I’ve held several jobs in my life. I don’t say that with any pride. Quite the opposite. I know many people who have worked at one job since their graduation from high school, and they have either retired or will likely retire, with benefits, from that same job. In my estimation, that’s typically an attribute to be placed firmly on the positive side of the ledger. However, for those of us who have been blessed/cursed with ADD, that’s usually not the case. Our lack of ability to focus on one thing at a time, and our propensity to become bored rather easily is the cross we bear daily. We tend to be a creative group of individuals whose minds are always in gear, and thus we are constantly seeking new mental stimulation.
I’ve worked in a variety of jobs; radio announcer and sales, retail customer service, customer service for an online bookseller, and burial pre-planning. I’ve been a news writer and handheld camera operator for local television news, I’ve sold automobiles, worked in a psychiatrist’s office (I know, perfect place for me) worked in a couple of grocery stores, and a few other jobs I’ve forgotten, either due to age or by choice. Looking back, I wish that the list of former jobs was much shorter, and that I was among those who have held only one or two jobs in their entire life. I can’t go back and re-live those times. (unless Doc Brown shows up in my front yard driving a DeLorean and excitedly reveals that he really has built an actual flux capacitor and in effect, has invented time travel.)
I can’t return to 1980, when I graduated Parrish High School, and decide that I am only going to have one or two jobs my entire life. What I can do is to be grateful that I have been allowed to experience various fields of work and to learn something valuable from each of them.
We have all gone through hard times. We all have bad days. We all suffer tragedies and breakups and losses of one kind or another in our lives. Sometimes we tend to become jaded and bitter and angry about life in general. One bad experience can easily alter our attitude and change our course in life, if we allow it. Someone once told me that we should look at these events in our lives as stepping stones in a stream; each event, though it may be rough and rocky and have sharp edges, is temporary. It’s merely a step toward something greater. If I choose to view life in this way, then all the jobs I’ve held, both those that I enjoyed immensely and those that seemed like drudgery, have only been stepping stones to something else. Sometimes that next step was very similar to the one before, and the new job/stepping stone was almost as jagged as its predecessor. Sometimes it was much smoother. And some appeared to be smoother, but after a short time it became clear they were a bit rocky.
About a month ago, I took another step, and accepted a new job here at 78 Magazine. There are two primary recurring thoughts that randomly circulate and inhabit my cranium with regard to this new move:
1. How in the name of William Randolph Hearst did a kid from a small town called Parrish, Alabama, a kid who never finished college and who has not exactly kissed or been anywhere near the proximity of a blarney stone, a kid who overslept the day the silver spoons were handed out, a kid who admittedly has the attention span of an over-caffeinated gnat, ever manage to pull a “Kramer” and fall back into a job opportunity like this?
2. Why could this not have happened ten, fifteen, twenty years ago, so that I could have enjoyed it sooner and longer?
Well, the answer to the second question is, naturally, because there was no 78 Magazine ten, or even five years ago. It simply did not exist until two or three years ago. As for the first question, I have no clue how it happened. One may as well question how a salmon knows just when to check his pompadour, splash on the Drakkar Noir and swim upstream, or how a duck or a goose or a sparrow knows exactly when to pack the Samsonite and catch a good strong tailwind heading South for the winter, or how people with mental disabilities like Down’s Syndrome and others, are somehow able to perform complicated mathematical calculations in their head–in seconds–and always have the correct answer. Perhaps I should ask how the sun knows the precise moment to peek its fiery head over the horizon each morning, or how the leaves always seem to know when to trade in their green summer wear in favor of burnt orange or brown.
I have no answer. I have no clue, Scooby Doo. I don’t even have enough in the bank for a down payment on a clue.
All I know is, it happened. Whether you believe that the time was just right, or it was all a part of God’s plan, or the stars and planets were finally aligned in some precise position, or if the Irish one day simply shrugged and said, “Yeah, okay, he never made it to the blarney stone but he’s a good lad, so give him a break,” or if you’re a student of chaos and you believe it was all just random chance, there’s still one common factor: as Will Ferrell once said, “That just happened.”
“Ours is not to reason why”, to (mis)quote Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Ours is but to accept it, be grateful for it, and move on.
And if I may quote one more notable figure, Gandalf the Grey/White:
“All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given us.”
If we choose to continually question the why, we rob ourselves of the time that is given us, and the experience. It may or may not be one of those things of which we will never know the answer. Somehow I have been blessed with a job in which three of my interests/hobbies (writing, photography, and videography) will play a big part, and will be used frequently. I don’t know how this Aladdin’s lamp landed in my lap, (don’t you love alliteration?) but I’m very grateful. I believe I can now see that each event, each job, each setback in my life, brought me one step closer to where I am now.
All I (you) have to do is decide what to do with the time (whatever it may be) that has been given me (you).
I believe this is going to be a non-stop, no-holds barred, Godzilla-on-radioactive-steroids-monster of a thrill ride. I think I’ll stop wondering how it all came to happen, strap myself in, hang on tight, and enjoy every second of it. 78