I’ve never read a blog before, never wrote in a diary or even knew of anyone that openly discussed either of these activities. So you might ask yourself why would someone all of a sudden start writing? Well I can tell you it sure isn’t because I’m good at it. In fact let me take this opportunity to warn you that if you are interested in reading entries with amazing grammar and perfect punctuation you should quickly click away now. Get out while you still can. English was never my strong suit, in fact in high school it was one of my least favourite eighty two minutes of the day. So then I must have some incredible stories right? Wrong again. If even one person (besides my mom) enjoys what I have to say I will be thrilled. I am beginning this blog for two reasons, well maybe one reason with two parts. I’ll let you decide.
First is to introduce some more order to my life. That was the idea when I began weightlifting back in July of last year. I wasn’t setting out to be a bodybuilder, especially with my body type, just to become a better version of myself and add structure to my life. Structure is a great tool in life. Still, too much structure can lead to becoming predictable, while too little can sacrifice productivity. I have always been the ladder of the two and thus can always use activities like writing and the gym to help me prioritize and use my time wisely.
Secondly I am lost. At my very young age of nineteen I feel like I have been through a few life altering experiences and have come out a better man in ways and a lesser man in others. Let me first backup and explain that I understand I am young and hopefully have plenty of time left on this earth to grow and experience life. Although we never really do know how much time we have but that’s a topic for another time. Without boring you with an autobiography let me clarify my position. When I was in high school I was always on the honour roll without putting in too much effort. That’s not me bragging though it surely comes off as that. Much to the contrary, I skated by doing well enough to get my parents off my back but never really realizing ‘my potential’ as I was made aware once or twice. Pair that with my only motivation for getting a degree being to make a ton of money and this was a recipe for disaster. Going into University this bit me in the ass harder than I ever could have imagined. I had next to no work ethic when it came to school work and an intense enjoyment of getting as messed up as humanly possible. As anyone who has gone away to school knows this mix usually doesn’t scream success! I was on academic probation after the first semester and although I was able to raise my GPA high enough to no longer be on AP by the end of the year, I had to drop my major and minor class to do so. Great job man, way to make use of your opportunities. No doubt my parents were not impressed so when I made the dreaded phone call to let them know, my Mother informed me that they would no longer be supporting me come the following school year. It was a shock at first; that honestly was the first serious repercussion I had ever experienced. I’ve lived a sheltered life I know. This is where I give my applause to those of you out there that put yourself through school on student loans and your own funds with all the same doubts that most of us go through about if we’re in the right program, and if we really love what we’re taking. I had the same option; put myself through a year of school and prove to my parents I deserved another shot. After the shock wore off I started to seriously consider a change in program and perhaps taking student loans for the following year but ultimately decided that my lack of focus would be my undoing regardless of where the funds came from. I did say I wasn’t going to give you my life story didn’t I… sorry about that but I guess if you’ve read this far I can take you on a bit of a longer journey yet to reach my point. Yes surprisingly there is still a point to all this rambling.
So at the age of eighteen now one year removed from graduation I’m faced with the decision of what I want to do. Both my parents thinking that coming home and starting an apprenticeship in a trade being the best choice. Unsure of if that was right for me I instead decide to couch surf mainly solo for the four months in-between school terms and begin working three jobs for between seventy and ninety hours a week. In the mornings on weekdays I’d work at a water distribution company filling and loading forty-five pound bottles for four hours. Then from there depending on the day I’d go home and grab a nap and get ready to go DJ for whatever wedding, corporate event, or party that might be happening that evening. In other cases I’d go straight from bottling to delivering pizza for upwards of ten hours. Sometimes on the rare occasion I’d have to fit all three in. None of these were particularly great jobs but I needed to make a living. This was the first time in my life I knew the feeling of complete exhaustion. For weeks I would do nothing but work, sleep, and on the off chance get some food in me. This went on for just under three months until one day in late July surfing job ads I come across one of my favourite companies: FutureShop. I apply, go for the interview and get hired as a seasonal salesmen. I work through the year becoming better and better at selling and am kept on permanently. I have a fairly successful boxing week for a new employee and am quickly becoming excited for the upcoming back to school rush. It becomes easy to day dream of the great sales yet to come as the store is basically a ghost town during February and March. Then late in March we get told we’re going to be having a meeting with the district manager on the morning of March 28. As the day grows nearer there is some eager anticipation of what the topic could possibly be. Perhaps Geek Squad Membership; a new service program that was being tested in both our store and Red Deer’s to gauge it’s success. The morning is finally upon us and I stop at Tim’s to grab a coffee for my good pal Cam and I. I enter the store and attendance is being tracked as we enter; odd that has never been policy. I take a seat next to Cam, hand him his coffee and look up to see three men that most definitely are not our district managers; what the hell is going on? Shortly after, my manager walks out in front of us and delivers a speech that I most likely will never forget. Not his exact words but the way it was delivered and the message it conveyed is still as vivid as ever. FutureShop as a brand was history. Our store along with sixty-five others were being closed immediately. I remember looking between Cam and Rob, another friend and co-worker, in complete disbelief. Here I was anticipating a career with FutureShop, hoping to soon be competing for a top spot among my peers and now you’re telling me I’m unemployed? Not only that but a Canadian company I had grown up supporting is finished? I grimly listened to some higher up explain to me the one week severance I was to going to receive, turned over my store key, emptied my locker and was escorted out of the building for the final time. I slowly made my way to my car where I immediately began balling. What the fuck just happened to me. To all of us. I don’t know how many of you have ever experienced a company closing it’s doors for good or mass layoffs such as this but it’s a feeling not easily replicated. I am grateful I am not at the age where I have a family or anyone depending on me, because the stress that would carry is inconceivable. After gathering myself I promptly called my Father. I desperately needed to talk to someone who could help me through this. We quickly made plans for me to return home the next day and consider what the future might hold. Soon after some of us went for a last breakfast and drink together which greatly raised my spirits. Something about being around a group of people ranging in age from eighteen to thirty seven (I knew it Cam) that all had just gone through an event many will go a lifetime without experiencing brings you together. Though we don’t all keep in contact I surely will never forget my FutureShop family. This (finally) brings me to today, living with my sister and her husband, working a minimum wage job, unable to afford my own place. Which leaves me with more questions than answers. I am honestly blessed that I have such an incredible support system because I cringe to think of where my life would be without them.
On a closing note, it’s not all doom and gloom and I know that. It has actually turned out about as well as it could have all things considered. This is just one more dip in the roller coaster ride that is life. Perhaps writing the occasional post will allow me to verbalize and visualize thoughts and ideas that would otherwise pass over me without a second thought. Perhaps it will allow me to see where I want to be in the future. Perhaps it will be nothing more than a couple hours every few weeks I spend contemplating something besides my work, progress in the gym, and video games. I’ll leave you with an interesting quote I’ve had floating around my head lately; ‘nothing will ruin your twenties worse than thinking you should have everything figured out.’ After everything I’ve said I really do believe this has truth to it. As I approach my twentieth birthday, it seems many around this age, like myself, don’t always have it together right away. I don’t think that’s such a bad thing as it leads to self reflection, exploration, and even some risk taking. But damn it sure would be nice to have a few more bucks to go around.
Till next time.