Sunday, July 25, 2010

Packing Up and Throwing Away My Dreams

I've gone through various stages of clearing out my apartment over the last two years, knowing I would definitely be moving out next month. But the heavy lifting has really begun now, and I'm leafing through reminders of my old self - receipts and owner's manuals possessions I used to own, magazine clippings from places I wanted to go but never went, things I wanted to buy, and services I hoped one day I would need.

I'm throwing out (and recycling) as much as I can, and what remains gets sorted between 1) what I can pack and possibly store for an indefinite amount of time and 2) what I'm going to want to take with me.

Things like old tax forms are easy because you have to keep them for a few years, but you rarely have to reference them.

Others?
  • Travel file - merged over to digital bookmarks to go paperless.
  • Wedding file, a thin little black folder with scraps I've collected over the years, just in case - packed. I don't think I'll be needing it anytime soon, but I can't bear to throw it out.
  • Real estate file - packed. I can't believe it was only a couple of years ago that I actually thought I would buy an apartment in New York.
I'm sorry to have to give up on some dreams I had not too long ago. I'm sorry to remind myself of my failures: the Peace Corps rejection letter, the end of unemployment benefits notice, the headshots never sent, and the cover letters without replies, just to name a few.

I wonder what would have happened if I'd stayed in Syracuse to work at Media Play instead of moving to New York City without a job or apartment, in hopes of working in the music industry.

I wonder what would have happened if I'd taken the job offer at Tommy Boy in January 2002 instead of spending another eight months unemployed and saving myself for Razor & Tie.

I wonder what would have happened if I'd taken the job offer at 4Kids Entertainment in 2004 instead of leveraging it for a promotion, assistant, office, and raise at Razor & Tie and spending another four and a half years there.

I wonder what would have happened if I'd stayed at Razor & Tie in January 2009 and rode it out for another few months instead of throwing caution to the wind and quitting, with only four months' worth of savings and no prospects?

Every other decision I've made since then is unquestionable. Instead of going to Central Asia to teach English, I went to Joshua Tree to write. Instead of commuting daily to an office job that exhausted me for the night, I hiked forests, mountains, deserts and rivers. Instead of closing my office door and refusing to answer the phone, I opened up my heart and mind and found a way to love and be loved again.

I'm no closer to finding a job or establishing a real consulting business (whatever that means) than I was a year and a half ago, but I'm choosing my own projects, working with people I actually like and respect, and making money for myself. I'm not helping mankind yet but I'm working on it.

I just have to sort through which dreams are worth keeping - worth pursuing - and which ones I should finally just give up on...

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