Life’s a pickle ain’t it? I look around and see all these people who seem so decisive and sure of what they are doing, even if they don’t enjoy it, then I look at myself and all I see is a mess of chronic disease, anxiety and uncertainty.
I often wonder if people look at me and think I have it together. Maybe comparatively to some people I do, who knows. It’s gotten to the point where I often feel like I’m living multiple lives. Some days I wake up and all I can think about is video games. I want to write about them, make videos and just immerse myself in them. Other days I am obsessed with cars. I want to drive them, critique them and experience everything car related that I can. Some days I’m a photographer, some I’m a film maker. Other days I’m a podcaster, blogger, designer – the list goes on. The downside to living this ‘what career am I choosing today’ lifestyle is that it’s incredibly hard to progress in any one area when you chop and change every 5 minutes.
I realized the other day that I’m starting to treat my life the same way I treat a multiple choice video game. In games, when I’m faced with a go left or go right kind of choice, I spend way too much time deciding. But even when I do decide, I’m thinking “what would have happened if I went the other way? Would things have been better?” and it’s alright in a video game because I can go back and play it again so that I can know all possible outcomes and whether or not my first choice was the right one.
In real life however, I don’t get to go back and it sucks. I can never be decisive because I’ve made some really poor choices in terms of what I should focus on over the last few years and it’s led me to this spiral of questioning everything I try to do. Some days I wake up and I think to myself “ok, I’m a photographer now, that’s it, that’s what you’re going to do” and I go outside and be a photographer.
While I’m out there, taking photos of people who are expecting me to tell them how to stand so that they look good, my mind wanders. I think about writing. I think about this amazing idea and I write the story in my head. I can’t help but smile because writing makes me happy, I love telling stories. At this point the person usually realizes that I’ve gone on vacation in my mind and they start snapping their fingers at me, which makes me wonder if I’m so easily distracted is this really worth the small amounts of money I’m getting (thanks to the iPhone, everyone thinks taking a ‘good photo’ is easy and therefore don’t want to pay all that much) and the answer is always no, not at all. Photography is special to me and something I hold near and dear, so selling my skills for next to no money while shooting a subject I couldn’t care less about seems like a waste of time.
I finish the job and go home with my tail between my legs and convince myself that I need to focus on being a writer, then the whole process starts again. I wake up and I’m a writer. I reach out to people to see if I can get some more experience, even if it’s unpaid. I know I need a good portfolio in order to get a job so it’s worth it. I get a few replies, most saying no. Most people just ignore the emails. I think to myself “why the hell not!? I literally just want to come and work for free for a few days so that I can get experience, why is that such a hard thing to do!?” which leads me to write some bitter article on my blog (like this one) about why the world is broken and money sucks. The process starts again with making videos, podcasting and my career just sits in this infinite state of flux.
I then start to wonder if I’m kidding myself. Maybe I don’t get to be a creative person, reviewing games, taking photos of cars and also have a house, a nice car or savings. Maybe I’m expecting too much. So I start looking at night shelf packing jobs at Woolworths because that’s all I feel like I’m worth. Which sparks this primal reaction of never giving up that’s baked into my DNA, so I close the computer and go to sleep thinking “I’ll decide tomorrow, I’ll figure out my entire life tomorrow and it’ll be ok” which unfortunately hasn’t worked yet.
It’s not all bad though, I have learned a lot. I know I like telling stories. Reporting events, news and reviewing products. That’s my jam. I like people asking me questions, I like helping people make decisions (maybe because I’m so indecisive) and I like being in the know. What I don’t know is what industry I need to focus on and what medium I need to know how to use to deliver the stories, be it writing, podcasting, photography or film making. I also feel like time is running out to find out, which doesn’t help feeling pressured to make a decision right this second that I have to commit to for the next 30+ years.
I’ve been doing this video game journalism thing for a while now and while I’m getting free games, I’m still not getting paid for any of it which sucks. I’ve got an unpaid internship lined up with a popular gaming magazine in Australia but they’ve explicitly said there’s no money in their budget to hire someone which again, sucks but it is what it is and I’ve said before, I don’t expect to be paid right now but I feel like if I do well somewhere there should at least be a prospect of employment.
I’m going to take some time over the next few days, play a lot of Fallout 4 and try and relax. I need to make some decisions, ones that I can’t go back and start again if I don’t like the outcome.
See you on the other side I suppose!