I don’t know why you are reading this Yet-Another-End-of-the-Year blog post, but I know why I am typing it. I need to type it because I need to think about it, and these days, the two have become the same thing (more on that later). I’ve been inspired by Chris Gonzales, and Matt Alexander to put finger to character. 2012, and 2013, were not especially good years for me. I don’t want to dwell on the negatives, but there were two events that shaped each of those years. I was laid off (that’s both of them). It is a very dramatic way to put it though because I was hired back both times. The revelation is that my work has become almost seasonal. It was always project based, but It was nearly seven years before I experienced the first layoff, and a year later I experienced the second. I am currently working, so don’t get too sad. It does appear it will happen in 2014 as well, and the cycle will repeat.
As a result of this, I find myself preoccupied with who I am outside of the work that I do. If I have only my work to define me, then I’ve been a nobody for 6 months of the last 24. Working hard doesn’t make me a better person, just more employable. Now it doesn’t spare me from being an unemployed “nobody”. There are still people that choose to measure me in that way, during those times. “Are you looking?” They’ll ask. “Have you considered…?” They’ll offer. To them, work is who you are, and who you are is your work, so you aren’t a person if you aren’t currently working.
In 2013, I did a much better job handling the “time off” than I did in 2012. In 2014, I’d like to think I will improve further in this area. Nothing bad happened to me in 2012, or 2013, as a result of it. Lack of a current job doesn’t mean I am not a person that’s doing well, in the grand scheme of things.
There have also been positive events that have come about because of my unemployment this year. I had been using work as an excuse to procrastinate telling my family about someone that’s been integral to my life for four years. July 2013 was that four year mark. It is now something I don’t need to deal with in 2014, at year five.
2013 was also the year I started exploring interests in a semi-productive way. I finally started work on a novel I had been kicking around in my head. It is languishing now, at the end of the year, but at least it’s been started. At least I stopped using the excuse that I would procrastinate as a justification not to begin. A constant problem for me, no matter the year.
My love of film flamed out a bit over the last few years. It was rekindled this past year in the oddest way, through podcast reviews I wrote on the iTunes Store. Podcasts are things my friend Jason tried to get me in to for many years, and I kept complaining that I didn’t have time, and couldn’t listen while I worked. I started to find time in 2011, and listened all through 2012 to one of the greatest podcasts of all time, Hypercritical (RIP), but it wasn’t until 2013 that I realized I was hooked on hearing these people talk in my ear every week. It doesn’t even matter what they talk about, most of the time, I enjoy the company (I am not lonely, see the fourth paragraph.)
I posted before about how much fun it was to write the podcast reviews this year. It really has turned out to be a highlight of 2013, which is very peculiar since they obviously don’t earn me any money. It’s a silly hobby, but it is creatively fulfilling in a bizarre way that I was totally unprepared for. The idea of writing what amounts to a very, short film for an audio-only podcast, let alone several short films for several audio-only podcasts, is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever done. Particularly the 42 page one that was done on a dare.
The podcasters that have contacted me have been nothing but kind, even though they didn’t even need to say anything at all. I don’t dismiss their graciousness in the least. Zac and Andrew are great fun, especially. Myke and Matt have been very encouraging along the way as well.
This culminated with Andrew asking to interview me for his daily podcast program. I was caught off guard, and I politely indicated that it would be a bad idea. Who am I to go on a podcast? I wound up doing it, and I’m not sorry I did. It was scary though, seeing the tweets come in, to have “followers” from what amounts to rambling. I don’t see what I have to offer them, but there they are. I keep feeling like I should apologize for being mentioned anywhere. Andrew even talked about me in a “thank you” episode along with all these important people. I’m pretty sure I blushed, but I didn’t check in a mirror.
There is no way to “pivot” this Terrible Podcast Screenplay Tumblr in to a job, and I would be sleaze if I did, but perhaps it has made me think that I might be able to find a creative outlet for these repressed interests.
Strangely, I am also learning through this process about writing screenplays; something I didn’t think I would be doing in 2013, let alone 2014. My degree is in fine arts, computer animation for god’s sake. I’m no writer, but maybe I can learn, keep learning.
Towards the end of this year, my interest in film consumption has risen. Like someone stricken by food poisoning, I’m finding an appetite again (sorry, but it’s a perfect metaphor).
One of my favorite things I’ve seen all year is Europa Report. It isn’t technically amazing, like Gravity, but it has an honest, independent heart to it. A small production putting together a tight, well-executed film. Independence is something I want to think on further next year.
2012 was the year I lost my job for the first time. 2013 is not the year I lost my job a second time, it is the year I found out my job didn’t define, or limit me. Here’s to whatever 2014 holds, cin cin!