done.
Instead, I let myself get enabled. And I am extremely guilty of such a lame tragedy.
My parents, God bless them, didn’t want to charge me rent or anything. They knew I was going through a lot, so making me pay rent could have utterly destroyed me when I was not even on my feet just yet as an adult.
However, this in turn allowed me to skid out of control. Without the fear of rent, I continued for a year and half total where I did not have a job to my name. I went through a day-by-day process just hoping for that dream job to leave that ideal email for me to open up with glee. I prayed my phone would chime with tunes of, “We’re hiring you for this great job!” would magically happen during a fateful afternoon.
For what it’s worth, I did experience a bit of my dad getting super annoyed at me for not finding a job, and he did yell at me a couple of times. Granted, I was horribly pathetic and did not take those incidents well at all.
I hid away and thought my dad was being a bad guy. In reality, he was just trying to invoke some of that pressure I really needed. Instead, I cowered away from it all and tried to justify my current suffering at the time.
And in addition, a lot of those incidents with my dad stemmed from the mood swings he and I both share. Man, it’s awkward having your own father coming home one day with food and being really nice versus him coming home the next day to cuss me out for half an hour or longer.
Mood swings. Heh. They’re unpredictable sometimes.
But gosh, I was just a wreck back then. A mess. A disaster.
I eventually sunk into a deeper depression. I lost a lot of friends. I lost sight of myself. I lost sight of what I wanted in life.
I was falling apart in more ways than one. And this was all because I did not have the right pressure to force me into making the gumption-packed moves that would have brought some sense of stability.
I would have been able to find a random job to keep myself sane. Heck, I would have stocked shelves for a year at Walmart if I needed to if that is what it would take if I could go back in time.
I realize now I was too weak. I was too frail to understand how having a lack of ideal pressure was ruining my well-being.
And of course, the major silver lining to all of this is how I wouldn’t be here today without all of the bad stuff happening. I have to remind myself this every day. I have in fact come a long way in more ways than one.
Still, I can’t help but wonder how things would have turned out if I just had the right pressure sent my way at critical moments before the whole train got derailed.
Pressure in itself is scary. I am not gonna lie. It’s scary. As someone who has had social anxiety since he was a kid, I have not dealt with pressure well for most of my life.
I just perceived the regular pressure, as in getting a job or whatever, as something even worse than social anxiety. I just kept thinking of it as something I couldn’t handle. And that’s the thing about life. Pressure is constantly going to be in your face for a variety of situations.
It’s not like you go through life pressure-free. Quite the contrary. The ones who succeed are the ones who face the pressure and overcome it to do great things.
But I have gotten tougher over the years in the midst of new pressures throughout this personal journey. I would in fact go back and kick my own ass if I would have known how much of a wimp I was going to turn out for that dreaded year and a half. I am embarrassed that happened, but I am stronger because of it.
Sigh, but that’s life for you.
For now, I need something or someone (or perhaps a combination of the two) to pressure me so I don’t lose my pace. I don’t want to become content with how things are going. I want something to light that fire underneath me to make sure I stay diligent and focused.
When you feel the pressure of experiencing some sort of consequence if you slack off, it should motivate you to be better. At least, that’s what my reasoning is.
Pressure is the necessity I desperately need right now.
“RTN!” – Nhan Fiction
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