Now that we've reached November, and we're also nearing the end of the year, I feel very much like a chapter of my life is closing. One year ago I became single, and slowly started down this confusing new path in my life. Come February, I'll have placed a year between my moving out of my ex's, and getting my own place. Next year will mark the start of my 7th year, since moving away from home. And I begin that 7th year with a fresh slate - as a single albeit uncertain man.
Twenty-Sixteen was a rough and sobering time. I spent much of the year coming to terms with, quite simply put, "the way things are presently". I think the simple realization I had was that I'm not entirely happy with where I am presently at with my life, and that I would like to do better... Yet at the same time, I'm not fond of starting over and taking risks. I saw the ugly sides of myself re-emerge many times over the past couple of months, and I don't feel like I've emerged from this part of my life yet. Perhaps there is much to learn before I can say I'm not this person I am now.
It would be great if I could be more independent, but I feel like mastering some of that self-control and discipline isn't coming easy. Though it would be great if I hadn't gone to college and given myself that new added expense, I realize I can't really take it back. Either way, I've been playing tug-of-war with my credit card payments since before all of that - it's clear that I've never managed things as well as I would have liked. My disappointments in people, women, and my own short-comings as well as things I can't change... It really has become much more personal for me this year.
When I think back to circa late 2009, I was probably not in a very great frame of mind then, either. I was unhappy with the disappointments of the real world, and how complicated things are once you're actually working and trying to do something that matters, when you figured it should all be much simpler.
I was eager to leave behind my failures and unhappiness back home, and to start anew. And, realizing that I had high standards that this imperfect world just can't live up to, I lowered my standards a lot... And accepted that maybe I needed to meet life halfway.
For the most part, I think that realization was the catalyst that changed my life and brought me to where I'm at now. I had to burst that bubble and accept things as they are to move on, otherwise I'd still be holding out for some perfect job, and some perfect friendship; some perfect life and some perfect woman. And those things just never would have come along. It was difficult for me, but once I gave in and accepted that I wasn't perfect, it made it easier to relate to people.
Of course, I overlooked things. We always do.
Sometimes it's possible that we give up too much of that dream. There are things we are passionate about, or that we strive for. There is a better version of ourselves that we all want to be, and sometimes we lose sight of that. I got used to feeling like I constantly had to stand down, and stay put. When nothing is perfect, you just kind of take what you get. You lower your self-value, and never think that maybe you could be capable of more, or deserve more. It becomes even more frustrating when people who don't seem like they deserve things are frequently successful and get the things you want. It becomes agony whenever you start to question whether you are doing enough to deserve even what you have.
Sources of motivation and inspiration can be difficult to find, or even to remember. Often they are fleeting, or are things which we don't give enough thought to, or don't notice right away. Every once in a while it's as simple as seeing a really good movie that sticks with you. It could be something as complex as this inkling of a feeling you got from a random subconscious thought.
I'm not sure if my inspiration or motivation is as clear-cut as some living muse or role-model. Maybe it's just a broader collection of the things I like, that give me a lot of those inspirational feelings. I think in some way we are our own muse, since we are the ones that interpret this idea in our own unique way, and create our own things from it.
Not really sure what got me on this subject. I suppose it's because I've been thinking about drawing lately, which at one time I kind of enjoyed. Drawing and coming up with stories and things. That, and I have really been embracing music listening.
I guess once upon a time, my main muse was animation - a lot of the really creative cartoons and comics and things that existed up to the time of my childhood. As far back as such wild classics as Felix the Cat, as mainstream as Hanna-Barbera, as cult as Bone, and as original as Herge.
I grew up with what I still consider to be one of the greatest times in the history of cartoons. Early to late 90's saw many original and innovative cartoons come along, as well as continued broadcasts of many great 80's action shows. It was a good time to be a kid. And towards the advent of the Millennium, East met West with the growth in popularity of Anime outside of Japan.
Between FOX Kids, Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, Cartoon Network, and all of the big networks that showed Saturday-morning and after-school cartoons, it was a very creative time for animation. It was also a time when many intellectually-engaging cartoons were made that carried jokes and references that translated over well to the adult demographic as well as children. Some... Even had morals, or a heart.
Animation changed a lot as traditional hand-drawn cells were abandoned in favor of computer animation. It reached many new and creative heights with various art styles - MTV's Cartoon-Sushi programming series comes to mind - and touched on political-correctness and social commentary with shows like South Park.
Though I feel like we kind of got back to that sort of uniqueness in recent times with shows like Adventure Time, Gravity Falls, Steven Universe and Rick & Morty, among others, I think we will never really have another era with the likes of Dexter's Lab, Captain Planet or Tiny Toons.
In middle school and high school, I had fully embraced anime throughout my teenage years. I think a real aha moment came later on, towards the middle of high school, when I discovered Megatokyo. The webcomic post format, the sketch-like drawings, and the unrealistic humor juxtaposed with inner-turmoil and depression really invigorated the child cartoonist within me.
For a time, I felt like I could make my own comics and gain an audience for them online. Maybe such a thing is still a possibility. Maybe I could even make an animated web-series, or something entirely different. A game? A series of novels? A TV show?
I still haven't stuck with it. Though on occasion, the creative bug bites me and I'm excited about some new idea or concept.
So I guess the thing I'm still uncertain of (and the thing that is actually literally keeping me awake today), is whether I should keep going with my life here, or move away and try something else.
It's true, not a lot has me tied to the place I've lived for the past 6 years... But I have put so much time into learning where things are here, and all of my important connections have my current address and phone number. It would be difficult to uproot. And, not to mention, I would miss the friends I have made here. Even my ex, who was still a major part of the last couple years of my life.
Moving back is such a difficult prospect for me because of the feelings that I would be back-peddling. It would be great because I would be closer to my family, but I would have to learn things all over again. It would be difficult to let go of the things I have that I can do here. But then, maybe it would be more affordable and less risky.
Just thinking back to high school, when I still had dreams of accomplishing something with my life... Even with my lofty goals, I had lofty goals that I was passionate about and that meant something to me. Were they attainable? Probably not. Not in the way I hoped they would have been. I overlooked simple hurdles that existed, such as my social awkwardness and lack of high grades. I didn't know what life outside of school was like yet at that point, and didn't realize how complicated even simple things are to me.
...But I would have felt great if even some parts of those puzzles fell into place. Maybe I was never going to move to Japan or Seattle. But maybe I could have been a little more like that person I wanted to be, and gotten some of the things I really wanted - like women, or a foot in the door with some industry a bit closer to my heart than retail.
If you don't have a plan and take no action, you won't attain anything. If you put some effort towards getting somewhere, maybe you will.
As I conclude this rather lengthy and personal blog entry, and try to fathom exactly what the main over-arching point was among it all, I realize I've spent a lot of time at work on this now.
I guess I'd say, from my own experience of being myself, that the main point is this:
Part of me has been hoping lately that I would meet someone new, and that would propel me to move on to the next stage of my life. The thing is, I don't think anybody wants you whenever you aren't sure what you want. I don't know if that's the only reason why women aren't interested in me, but I am thinking it's a big part of it. You can't really be open to meeting different kinds of people - they want to hear that you're looking for something specific. Otherwise, they don't feel special if any girl could fill that role. As selfish as that might be, maybe there is something to it. It would mean a lot more if I met a woman who is what I'm really looking for, who has a lot of the qualities I'm searching for, as opposed to a woman who I try to find qualities I can appreciate inside of.
For now all I can do is see how these next couple of months go, to determine if I should give this at least another year. But if it becomes clear that this is just a dead-end for me, then I'll only be wasting my own time if I overstay my welcome...