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Vision Quest

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Shattered Rift


For those who aren't aware, I left my job at the dance studio and am currently traveling through Idaho and Utah to visit family and explore career opportunities. I'll likely be traveling elsewhere this summer as well. It's a sort of vision quest: I realized during the course of my work that I had lost sight of why I was living in the Portland area and what I wanted out of my career. The one certainty was that I loved it. I can recall perhaps three times where I actually felt like I was working, and the feeling often passed quickly (or within the 45 minute block I was accustomed to counting my days in). Usually I simply ended each day with a feeling of content exhaustion. To anyone wondering what loving a job means, this was my answer. I spent the day doing something I often found enjoyable, and at the end of each day I merely felt exhausted. The exhaustion was a reminder that it had been work, though it rarely felt like work.

I'm in the Boise area right now. There are about four studios/instructors/routes for me to pursue dancing here, if I chose to. One is a studio that is serious about technique and competition (perfecting the art, so to speak). Another seems to be a somewhat lackadaisical social studio that teaches in a very social manner. I didn't make the time to explore the other two. From what I've heard and researched, one is a woman who primarily works with couples from a social standpoint. The last seems to be a pair of independent instructors who run a primarily social setting.

As Sparkbombers, I think that many of us fall into a competitive intellectual archetype. That's not true for all of us, but for me this manifests as a thirst for knowledge and a desire to prove myself to myself. Whatever I care to do, I want to be able to do it at a competitive level, but I don't need to use the competition and results to prove to myself that I can. In Yu-Gi-Oh!, this meant that I needed to be confident that I could earn my invite to nationals if I participated in a regional, though I always ended up judging such events rather than playing in them. As a dance instructor, this means that I want to work at a studio that teaches technique and understands the nuances behind it. This is the arguably the most difficult course to take, as it's the most narrow career field.

Yet, what I see as I explore Boise are opportunities for independent or socially-minded instructors. A very modern and artistic piece of architecture called JUMP caught my attention as I cruised into downtown. I love urban skylines and the views that can be seen from vantage points in a city, and JUMP summoned me like a beacon. Sadly, I was relegated to the lobby and don't think that I'll be able to attend a tour given my schedule, but the brief visit was a reminder that my creative side is still very much alive. The next reminder came as I visited the socially-oriented studio in a downtown shopping center. Despite a fantastic location and good atmosphere, the owner and instructor both came across as quite lackadaisical. I saw squandered opportunity and potential.

Meanwhile, I assisted my brother in playtesting a Transformers-based card game that he's been working on as a pet project for some years. In offering feedback, my mind reflected to Turf War. It was those thoughts that led me to write this ramble, as I realized that my creative drive is still very much alive. Dance is my love, my passion, my career, but the creativity that drove Sparkbomb for years is still very much alive, even if it's sleeping at this moment in time.

I don't know how to incorporate my creative drive into dance. Nor am I certain that I want to. But it's been the first thing that I've discovered for a certainty on this journey. I still very much love to create. I still very much love to work on projects. Some of this will come together for this year's All-Stars game in a couple of months. Beyond that, I'm not sure.

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You created a website/forum when you were in high school. Think about the amount of lives you touched when you were -just a kid-.

Try not to the think too much. I've found in my life, the times when I've tried to intellectualize things has just made it more complicated and has been usually an excuse for inaction.

" Dance is my love, my passion, my career "

Is this because you are good at it and you don't know what else you'd do? Or because you can't NOT do it?


The best way for me to illustrate the point of the above question is using an example of what I'm going through right now:


I went to college because that's what you are supposed to do. I graduated with a degree in Finance and Information Systems from the best business school in Florida.

I'm telling you this because I don't feel accomplished or satisfied. I don't care about my degree. I had a completely average 3.0 GPA. I didn't do any internships and I went through a good couple years of what turned into alcoholism. 

Don't do things because you have to. Don't do things because it's "what you do" in society today. 


Do what you can't not do. I'm at home and I'm in the process of applying for English teaching jobs in China. And as of tonight, I'm ranked in the top 11,000 players out of 1,600,000 in Ranked League of Legends.


Do whatever it takes in your life. Hopefully this resonates. You are smart. Do what you want. Try new things. Don't be afraid to fail. And don't spend so much time thinking about your options. Pick Option A and if it doesn't work out, Pick Option B, ect.    


The anxiety of worrying isn't worth it. Do it.



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I-I realize I'm late to the party but let me give you my two cents, for the hell of it.  I realize these issues may have been resolved by this point, as it has been six months since this thread was started...  but "I haven't seen it.  So it's new to me."


I'm going to parrot Red here for the most part, but here's where the originality comes in this post:  personal experience.  I am pushing thirty and faced a similar situation just a few months shy of a year ago.


The last two years of my life have been the most horrible for me because I don't feel like I've really experienced them, for a few different reasons.  I won't get into all of the reasons as some are fairly personal but the number 1 on this list was my job, working as a part-timer in the Garden Center at my local Lowes.  I worked there for three years, and outlasted every Customer Service Associate hired on aside from the one Full-Time CSA who was my senior.  At the time both my wife and I had a job, but she worked at a local hospital in their In-Patient Pharmacy, and somehow my checks were a bit heavier than hers.  She worked full-time, I only saw 20-30 Hour paychecks compared to her 80 hours.  We could flourish on what we both made and things were great, for a time, but something happened after my daughter was born that changed everything.  Wife lost her job, was fired for literally being sick following her pregnancy.  She had no prior offenses, no write-ups.  She was just cut out to make room for more "reliable" techs over calling in once.  So all the pressure, all the weight fell on me and it was not pretty.  I realized the urgency behind it and have been through the process of losing a job like this and know how long it normally takes to get back out there and start earning a paycheck again.

So I threw myself at my job and worked any shift they would give me.  I guess at the time I thought "if I prove myself, they might put me into a full-time position.  If I can make it into a full-time position everything will be fine, we won't have to worry."


Long story short, it didn't work out.  The more time I spent there the more I realized how much I hated my job.  It was like any other job in retail, but what finally broke me was the fact that they kept hiring seasonal employees and basically would move them into a full-time position instead of moving me up.  And these seasonals would last a month and then quit, for whatever reason.  It's a special kind of depression that takes hold of you when you are locked in a dead end job with seemingly no hope for advancement.  The kind of person (both physically and mentally) I was during this time was like...  a completely different person than I am.  I lost over a hundred pounds, was skin and bones.  Sometimes I see images pop up on my Facebook feed from a year ago and cannot believe how much I had let myself widdle away.  My temper flared over the stupidest things.  It was hell, within and without.


This job, and the state it had put me was one of the things that almost ruined my marriage.


But I got help.  I cut ties with Lowes and started taking care of my kids while I searched for an alternative job.  My wife got a job at a commercial pharmacy and now makes three times the amount I was bringing in (six times the amount she made at the hospital lolol).  I lost all of my babysitters shortly after so its a fairly good thing that it all had worked out like it did.  


What is the point of my rambling?  Venting mostly.


Well, moreover...  do what you feel is right, man.  Don't try to force anything if you know you aren't going to be happy doing it.  It can have severe consequences...  some you might not expect.


When it's all said and done, you have support, online and off.

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