“We should hang out more! Let me know when you’re back in town!”
How did something so endearing make me feel so awkward?
I was already back “in town” from Atlanta, and I’d been back for a year. That’s how.
Most highschool graduates pursue college or work as a way to move away from home. My motivation to attend college didn’t kick in until the summer before my senior year. After living with my dad for a school year, I packed enough things for a weekend and never returned. All of my clothes and photo albums were going to stay there…without me. With very little privacy and even less space, I was happy to be reunited with my sister. But reality reappeared when I started to see what life would be like if I didn’t start supporting myself: dramatic and depressing.
In my mind, college was the only realistic way out. I took my SATs in October of my senior year, and didn’t officially choose a college until April 2016. Needless to say, I had a late start.
This was my first poorly planned escape, but it wouldn’t be my last…
Fast forward 8 years later. To avoid confusing anyone reading this, and myself while writing, here’s a timeline.
- Hit my version of rock bottom in Charleston, and took a hiatus in Columbia.
- Visited Donni in Atlanta, and started applying for jobs after falling in love with the Food Truck Park.
- Applied and interviewed for jobs. (FYI: I did 4 rounds of interviews with one company, and they didn’t have the decency to tell me I didn’t get the job. No email. No text. No nothing.)
- Moved to Atlanta with $11, and a plan that included sketchy social media clients.
- Continued applying and interviewing for jobs.
- Took on a new client who wanted instant results. I knew our styles weren’t a good match, but it paid my rent.
- Settled and stopped applying for jobs.
- Joined the 27 Club.
- Finally started making enough dough to pay the bills and have a little fun. Life is great!
- Ended freelance contract with a client I worked with for over year. Well, I assumed it ended. He stopped responding to my calls, texts and emails. Oh yeah, and he stopped paying me.
- Doesn’t renew 3-month contract with “get rich quick” client. Another client abruptly ends contract due to “unforeseen circumstances”.
- Started accepting monetary and food donations from my sisters.
- Initiated panic mode.
- Began applying for jobs again.
- Gets hired at pizza place in hopes of being able to pay April and May’s rent.
- Pizza place catches on fire the day before my first official shift, and has to close for 2 weeks.
- Moved back to Charleston with $9.
Clearly, I was the problem. ? Those clients did what I allowed them to do. Lesson learned. Dwelling on my series of unfortunate events, reminded me of one very important thing: no matter how many people contributed to my failed attempts to in life–I’m responsible for myself.
5 Ways to Move Forward After Failure
(Also known as: 5 ways to avoid living an unnecessary stressful life like Ace)
1. Cut the pity party short. Staying in your feelings for too long can result in rapid weight gain and increased irritability–so I’ve heard.
2. Save money. Although your pity party may involve a lot of Netflix and hiding from human interaction, it may also involve wild nights out and retail therapy. Ballin’ on a budget is a major key. Before you know it, a year will go by and you’ll start calculating all the dinner dates you should’ve skipped to make a down payment on an apartment.
3. Make a plan, and write it down. I (kind of) had a plan after leaving Atlanta, but it relied too much on other people’s actions. Ask yourself: How am I going to make my next move less stressful? What needs to be done to avoid this crap from happening again? Once you find the answers, set an action plan. Examples: Submit 10 applications per week. Save $100 per month.
4. Connect. Reach out to old friends who put you in good spirits or inspire you…not the ones who contribute to you going backwards.
5. Hang in there. It may not feel like it at the time, but things could always be worse. Just try to stay positive while working towards those goals.
Has life thrown a few curveballs your way? What did you do to move forward?