And so the story continues........
I've already told you about some of the worst experiences I had working for the boss from hell. The position I held was a one year term; at no time during this term was it suggested to me that I would be considered for an extension. That may sound like a bad thing, but the honest truth is that that was about the only thing that kept me going. I knew that no matter how horrible I was feeling, it HAD to end at some time.
Well, the fact of the matter is, I never made it the whole year. About 10 months in, things came to a head. I had other stressors in my life at this point, the biggest being that someone who was close to me was very sick at the time. The boss knew it, and was fairly callous about it, and there came a point where I just couldn't handle her bullshit any more. I didn't blow up on her like I had previously, and instead just walked out of work, and sent her an email giving her my two week notice.
Alright...not the most professional way to handle things, walking out, but I rationalize by pointing out that it was unfair that I was expected to be professional in a workplace that was anything but. It's not exactly professional calling one of your colleagues retarded, is it? She was quite livid, and when she confronted me when I came in the following day, I told her in a very calm voice that I didn't care what she thought, that I no longer cared if she found my work unsatisfactory, and that as far as I was concerned, this job was over. The two weeks was really just a courtesy...I told her that if she raised her voice one more time, I would just walk out.
I was proud of how I handled it, and I still am. She did end up making me a deal a couple of days later (I guess that's how long it took her to calm down, lol). She said that if I stayed until the end of the following month, she would "lay me off" and it would be easier for me to get unemployment. I agreed, I bore her passive aggressive attitude for the next month (trust me, in some ways it was worse that her plain ol' aggressive attitude) and left with a spring in my step.
I'm not sure how many of you have dealt with unemployment before, but for me it was really bitter-sweet. My self-esteem was about the lowest it had ever been. I felt useless, I felt like a burden on society, I felt like a failure. At the same time, there was this excitement...I felt like their was a spark inside of me that had almost gone out, but now had a chance to flare up again. There was still a nugget of optimism buried deep inside that told me, "Dan, now it's time to rise up once again. You are at your lowest, there is no where to go but up."
And then two weeks later I got hit by a car.
I had just finished meeting a career counselor at Siast and I was brimming with ideas for the future. I was walking to the downtown area to catch a bus, and as I was crossing the street, a car trying to quickly take a left turn before traffic reached him hit me dead on. I hit the hood hard, cracking my elbow, badly spraining my wrist, and smashing my face. I was laying on the ground and turned to get on my knees. There were droplets of blood dripping on to the concrete, and an excruciating pain in my head. I managed to stand up and walk a couple of steps before people in other cars who had stopped to help convinced me to just lay down until the ambulance came. I wish I could say that it was a blur, or that I can't remember what happened. But it's not true...I remember every detail. I remember the wait for the ambulance. I remember the shocked looks of people on the street as they slowly drove by. I remember the one guy saying, "holy shit, look at that goose egg. Don't touch it." I remember it all, and I wish I fucking didn't.
And so the breaking of Dan was complete. I think back to that time, and I can honestly say that it felt like the universe had some vendetta against me. I know now that it's a really silly thing to think, but at the time, I don't think you could have convinced me otherwise. I realize now that a lot of people deal with really shitty circumstances every day, and that I don't have it any worse than other people (okay, maybe a little worse, lol, but purely by chance).
I think the worst thing that that car did was knock any remaining ambition right out of me. I just didn't give a shit anymore. About anything. The world lost it's colour. I was looking so forward to travelling with my newfound free time, and I could no longer do it because I was busted up. I was looking forward to playing guitar, and I could no longer do it. Every single plan I had was ruined, and I am not sure I even cared that much.
I know that a lot of people thought I was going through depression again. Maybe I was. But it didn't feel the same as last time. This time, it felt more like deep, all-encompassing apathy. When I was depressed, I still cared about things....in fact, maybe I cared too much. But it was different this time. I didn't feel bad. I felt dead.
Lucky for me, I have one of the greatest people in the world as my girlfriend. She never let me completely withdraw. How can anyone completely withdraw when you see that smile of hers? She has helped me in more way than she knows to re-engage with the world. I'm feeling a lot better these days. In truth, I think that in many ways the accident may turn out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me. I did get a kick ass new pair of glasses out of it, after all.
In the last couple of weeks I've gotten a new feeling....a feeling that maybe the car didn't really knock out all of my ambition. If you've read some of my previous posts, you know that many of my ambitions were superficial and not really all that good for me in the first place. I think that one ambition survived the accident, and it's a damn good one. I don't want to regret my life anymore. I'm tired of it. We often live our lives at the mercy of circumstance. We work at occupations that we don't really want to, in order to buy things that don't make us happy. We do what other people expect us to, for reasons that don't make sense to us. We are afraid to be REAL, because we are afraid of what people will think of us. Well, enough of that!
I'm going to change my life. Because I fucking have to. Because I'm tired of the one I've lived so far. And it may be a mistake, and I may end up peniless and on the street. Who knows? I don't know what I'm doing. I still have a lot of shit I need to work through and I don't know where my next job will be, or what career I will go into. In the end, I'm gonna do my best to live without regrets, and see where it takes me.
And maybe, with some luck, I'll dodge the next car with my name on it's hood.