The 54th Deadline: Extremes

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“My life has been far from balanced. Instead, I would say it is an alternating series of extremes.”

I can be really on fire one day. I can be really cold the next. I can be on point one day. I can be a complete and utter failure the next. However, the pattern is never predictable. The feelings are ambiguous.

The weather affects me. Something in the news affects me. I just feel so darn vulnerable to my own emotions. I am therefore an emotional person, and to be emotional is a blessing and a curse.

I am emotional because I feel everything I feel to the nth degree, but this acts as a double-edged sword when the feelings are anything negative. I can be as happy as a clam, or I can be the most miserable person you can come across just like that.

Regardless, I hate it. The more I try to come to grips with the notion that I legitimately may have bipolar disorder or whatever, the more I have to start contemplating more serious remedies to counteract the instability.

Yes, that is a good word for this dilemma of mine. Instability. It is a word that implies that something is not quite all the way put together, and it hints that something could go horribly wrong.

Outside of medicinal means, I wonder if just doing something else in life can somewhat bring it all toward the “center,” even if not perfectly in the middle. I just need to stop this back-and-forth game with my own thoughts. I want things to be steady at the very least. If this were the case, I could feel a bit more at ease that I am just drifting along in life.

But nope. It all just feels like an inner distraction. There is chaos upstairs, but a lot more needs to be done outside in the real world while all of this roughhousing takes place.

Ugh. Why can’t I just be one thing?

Why, world? Why!
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The 54th Deadline: Glimpse of Greatness

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“No matter what the world says, you are only as great as you want to be in life.”

I am going to go out on a limb here and assume most people, hopefully anyway, have had very impactful and meaningful individuals who have entered their lives at one point to trigger a necessary catalyst.

And this catalyst itself is the start of various possibilities.

Perhaps it was in sports.

Perhaps it was in music.

For me, it was writing. Writing was my spiel. Writing was something I once thought I had a real knack for, and thus it became a focus of mine in school. In particular, I was fascinated by English grammar. Still am, by all means.

I had many teachers tell me that I was good at writing. I had my fifth grade teacher pull me from class just to tell me how good my short story was. And down the road, more teachers would pull me aside in the same manner to praise me for my writing style. They acted as mentors, motivating me to hone in on learning more about English grammar and writing.

It wasn’t like they were just trying to be nice, either. Heck, at the end of high school, I even received an award for being outstanding in the English subject. Not too shabby, right?

But I digress.

To be perfectly honest, I once thought I was going to have it real easy in life at some point. After college, it was going to be smooth sailing. I would definitely get my name out there without a hitch!

Of course, reality set in, and the bad stuff occurred in droves. And perhaps it was the universe’s funny way of teaching me a lot of lessons that I would spend the next years figuring out, contemplating what went right or horribly wrong. It was an utter mess.

I once wanted to make every excuse in the book about my would-be employers who passed on me. Oh, they are just corrupted! They only care about people they know! They don’t hire new grads!

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At the end of the day, it all doesn’t matter. Regardless of what the real reasons were, I could have toughened up.

I became bitter and let my inferiority complex sink its fangs into my soul.

I could have improvised. I could have done a million different things that would have guided me out of the darkness, but I chose to dwell on it. I brooded over insignificant things when just thinking about it wasn’t going to change the current circumstances. Not one bit.

To be overly simplistic, I let the negativity engulf the legitimate greatness/potential I had to my name. I let the bad stuff cover up the good so nothing could shine through anymore. Continue reading

The 54th Deadline: Shots

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“Opportunities always pop up, but taking a shot at them is always another matter.”

Opportunities are always there. In fact, they occur constantly. Many of us just happen to miss our chance for whatever reason. Just think about life as a series of said opportunities, and you are in for a heavy dose of hindsight and potential regret.

You think about that one person you liked but didn’t ask out.

You think about that one club you could have joined.

You think about that activity you could have learned at an earlier stage.

You think about all of the friends you could have made.

You think about all of the potential memories you passed on for other things.

All of this and more… It’s what life is about if you really break it down. There are numerous chances to take your shots at all kinds of things. Even if you miss your mark completely, I do believe now after many years of sad and dark days that it’s definitely better to go nuts and try as many things as you can while you still can.

If you don’t do stuff while you can, then what are you doing? That’s the real question here.

I recall a particular situation that happened near the conclusion of my senior year of high school. It was part of a special senior ceremony of sorts where the principal gathered the kids on the cusp of graduating to meet up in the gym and talk about how monumental graduation was for us.

