The desire to pack up and leave LA is strong.
I have been quietly debating on what I want to be doing and where I want to be doing it for a while now.
It’s no secret that I feel "unfulfilled” with my current situation. I think most people my age feel that way. We have insane ambitions and talents that exceed the previous generations. That’s how this world seems to work from what I can gather. Each generation wants more and more and they make better and better shit because of it. It’s progress based around this weird, but completely natural, selfish desire to be the best.
It’s just weird because my generation was told that we could do whatever we want in life and that we are all the best while ignoring the fact that we most likely aren’t. Not everyone can be the best. That’s not how math works.
Yet, we were coddled.
For Christ’s sake, participation awards started with us. We were over nurtured and we were sold on the idea that if we went to college and worked hard, all of our dreams would come true.
It’s a little childish to even think that way now. It’s just not the case. Young people are more educated than the previous generations and there are fewer and fewer jobs. Too many people with dreams, not enough environments to make those dreams a reality. Most people work “filler jobs” just to survive. When you have a degree and a lifetime of being told that you’re the best and that all your dreams will come true, you can only work so hard serving food for minimum wage and some measly tips. Making barely enough to survive while working in a restaurant and getting yelled at for a hard 8 hours by ungrateful customers can really make you question, “Is this is all worth it?”
(Side note: Treat the people serving you better. If someone fucks up your order, don’t make a scene. Don’t act like it’s a mortal wound. Don’t raise your voice. Lose the fucking attitude and politely let them know about the situation and it will be resolved. Oh, and leave a tip!)
I’m not trashing being a server, by the way. I just assume that unless your dream is to advance in that restaurant, working there isn't ideal. It's a hard job and you have to put up with a lot of peoples' shit. So what’s the point of wasting time there? What’s the point of working hard at a job that you probably hate when hardly anyone appreciates it? There is none that I can see. In most cases it seems like it’s the only option. It’s like you have to kill time and make what little money you can just to survive until one day you may or may not be able to get lucky enough to find yourself in a situation that allows you to do what you feel you were meant to do. It’s a horribly depressing position to be in. I’ve been there.
Hell, I sort of am.
I mean, I use a camera for a living, so it’s in the ballpark of what I want to do, but it sure isn’t that rewarding yet.
(And to all the people who have a strong support system that allows you to avoid all of these tiring experiences, fuck you.
I'm just kidding.
But at least acknowledge how fucking lucky you really are. Also, treat the people serving you better. For some reason it seems like y’all are the worst at this.)
Getting a gig here in LA really comes down to who you know. I hate it. The whole system is so weird. You have to network and literally sell yourself every chance you can get. I know how to do it, I might even be good at it, but goddamn I fucking hate networking. I’m over it. I have no desire to go out and meet people and have these boring conversations whilst pretending I don’t want something from whoever I’ve latched on to. It makes my skin crawl. I truly despise it.
“You gotta play the game, Matt!”
Why? So I can get another job taking photos that ends up selling a product I may or may not even agree with? Is that an honorable or honest way to make a living? Is that what I’m on this planet to do? Am I supposed to be another replaceable cog in the machine that just constantly sells bullshit?
“Yeah, but if you play the game, eventually you can get to a point where they will come to you. Then you can be all smug and pretentious and choose the companies that you believe in!”
That’s one way to go about it. It just seems so fucking soul crushing until you get there.
Also, what if this is it? What if by some freak accident I die next week and my greatest accomplishments are selling non-sense for rich people?
What will people say?
If they were being truly honest, it would have to be something like: “Matt sure lived a short and unfulfilling life.”
God, that’s bleak.
Of all the people I know, I would say about 5-10 are truly living their dreams. The ones that come to mind are insanely lucky. Like, INSANELY lucky. It’s incredibly inspiring. They have bad days (we all do), and maybe sometimes they take their position in this world for granted (we all do), but mostly they are fulfilled.
I’m not even sure what my dreams are anymore? It’s a weird feeling.
I try my best to stay in the moment. I’ve come to realize that worrying about the future just wrecks the present, which really doesn’t help anything. I’ve wasted countless days of my life worrying about things that are out of my control. Things that haven’t happened yet, things that could happen, even things that probably won’t, but might happen. It’s not healthy.
So, I give it my best shot to live in the moment. It’s just incredibly hard to be accepting of a shit job if you feel like you're your wasting time. It’s unbelievably hard to stay Zen when you feel you have more to offer.
So, what if I just bailed?
What if I put my money where my mouth is and quit playing this disgusting game?
I could get a storage unit, or sell all my shit and just take off.
I could travel all of the 48 states in the continental US. I could go searching for whatever it is that makes me feel fulfilled. I could meet more people than I could ever dream of; People that won’t want anything from me and I wouldn’t want anything from them. I could take polls and do my own research to see what makes people happy.
I like to use the saying, “Recording Life”, when talking about what I do. But, that's not really true, is it? Most of the work I do is composed shots with the purpose of selling a product. Or, I shoot models and actors whose job is to literally pretend to be doing something else. That's not life.
What if I just quit doing that and actually started Recording Life?
Would I just travel the country searching for something until I run out of money? Then what, would I be fucked? Would I have to be a grown man who moves back into his parent’s house?
Or, is there any money to be made doing that? Maybe I could get sponsors and make rewarding content for them on the road?
Well, that seems farfetched. I imagine someone with some a mount of fame could probably convince people to sponsor an endeavor like that. Who knows.
But wait, does money really even matter?
If I go broke and end up at my parent’s house, is that really a failure?
For most people ,I’m sure it is, but I can’t stop thinking: What if I find something out there that will benefit me beyond any monetary compensation?
I don’t even know if this is all just a fantasy or if I would really have the balls to do it, but it’s all I can think about right now.
Like I said, the desire to leave is strong.
I’ve even started planning how I would go about it..
I figure I could just sleep in my car or a tent.
I would pack light and wash where I could.
I could stay with friends in the cities where I have some.
I would document the entire thing by making videos every day while writing about the people I meet, the places I go, and the things I learn.
It would be my own personal adventure that I could share with anyone who cares to tune in.
I get really excited when I think about it. Almost like I might actually do it.
I just honestly can’t figure out if this desire is present because I’m trying to run from or towards something.