Can We Survive Our Most Fucked Up Mistakes or Are We Haunted Forever
I made an awful decision almost eleven years ago.
I was in L.A. trying to erase the eight year mistake of moving to New York and believing that somehow I was talented and special enough to emerge with a triumphantly inspiring testimony.
Once I realized I had underestimated the crystallized snobbery of a city that thrives on the manna of the elite — I decided to run far away.
The West Coast seemed like a perfectly reasonable choice.
At thirty-one — I was not only young enough to salvage the years I had wasted — but I was also able to summon those rose-colored glasses as I peered into what I was hoping would be the end result of a road well-traveled.
L.A. received me with open arms but between my problematic nostalgia for the city of my discontent and my parents giving me heaps of grief for daring to live my life on my terms — there was no choice but to fuck it all up.
So I did.
I returned to New York after suffering the loss of a potential gig with the now defunct Style Network.
I convinced myself that despite the signs that pointed to me staying and fighting my way to the career of my dreams — I would be better off slumming it in New York.
So, I went back — a year and a half later, and yes — things absolutely did not get better.
I got a job at one of the most prestigious financial institutions in the country.
Despite having no experience in that realm — but months later I intimately discovered why one of the managers was so keen on making me his assistant.
Hustling in New York as a commoner is akin to being imprisoned for a crime you didn’t commit.
You’re stuck until a miracle happens. In the meantime — you avoid the lure of prematurely ending your misery.
You go above and beyond in order to prove that you are still humanely capable of being good to yourself.
I worked the 9 to 5 grind and spent what was left — nurturing my passion. It was a grueling act of love on my behalf but it was the only way to keep me sane and relatively content.
About three years ago, I finally had enough of the bullshit. The bank job had evolved into a full fledged asylum and there was nothing left to do except to break out.
I did just that but ended up in an even worse scenario. It seems the more prestigious the institution — the more fucked up the environment tends to be.
I was done.
I was going to be a full time writer. No more sacrificing my passion for the sake of stability. It was now or never.
I was giddy with excitement at my proactive epiphany and even penned my second piece for Medium with the renderings of my delightful news.
It was well-received — which convinced me even more that I was on the right track.
I stayed in New York for another year before I made the drastic move to New Orleans after a friend who I hadn’t seen in awhile convinced me to take the plunge.
Everyone thought I had lost my mind but I was so sure that I needed to be based in a city that would help fuel my imagination.
It was a disastrous affair — from start to finish.
She turned out to be a classically functioning hoarder and I ended up losing tons of weight as well as my damn mind.
I came back to New York five months later — disillusioned, confused and embarrassed.
I spent the year of 2015 — soaked in liquor and desperation as I pondered how in the righteous world, I was going to make it out of the hell I was in.
The good news is that I was certain — New York would never be my final resting place. I just had to figure out where to go.
It didn’t take me long to realize that Los Angeles was the only city that would receive me with open arms. Again.
I made it back.
And, yes — the City of Angels welcomed me back without prejudice or judgement.
The first couple of months saw me immersed in editorial bliss with a tech company based in Santa Monica.
Right after that — I was shelling out recaps and sneak peaks for the group over at ABC Digital.
I was finally on a roll. After years of toiling away for the sake of everyone but myself.
But the good stuff never lasts. And I wasn’t hired at ABC after my assignment ended.
No big deal! I’ll just get something else. Right? Wrong.
I haven’t been able to recover from my that damn mistake.
The awful choice I made to go back to the very thing that was obviously toxic enough to make me leave in the first place.
Now, I am still struggling to prove that even though I fucked up — I can bounce back without much scarring.
But what if I can’t. I do honestly wonder if perhaps some mistakes are too costly for us to ever pay back in full.
Maybe we spend the rest of our days making those payments because we overestimated what we could afford.
When you hit your forties — those rose-tinted glasses become disarmingly clear.
You begin to understand how life really works.
You had the chance to be astutely alert to save yourself from a lifetime of turmoil. And if you fail to adhere — you may never get back on track.
No matter what you do.
I’ve been trying in vain to play catch up. But being older and wiser doesn’t feel all that reassuring.
I just feel…older.
I will forever be haunted by the decision to forgo the endless possibilities in L.A. for the damp expectations in NYC.
I hope I’m wrong but as the years pile up optimism gives way to realism.
It was a fucked up mistake that is fucking me up now, and fighting it is all I can do.
After all — I have nothing but time.