She asked us to participate in a little activity of sorts. She would list out a bunch of random things we could have done in high school to stay involved. The kids who did any of the things would stand up and remain standing.

They were typical, high school-related activities.

Did you play in a sport?

Did you go see a high school play?

Did you take advanced classes?

Did you volunteer for a school-related function like a dance?

You get the idea. All the principal was doing was trying to highlight us special kids who actually did activities within our four years of being students.

To my surprise, there were a lot of kids who remained sitting after the principal was done asking questions to us seniors. To this day, I still wondered…

What the heck did those kids do? Continue reading

The 54th Deadline: Composure

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“People who can keep their cool no matter what can persevere through anything.”

As I have grown older, I have realized I have always lacked a lot of composure as a person.

Composure is something I wish I had more of, in abundance, especially when life forced me into a corner and made me rethink everything. The fact is, if I could have composed myself a lot better as my world was falling apart, everything would have certainly played out differently.

More than five years ago, as the effects of long-term unemployment began to sink in, I simply crumbled.

I was living at home with my parents.

I had no job.

My bank account was depleting.

I just played a lot of video games to pass the time, just hoping things would magically change overnight.

In reality, what I really needed was to compose myself. I needed to bring everything back together, evaluate the problems and then deal with them accordingly.

Yeah, I was going through a rough patch. Back then, I attempted to justify it. But whether it was rational or not, I was in a tough spot. I let the crap pile on, even though I had all of the tools to hack away at the base before it all built up any further.

Instead, I was a weak fool. An incompetent, immature and cowardly clown who had no business trying to get his life together if I couldn’t handle the early signs of an emotional meltdown.

My problems grew more and more out of control. It would be a long time before I actually, and I mean genuinely, began to “heal” from the pain and whatnot.

And this was all because of a huge lack of composure on my part.

Just thinking back throughout my life, I wish I could be just a bit cooler here and there. I wouldn’t have had to stumble around, never completely maturing from the social anxiety-riddled kid who was always so shy and hesitant to be bold once and awhile.

I regret that now, but it can’t be helped. That’s all in the past. And the current me has all of the necessary motivation to rewrite the script. I don’t have to let things play out this way if I can at least influence some variables in my life.

For example, anger was something really getting out of control in my life. Continue reading

The 54th Deadline: Rekindling

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“To stoke that particular flame within the very soul requires just a spark of passion.”

Long ago, I legitimately had a passion for one particular thing on my mind: writing.

When it came time to lock in an intended major at my university, I chose journalism as my first choice.

A lot of people scoffed and mocked me for my choice in major back when I started college. People questioned my decision. Rightfully so, journalism wasn’t a sexy major choice. By all means, the field paid poorly and a lot of people as a whole did not respect journalists and their profession.

Regardless of what others said, I stuck to my guns. I set my major as journalism and stayed with it from start to finish in college. By all means, I was a journalism nut in all kinds of ways.

I ate, slept and breathed in the essence of journalism. I was obsessed over things like Associated Press (AP) writing style, how words looked on a newspaper page and other random things like how to write decent headlines.

I learned how to do things like how to edit other people’s writing like a madman, I became obsessed with “space” between paragraphs and other random things one could find in print.

Go down the list, and I dabbled in a bit of everything when it came to what you could learn in a college newspaper. I even was a news editor during the summer at one point.

However, even after all of that, I found myself painfully ill-prepared for the post-graduation stuff. No matter how much genuine passion I had for the journalism field, it was not like the field had the same kind of love and respect for me as a potential candidate.

I wasn’t trying to report big news or anything like that. I just wanted a start. I wanted a beginning. At the very least, I knew I had a lot to do before I could transition into a proper journalism job after college.

It was never about the money. No one goes into journalism thinking about their bank accounts. They do it for the sake of the craft. I was willing to move to some random place I had never been to before, even if I ended up working at some dinky paper.

Not for the byline. Not for getting my name out there in the journalism world.

I wanted the experience. I wanted to get my feet wet. I was completely willing to start at the bottom and grind my way toward something respectable on the metaphorical ladder. It was the only thing I wanted for myself. It was the only desire I had to keep me motivated for something “professional” that I could be proud of as an individual.

Had things played out the way I wanted them to, I would have been a full-fledged journalist by now. I would be living in some big city or something.

Alas, the bad stuff happened instead. It happened in droves.

