the awesome/terrifying freedom

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the open road

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i'm now in the second month of my new job. i haven't written anything about it because i'm mostly still figuring out what's happening, how things function, what's expected of me, and what the shape of my life might be now that i'm putting actual effort into what i do to make money.

to get to work, i drive along the ocean every day, then through the winding hills of topanga canyon. gone is the highway to hollywood i commuted twice a day, working for overgrown, insanely rich children. now, once i enter the canyon, the car goes silent, unable to pick up radio stations, and becomes my meditation, my time to assess both the day to come and the day gone by.

i've never cared before, never really cared about my job. it's a new feeling that i'm just now getting used to. my entire post-college life, i brought deep secrets into the office with me each day: "i am not one of you." "i will not get sucked into your world." "i will not get comfortable here." "i will be friends with none of you." i spent my days as an automaton, doing the bare minimum, getting through it, then going home to work until 1 or 2am on the theatre company.

for years it worked, and it worked because i had superhero energy, enough to sustain two lives, one sitting in stillness dreaming of a different life, and the other desperately trying to muster the energy to make that dreamed-of life happen.

and now, finally, though i'm working in what has been described as 'a ghetto cable sweatshop,' it is more in line with my dreams than any other steady job i've had. i can finally see the steps up mazlow's pyramid.

it's tough sometimes. having had jobsite ambivalence for so long, it's a given that caring means the rewards will be exponentially greater, but it also means that when you fuck up, it cuts with proportional depth.

as for the job, i'm learning so much. i create episode concepts, scout participants and locations, write episode outlines, organize shooting days; i'm even beginning to direct some of the shoots. i'm involved in each piece of the show, down to steaming wrinkles out of the host's dress.

i'm learning to feel at home on set, which is a good thing, because i'm planning to spend a good portion of my life there.

driving to work each day, ocean to my left, mountains to my right, i remind myself to be thankful for all of this, for everyone who has put faith in me, who has helped me along the path. i think back to the open road that faced me as i left new york, the courage it took to drive it, and the rewards reaped for traversing it. though i've reached one destination, the road continues on, each leg harder than the last. if i intend to face my life with bravery rather than complacency, it means making the hard choices, it means it shouldn't get easier, ever. i must continue to do what scares me.

2 responses to “the open road”

  1. Blogger Ted 

    right on, joe. right on.

  2. Blogger Marissa 

    i love this post, joe. sadly, i feel myself getting complacent. and i always swore i'd live a life of challenges; doing all the things that scared me. i think i'm going to take some inspiration in your life now and make changes. i'm so proud of and happy for you.

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