I am very happy with my life. I have a great job at a really creative artsy place, I have my own business, I have my health, and I have a wonderful girlfriend. I am looking forward to more great things in my life; I want to travel, I want to buy a house at some time in the future, and I want a family. I am so looking forward to having children, having a yard, having a simple but comfortable life.
Despite all of the good things I have in my life and the good things yet to come, I am not happy. I have found myself in a severe state of stress and continual struggle. I need to explain things to you a little, so you can see where I am coming from.
In November my girlfriend and I moved to California for her career; she studied audio recording and we both knew that the big higher paying jobs in audio only exist out in Los Angeles. It was a long shot but we packed up our car and headed West. I was scared shitless we would both be left searching for meaningful jobs for a good two years, in which time we would find ourselves broke and have to head back to Michigan tails between our legs in shame. I was gladly proven wrong, and soon I had a job working as a Print Production Specialist with large format UV printers and she had landed a job working for Live Audio for Television,.. one of those awesome big money paying jobs. We were able to move into a small apartment and support ourselves. It wasn’t a lot, but we could afford to actually live.
Sadly the audio job went south. Hollywood for those of you who don’t know more about it past the glamourous faces and seemingly effortless ease of celebrity rockstar lifestyle may be in for a rude awakening. Hollywood has an extremely ugly face. People will stab each other in the back to make an extra dollar. If someone doesn’t like the way you wipe their ass, you better get it right or they throw you out. From my own experiences with Los Angeles and now my girlfriend’s job in a different aspect of the industry we had both seen enough. We don’t want to grow up making gobs of money just to have our souls ripped out by assholes in Bentleys. Every time I hear someone say,”I’m moving to Los Angeles, I’m going to make it big!” I cringe a little, knowing that 1. this person has no idea what they are signing up for, and 2. If they do make it big, they may never be the same person that they were when they left.
The stress, the politics, the two-faced Hollywood snake monster that eats it’s own shit on a regular basis; they got to us. We moved back to Michigan, but thankfully of our own free will and not because we were forced to by financial reasons. Luckily my old artsy crafty job (as mentioned above) hired me back and actually gave me a raise! My girlfriend reassessed her love for audio along with the entertainment industry in general and decided pets and dogs are much better work companions and got herself a job as well.
Despite this turn of luck we can not live on what we make. The price of gas alone kills us in the daily commute, and rent is not even an option at this point. We are stressed beyond stress, and we both aren’t even close to what is considered minimum wage.
Our bills are outweighing our income, which is a lovely model the U.S. government has adopted by the way, and we can’t really afford to drop off any expenses. Our car payments and car insurance combine to form the biggest expense we have, and to take that out of the equation isn’t an option. The car is essential, it gets you to the job,.. that pays for the damn car. Healthcare,.. I can’t afford it anyway so I’m probably not going to get it despite the obvious importance of having it. Food, a daily expense that adds up to a lot over time, is hit or miss. Eat well today and you’re probably going to go hungry tomorrow and that’s the sad reality (despite this truth, we have chosen not to eat McDonalds. Horrible horrible crap to put in your body, I don’t care how cheap it is).
The solution everyone presents is to look for another higher paying job and I agree. I’m searching and searching, like many other people in this country are right now, for that messiah job that will pull me out of the darkness. Get a better degree has also been mentioned as a simple solution, but according to the risk-assment calculator located in my gut the possibility of finding a better job with simply a degree is simply not guaranteed, (unlike the massive student debt you ream when choosing to go back to school. That will be there for you!). The other option is to cut costs, which I have heard from numerous people. I want someone to draw me a budget of how one would drain $1 out of 50 cents, because that’s kind of where I am finding myself at this point. It’s not a debate about budgeting, but simply a calculation of imaginary numbers. They don’t fucking exist.
I understand the importance of making a living; and that is the worst aspect of this whole dilemma. I want to work! I want to support myself! I absolutely don’t want a handout from anyone. The feeling I have at the end of the day is not a sense of pity over what I need, it’s just anger and embarrassment. I have found a job in my career that I enjoy and I can’t even stand on my own two feet financially.
Again, I am happy with my life and the people I have in it. I don’t want money to dictate how i live my life and my measure of happiness, but whenever I am on my way to work I see a billboard that kind of puts in perspective for me. There’s a kid on the bleachers watching other kids play basketball,.. and in big orange letters it reads,”Summer isn’t fun when you’re hungry”. I am hoping that by expressing my own embarrassment and angry about this subject that more people will speak up and realize they aren’t alone. I think a lot of people have these same feelings and are too ashamed to talk about it.
But how can we solve a problem unless we admit its a problem?
Where do I find myself with my hopes for the future given the state of the present? There’s nothing to look forward to. The house isn’t there, the kids aren’t there. Certainly no room for a dog at all. You can’t really afford to travel or see the world either. Where does the country find itself if our dreams aren’t accessible? Probably in a very poor state, and I hardly want to stick around if I’m continuing to live like this.
Sure, you could say,”get a better job, quit your bitching” like so many other people have said before. I’m not bitching. I want to work, I want to make myself proud and earn everything good.
Just show me where that fair chance to make it is.