I dealt with long-term unemployment. It was humiliating and crippling. I thought I was such a loser in so many ways.

Life had knocked me down, and it felt like it kept me suppressed for far too long before I could find some sort of strength to wiggle my way out of my own personal problems and insecurities.
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The 54th Deadline: Rest Required


Note: I am debating as to whether I should keep this random line box in future posts. It was just something I did a long time ago to separate the first picture and the body of the blog post’s text, but I don’t know if I should keep making it.


The 54th Deadline: Rest is just a necessary step toward recovering for another day.


Hi. I hope the holidays have been going well for you all.

For me, I haven’t had much rest, but that’s the nature of things for the time being.

Work, work, work. Oh yeah, more work on top of that. And not much for anything else in between.

It is something I do find a tad depressing about my current circumstances. I hardly get that much time to rest up when it is required. I keep soldiering through it, but I know my well-being can only put up with so much. Still, I have learned to persevere. Well, it’s more like I have forced myself to persevere, if I had to be completely honest.

I say this not out of dread, but understanding, that it’s all part of this ongoing process.

And as the story goes, I found cooking years ago and had to reinvent myself by learning how to handle the literal heat and nuances of being a helper/cook in a kitchen. My resolve was brittle and weak. My body literally had a difficult time handling a lot of pressures and physical labor.

It was incredibly difficult for me at the start, but a lot of patience from great mentors and teachers encouraged to keep my chin up. I eventually learned to cope. You just get used to it over time. Gradually, I developed some kind of backbone worthy enough of sticking around in this particular field.

When you work in a kitchen, I can say it has made me into a grittier, stronger person by all means. Without the kitchen, I don’t know where I would be to this day.

So I do tell people with complete truth that cooking saved my life. And it continues to do so. I thought I would have transitioned into the stuff I went to school for years ago, something in the writing field by now, but meh… I do use my writing for other things, so I am somewhat content with this fact for now.

However, everything has an expense that goes far beyond money.
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The 54th Deadline: Pressure

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The 54th Deadline: Life often forces some pressure your way to encourage immediate action.


More than five years ago, I was a loser by all means. I never would admit to it back then, but one could call me that now and I wouldn’t get mad at them for it.

That’s what I was. A loser. A bonafide loser. But that doesn’t mean I had to remain one. That’s the key. You can always change.

I was a new college grad, unemployed, just sleeping on a mattress in my parents’ basement. My laptop, my salvation at the time, sat on the desk where the old sewing machine used to be.

Every day, it was often the same routine with little variation.

I woke up. I got ready and all of that jazz. I then parked my butt in front of my laptop. At first, I was genuinely productive for a long while. I applied to many job listings that matched my degree. Granted, that was a rough time to attempt becoming a journalist, let alone getting some small gig to tide me over.

Things are always hard when you’re starting out, after all. The journalism job market at the time was sketchy and very unfriendly toward a lot of new people trying to get their journalism feet wet.

Anyway, the initial months were a constant blur of monotony. I took the summer off to “recharge” from my senior year in college, but the truth is I had a lot of built-up depression systems that lingered after college graduation. I was just in major denial of it.

Regardless, I was hellbent on getting my dream job after summer. I applied and applied, and most of my replies seemed rather pointless. I felt like I was wasting my time, but I knew I still had to apply with some semblance of a chance that things would pan out the way I had wanted.

But what was I to do in the meantime? Because I was so thoroughly weary and exhausted by the time my senior year of college ended, I did in fact needed the rest. So I passed the time mostly on my computer, wasting away hours upon hours while I hoped my “feelers” as you would call them were supposedly working their magic.

I played a lot of video games. An unhealthy amount, no less. I just played a LOT of video games. So many hours. So unproductive.

Alas, I wish my resumes could have told me somehow that their searches were to no avail. Potential employers don’t have to tell you they passed on you. Heck no. Most just ignore you. It’s like you never sent anything to them at all. You become just another blip on their radar they don’t notice. Another message in their inbox they might as well put in the spam folder.

Unless you had a gleaming resume or prior connections, many college grads were basically screwed. I was no different. Unfortunately, I should have known how ill-prepared I was to face the real world at the time.

It would take about two months after summer before I got my first real interview for a potential job, but that’s a different story I have discussed before way in the past. That led to a lot of terrible things for me personally, which added further self-destruction to my name as that particular series of events unfolded.

I might touch up on that later, but for now I want to focus on the notion of “pressure” and why I need it more than anything else in my life at the moment. Continue reading