Why oh why didn't I go to med school?...and some other thoughts.

Last week I officially decided to leave the "thriving" metropolis of Columbus and return to my old, broken down stomping ground of Dayton, Ohio - or somewhere in that area. I've been vacillating between staying in Columbus and moving back for a few months but ,ultimately, the desire to be closer to friends and not be alone and miserable all the time won out.

Now that I've made up my mind to move I'm faced with the unenviable task of finding work in one of Forbes Magazine's Top 10 Fastest Dying Cities. It's not that there are no jobs in Dayton mind you. More accurately, there don't seem to be any good jobs in Dayton...especially for someone with my particular skill set. Every job listing I find advertises a "competitive salary" but the pay they are offering hovers around $10 -$11 an hour. How is that competitive? Dayton's average income is $27,000 a year for a single person household. At $11 an hour I'd be making less than $23,000 a year before taxes. A single person CANNOT live comfortably on that wage, especially if they have any kind of debt. You can get by but you're going to have no savings to fall back on and any sort of unforeseen event like a dropped transmission or hospital stay is going to ruin you.

I've only been looking for work for a week but I'm already starting to get frustrated. I've applied for every "professional" job I can find that might pay a decent wage but I haven't heard back from any of them yet. The only things left to apply for are the aforementioned low paying jobs. I keep telling myself that eventually I'll find something, but I'm feeling really impatient lately. I just want to pack up and get out of Dodge as soon as possible.

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On a different (related?) note: Do you, dear readers, think it's possible to make so many bad decisions that you effectively end your chances of ever accomplishing any of your goals? Sometimes I think it is and that I've put myself in that position. But then I remember that I've spent much of my adult life being a pessimist about everything and that's the reason I'm not where I want to be as an almost 31-year-old man. It's easier to always assume the worst about everything because it gives you an excuse to be lazy and not try to achieve anything.

I think I'm done being lazy though. For a long time I've had this strong urge to leave some sort of tangible mark on the world; something that will remain after I die and say , "Look, Shayne wasn't a total failure." (I suspect this urge probably has at least a little to do with the biological need to procreate, just manifested in a different way.) But, up until fairly recently, I've been unsure of what I was supposed to be doing with myself. In addition, I lacked the drive to try and accomplish anything even if I had known. Things have been getting clearer and clearer though. I'm coming out the ass-end of the worst two years of my life so far and the realization that at least some of that crappiness was my fault has really been a wake-up call.

I haven't gotten things completely figured out yet but I do know I want to make a career of writing. I don't know how that's going to happen or even if I'm actually a decent writer but I can take more classes if need be and I can continue plugging away in Microsoft Word. Eventually something will come out that someone is going to pay me for - a million monkeys and all that. In the past I'd often felt like I was slamming myself into a creative wall over and over again. I still feel that way sometimes but now, instead of giving up, I'm determined to keep slamming into it until it gives way. Or until I pass through it without harming the wall or myself (gotta love theoretical physics)...

Shayne

Comments

Tim Mathis said…
"Do you, dear readers, think it's possible to make so many bad decisions that you effectively end your chances of ever accomplishing any of your goals?"

I guess it depends on what your goals are. If you wanted to be the first black president, you totally screwed it up. However, 30 is the new 15, and if you just want to leave something behind, you've still got plenty of time before that one's screwed up. If you want to marry a sugarmomma who will make all of your worries go away, (like me) there's always time for that. Or you could, as you say, just procreate well into your twilight years.

I don't know if this helps, but they say to write what you know. I was never able to get past about page 8 of anything creative or useful to society, so I basically started writing a memoir and trying to make it funny, interesting and readable. It's on page 90 with no real end in sight, and I'm finding it to at least be cathartic and a good writing exercise. You figure out your voice, and you figure out if you have anything to say as you go along. Whether anything will come of it, who knows.

And can you keep your present job and shift it to Dayton as a buffer?
Shayne Mathis said…
I could stay at Medco but I'd have to commute to Columbus which is out of the question. I may just get a full time job somewhere and work nights part time somewhere else. I'd rather get a roommate but I don't know anyone that needs one right now. I should probably just not have moved to Columbus in the first place but there's not much I can do about that now.

I think my biggest problem with writing is that I have trouble composing my thoughts long enough to get something down on paper. Then, when I do, it's just really odd: I've been trying to write something like a cross between those old pulp adventure stories and an autobiography and it's just really weird. In the process of brain storming I got this idea that it would be funny to have a mixed martial arts death match between myself and Frankenstein at one point. There is also time travel and wizards in there somewhere. I think it's funny but then again I'm weird.
wes said…
Sometimes you just have to make some sacrifices to get by. Like switching from subscription to free porn. $11 seems reasonable for starting pay. I used to make $7.50/hr as a cook, and I saved about $400/month. That means I lived on about $560/month. I don't know too many people that are willing (or able) to choose to live on less than $7000/year.
Tim Mathis said…
The best thing I've heard from artist friends about art is that you just have to do it. If you're worried about selling it or making a living on it, you won't be able to. Just let it come out and see where the chips fall, then worry about marketing it. Artists that make any money at all are a lucky few, and generally not well paid. Still, it's nice to create something to leave behind, even if it isn't widely appreciated.

Journalistic writing I'd guess is a bit different. And, of course, there's the old Twain saying that only a fool writes for any reason but money. What do I know?

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