I am writing this from a comfy hospital-type bed in a medical research facility where I am spending the second of 5 weekends as a human guinea pig. The first weekend wasn’t all that bad really. Lots of sleeping (insane amounts in fact), playing on the laptop (with wi-fi internet), etc. interspersed with getting poked by needles, which actually wasn’t as bad as I thought. While I don’t know that I would call this “easy” money, it’s certainly easier than I was expecting, especially since Larry (friend and roommate to Jess and I) is in the adjacent bed to me so it’s kind of like two good buddies hanging out in a cushy medical facility for the weekend. Most importantly it’s pretty big bucks. This week we bought Nintendo DS Lite portable hand held video game systems for me, Larry and Jess. You can actually play games together using wireless connectivity between units. That should make this weekend even more interesting.
On Thursday I did my weekly duties handling odd jobs at the company where I used to have a very good job (and where Jess still works). Ever since I started doing this it’s been very strange for me. It’s odd going back there in this capacity. It kind of opens the old wounds, but at least it’s some steady cash each week as I try to get my life of freelancing in order. Since my layoff I’ve done two production assistant jobs in Dallas, plus a few other miscellaneous odd jobs in addition to my one day a week as handyman at my former company and am still collecting unemployment. Somehow, it’s a few months later and we still have all the bills paid and money in the bank.
Every week when I go back to the company, it naturally puts me in a thinking mood. I do miss my job in many ways. It was a good job. So much so that I never would have quit to pursue any of my crazy dreams. In that respect, the lay offs may have been one of the best things that could happen. When it all went down, I kept thinking that I should have felt more upset or worried about it, and yet I wasn’t really. I just felt like now was the time to put all my efforts into the things I really wanted to be doing. I’ve been putting together my acting package with headshots, resume, demo reel, and other marketing materials preparing to make the assault and try to get an agent. I’ve been trying further my production assistant career with the help of my uncle who is in the industry. I have as many irons in as many fires as I can.
In many ways it feels great and I feel like maybe I can somehow make this all work somehow, but there is always the other side; the fear, the uncertainty, the doubt. There is the roller coaster of being determined to make this happen and then the next week doubting my sanity and thinking I should start trying to get another “normal” job, hopefully still in the video game industry.
If my former company offered me my job back, it would be one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. As I said, I do miss my job and the company, the people, the industry, etc., but on the other hand, while it may have been one of the best steady jobs I could ask for, it would never truly be my passion. Every time I do anything entertainment related be it acting, working as a P.A., or even as an extra, I know that it’s where my heart is. That is the world I belong in. So I often find myself torn. Torn between my wild eyed dreams and desires which may never happen and my longing for old job within the “machine” (“the machine” being the societal norm of a normal, steady, standard hours job with benefits and all that), because while it may have been part of “the machine” it was about as good a part as anyone could ask for.
Of course it would be better if I could succeed on my own terms, making my own hours, playing music, acting, working on films, working my way up to better positions and a steady career in film (as steady as film careers can be, anyway) but I just often wonder of that’s really possible. Would I rather face the hard road of reality, or just take the pill and have a happy life within The Matrix? Sometimes, I’m not sure. Well I guess that’s not really true. I know which I’d rather have, but you get weary and think that maybe the more secure life wasn’t so bad. Good money, good job, good company, good people.
Don’t get me wrong, my life is great right now. I found myself sitting on a restaurant patio the other day with Larry, enjoying the breeze, looking forward to a tasty burrito and an afternoon of video games, living life on my own terms and thinking “Wow, I’ve really got a great life.” I just hope this miracle continues and I don’t find it all crashing down around me in the near future with an empty bank account and a dump truck full of worry unloading itself on my door step. At least I can focus 100% of my energy towards my goals without “the machine” getting in the way. I guess no matter what road you choose, you wonder if maybe you should have taken the other road. Life is hard.