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: Addition by Subtraction

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Life has made me think that taking away things actually makes me have more control.

I am someone who has a tendency to cling to things. And by cling, I refer to just sticking to something stubbornly until the bitter end. This was something very apparent with me as a child. Certain things were hard for me to let go.

For instance, I had a particular blanket I loved to death since I was a kid. I couldn’t sleep without it. I got upset and even cried when my brothers messed with it. I had that blanket so long that it started to develop holes in it over time, to the point where there was a hole at least a foot wide.

I didn’t care. It was my special blanket. The blanket had a lot of wear and tear during my childhood, eventually reaching a point where my mother did not even want to bother repairing it for me any further.  No matter what, I had developed an attachment toward it. I can admit now that I had that particular blanket even when my age hit double-digits.

Of course, it was not a tidbit I would openly share with anybody. No way was I going to do that. I was socially awkward enough, extremely introverted, I already had plenty of unique/peculiar quirks to my name depending on how you looked at it and I was not going to tell anyone I still had a security blanket.

Nonetheless, there came a point where I naturally stopped caring about the blanket. It was nothing emotional or anything like that. I just 1zf3e6c.jpgstopped caring. Plain and simple. In fact, I still recall my dad just using the particular blanket as something to wipe the car engines with, and I did not shed a tear or anything.

It was a sign I had grown up, at least in regards to something as childish as a material thing that kept me warm at night when I slept.

I don’t want to make this blog post entirely about a blanky… I do have a point here I am trying to establish.

Basically, I need to learn how to cut ties, as in sever any and all emotional feeling, toward things that aren’t beneficial for me in some way. Especially if it’s part of “figuring myself out,” I have to be willing to say sayonara to things that simply act as obstacles within the journey.

I have to be capable of saying, “I don’t give a damn about this anymore!” And then I advance forward, not looking back. I need to stop having second thoughts about crap that has delayed my growth. I must be able and willing to bypass the bullshit while staying focused on what’s ahead of me.

Anything else just hinders and delays the process even longer. Continue reading

The 54th Deadline: Emptiness

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It’s been clear to me that certain voids are preventing me from feeling whole as a person.

Life is wonderful, but it also has a lot of bad stuff to it.

Now mind you, I wonder if it’s the gloomy side in me talking, but lately I haven’t been able to feel “happy” as much as I should. Mood swings aside, I feel like I have fallen into another one of my various ruts. After going through this song and dance a few times before, am I more prepared to deal with it now?

I am a survivor by all means. I am a survivor in the sense that I endured, mustered up some semblance of courage in the face of personal defeat and kept going. No matter how rough it got, I had to hang in there.

Well, I just had to. It’s my only life to live. Still, it’s not like things just got any easier per se. I just got stronger. But even with extra strength to my name, I find myself feeling mighty weak, almost ineffective at times.

It disheartens me. It makes me think, “What’s the point?” on those particular challenging days. This last week has been making me feel crappy about it all, and I don’t want to sound like a Negative Nancy.

At the end of the day, I write on this blog to vent. It’s my necessary outlet. Otherwise, I would just end up bottling feelings I shouldn’t be bottling. I would let certain emotions fester into something toxic, something that ends up poisoning me until I will face literal health problems.

Loss of appetite.

Loss of interest.

Loss of energy.

Loss of feeling motivated to, well, enjoy life.

I have had all of this and more, and it feels like I am experiencing a “fun-sized” version of these symptoms. God forbid I get the full package at this rate.

With this in mind, I can’t help but feel… on my own so so speak. I feel like I need to talk to someone else about this, but it’s hard to get people to lend you their ears when it feels like just a gesture to them more than a therapeutic practice.

I get it.

I lost too many friends over this depression and whatnot. I know I was not Mr. Popular prior to all of this self-imploding, but dang… I valued what friends I had.

Having gone down that path before, I don’t want to repeat the same mistakes again. I should have gone to a professional for that kind of stuff. I needed to talk to someone whose job is to listen to the kind of problems I was dealing with back then.

I became too dependent on those phone calls, e-mails and Skype conversations about everything messing me up. I was too needy. I drove people away from me gradually over time.

And most of those friends are gone by now because of it. They have moved on with their lives. I find myself just struggling to keep myself intact, let alone position myself toward success.

Chances are, I have to admit, they don’t even remember me anymore. And that hurts. I am probably nothing more than a distant memory at this point.

Sigh, this just makes me think I need to re-evaluate everything I have, and see what’s helping or hurting my progress.

I need a change of pace. That’s a given.

