Our dirt bikes bring all the boys to the yard. Damn right, they're better than yours.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

My last day as a 20-something

My god, was that ever hard to write. My. Last. Day. As. A. 20. Year. Old.
For those of you who didn't know, or had no reason to care, Thursday, May 18 is the last day of my third decade. The last age I'll have a 2 in the tens digit (barring fantastic advances in medical technology in the next ... let's say... three years, I doubt I'll be hitting 120...). My final chance to do things that 30-year olds (yuck) just don't do. And what am I going to do? So far, I don't think it's going to be exciting.
Because of my living arrangements, I won't have use of my car.
Because of my financial situation, I will not be travelling.
Because of health reasons, I'll be spending part of it at a doctor's office.
Because of a general malaise, I'll probably not really enjoy it.
I found myself almost crying on the way home from my girlfriend's house today. She made me realise that yes, today already was the last day of my 20s. And sure, this has happened to a few people in history, but, I'm sure that most of them had something to show for their 30 years, be it a job, or (gasp) a career, or, perhaps, a wife or kids or a car they got to drive, or a house. God! A house! What I would do! Painting! Nesting! Gardening! Inviting! Cooking! Hosting! Screaming at the top of my lungs at 4:00a.m. without retribution. Can you imagine?
You see, I am getting old, even if it's just mental. I do want some of that junk. I'm tired of paying asshole after asshole more than 50 per cent of my salary for the right to live somewhere where I have no control over anything, and don't get $10,000, or even $5,000, worth of equity for paying $12,000 a year in rent. What the fuck, or "WTF," as the kids are saying.
But for that, I need a job. I'm so tired of being "overqualified" here in Nova Scotia. I want a job. I don't care if I'm overqualified. I'll still do it. I had an interview at the weekly newspaper in town, and I made their eyes bug out when I gave them an example of one time I showed initiative in a time of newspaper crisis. I was applying to be a copy editor; in reality, I should have been applying to be editor-in-chief. But I would have been chief toilet-licker if they'd just pay me $1000 a month.
I should just pack up and say goodbye to the no-job coast. I like it here, but I think, for my own sake, and the sake of my gradually eroding sanity, it might make sense to get out of here. Any money I save, I end up spending to fly back to Alberta for family events, so it might make sense to move there, make money, keep it, buy a house there, live there, get all that other stuff, be bored, watch sprawl and urban deterioration progress from the inside out, die of boredom, buy a cemetary plot 20 years before that in anticipation, and then shoot myself to avoid it all.
Or stay here.
We'll see. All I know is that tradespeople get more money than God spent on Jesus' first birthday present per hour, and there's probably a program somewhere where it's a free course because they're so desperate for workers.
Then I could live until I chopped one of my arms off in heavy machinery, stump around town and freak out kids, and ... shit. This option sucks, too.
Maybe I'll just keep looking for journalism work. Despite what happened to Dose, which employed most of the journalists I know, I think there's work out there for people willing to do it. Small town newspapers might not be too bad. 9 out of 10 editors end up as mayor, anyway, I hear.


Blogger Superdude said...

Due to time zones, this stupid post is on the wrong day. It's actually May 18th here, and May 19 is my birthday. Stupid.

10:21 PM

Blogger Dave said...

Happy birthday, you ancient bastard. Welcome to the club. Got news for ya, though, you'll be amazed at how little you actually care.
And, dude, you gotta quit worrying about all the family, career and lifestyle crap you think you should have by now. It's not so important, especially these days. However, being happy is, so figure what the hell it is would put a shit (and hotdog) -eating grin on your face, do some good old fashioned research to find out the best way to make it happen, and then do what ya gotta do. Except shiving hobos, don't do that.
Life ain't so bad -- you've got the freedom to relocate, you're comfortable living on a reasonable budget, you're one talented writer so you've got a skill you can take anywhere, and you've had the chance to live in a bunch of different places right across the country. A lot of folks would trade the grind for that in a minute.
Really, you've got most of your life to be "settled" and make mortgage payments. Enjoy the wide open road while you can.
All in all, you're not doing bad for a guy who's only 30. Oh yeah, and you don't look like the kid with the Hershey's Kiss head in that creepy fucking photo. Bonus!

11:11 PM

Anonymous iain said...

From all the postings on journalism job boards, it seems like small-town Alberta and BC are the ideal places to track down a newspaper job. They don't pay well, but the low cost of living in many small communities somehow makes it work. Plus, housing is cheap. It's a different lifestyle, but if slow living and home ownership are priorities...

I'm a big-city boy, and my wife's education situation requires that we live in a city big enough to have a decent college or university. If you don't mind living in a small town, give a rural gig some thought (especially if you know how to write a truly spectacular giant vegetable story).

11:39 PM

Blogger Superdude said...

I don't know if you're both referring to the picture (creepy fucking kid, giant vegetable story), but ... shit. I forget what I was going to say.
Small towns? Sure. I like it here, though. Maybe somewhere in Alberta would be nice. I do miss my family.

7:53 AM

Blogger Gerald said...

To those out of work east of Vancouver:

I got out of journalism a little while ago. Not really because I needed to or lost a job but because there were other things I wanted to do. I still dream of starting a magazine though. We've gotten very close to starting a 'zine (I even bought an 11x17 B&W office-capacity laser printer on craigslist), but never seem to have dedicated time to really get it rolling.

My point in this rambling is to say, "Why not start your own publication?" You definitely won't make a lot of money – unless one day it gets popular and, you know, becomes a real magazine – but why not do the thing you love on your own terms instead of someone else's? Lord knows you're all more than qualified to make something of quality that's marketable.

I guess this would require working some other shit job to make ends meet. But the time spent on the pet project would be nothing but wonderful. You control the hours, the content, the design, everything. And you get to point at it and say, "Look. I made that."

I think about two of my fav magazines: Vice and Sleazenation. Sleazenation is dead now (the morons changed the magazine name and hence lost their brand identity and went defunct in three months), but Vice appears to be "doing well." Both had very modest starts, as far as I know. All you need is some grant money, some regular "good" advertisers who like you, and fucking cleverness.

If nothing else, do it for Skip. It would make him proud. And he'd buy a subscription to whatever you produce.

I am the President,


9:21 PM

Blogger Alana said...

Happy birthday, Neal! Cheer up and get your ass to Toronto for a visit!

8:12 AM

Blogger Ladysir said...

Neal: happy birthday. Now where's the hug function on this blog?

12:14 AM

Anonymous iain said...

Superdude: Sorry. To clarify: A giant vegetable story is when a reporter gets to report on, well... giant vegetables. Like when the only news that matters to a community is that the owner of the corner store grew a pumpkin the size of a Volkswagon. Big city folks don't see that as real news, whereas it's an important cultural moment in rural Wherevertown, AB. As the writer/editor/layout-guy at the Wherevertown Gazette, you've got to know how to write the story without coming across as sarcastic. :-) I've heard the phrase "giant vegetable story" used as journalism shorthand for small-town public-interest pieces that big city reporters would consider to be tedious fluff.

3:36 AM

Blogger Superdude said...


8:26 AM

Anonymous iain said...

That's the spirit!

5:40 PM


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