I need something to clear up some of the chaos from within, and maybe then I can find some hope to salvage myself before I fall back into that abyss of misery and self-loathing.

0da55c52f8f0833ae256afae59b35c0dThere is only so much I can do as an individual. I am not Superman. I am only human, after all.

I know I have my flaws.

I realize I am difficult to work with for a variety of reasons.

But my goodness, I am a mess. And I know it.

I know I am falling victim to my own frustrations.

I am scared. I am scared that this is just another one of life’s tests that will make or break me.

It’s never easy. It’s never easy, huh?

At least, for me anyway. Continue reading

The 54th Deadline: Priorities

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There are many times where I wonder if my priorities are in the right place. At all.

It has dawned on me lately that my personal priorities aren’t as concrete as I would like. Evidently, I am scatterbrained in many regards. And with this in mind, I have to be more of an adult and realize what I want, especially in the next stages of this complicated process.

The other day really hit me where it counted. I was cashing my paycheck, and then I just kept thinking about how I was nowhere where I wanted to be in terms of the bank account numbers.

It was a bit depressing to think about for me.

I have worked my tail off for this past year and then some, both physically at work while also trying to sift through my convoluted and unpredictable emotional state.

And what do I have to show for it?

Well, for what it’s worth, I have picked up a lot of independence as an individual. But independence aside, it just seems like everything is further away than I had envisioned. Perhaps I am too caught up in the fantasy of waking up one day, my money problems completely gone and with the freedom to do whatever the heck I want.

Of course, reality always makes its presence known.

Mind you, I am more than aware that I shouldn’t expect to be like well-off at this stage in the game. I have a ways to go. A long way. But still, is it not normal to experience frustrations linked to one’s progress or lack of said progress in general? I certainly think it is normal.

This paycheck-to-paycheck existence is commonplace. Not everyone is meant to be millionaires. Not everyone is going to have nice things.

That’s life. We aren’t equal, and we never shall be, but I believe we all have the power and capabilities of changing our own circumstances through sheer willpower and keeping our eye on the prize.

But again, it’s tough. If anyone can attain that notion of “success,” we’d all be happily married to our soulmates, we’d all drive around in nice vehicles and we’d all have this and that and even more…

I do not hate money or anything. It’s just clear that money is extremely important in more ways than one.

Gosh, if I had more money, I would make sure I had every random expense paid for, I would pay back the people who have helped me through thick and thin, I would use my money to fund my dreams and, above all else, I would use my money to make myself H-A-P-P-Y.

At the end of the day, no matter what number is showing in your bank account, money ultimately should impact one’s general happiness. I make enough money to get by, but I never have enough to, say, go on a nice vacation to another place.

Actually, I have never even lived outside of the state I live in for my whole life. I have only been to two other states my entire life. I have never even been to Canada…

And why? Because of money.
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The 54th Deadline: Tagline Transition

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There comes a point where life forces you to transition toward the next stage. What matters now is for me to figure out what that next stage entails.

“Complete the process.”

This will be the next tagline I will use for this blog and other things.

Lately, I have been racking my brain over what few words I want to define myself with, and “Remember the name” was not quite fitting for my current situation and then some.

I am not a finished product yet. I am incomplete. But to be unfinished is not a bad thing. As long as I keep moving forward, as long as I keep putting the pieces together, the process will see its completion at some point.

It’s an inevitable conclusion to everything. It just takes time. And waiting for so long can stir up some feelings of impatience. Rightfully so, I realize I seemingly flip-flop between progress and setbacks. It is by far a frustrating crawl toward where I want to be.

I make a few steps forward, and then something either delays or pushes me back to the previous checkpoint. However, this is where resilience comes into play. This is where a sense of tenacity becomes that more important.

This tagline of “Complete the process” isn’t something revolutionary or anything of the sort, but I wanted words to live by as I sift through the positives and negatives in my life at this very moment.

On one hand, I am grateful that I am alive, living independently and able to have some semblance of hope about what I want to undertake next. Conversely, though, I am constantly struggling with myself to muster up the necessary gumption to break through to the next stage.

It is not that I lack willpower or anything like that. You just have to play the cards you’re dealt with, and sometimes you lack an ideal hand to win at a given moment. So what do you do? Win or lose, you keep playing. You just have to keep playing. It’s an odds thing. You play a large quantity of games until something favorable happens. It’s just gambling. And by the way, I suck at gambling.

Perhaps you can attribute to how I am someone who does not take many risks by default, and so I often opt for the safer route, as you will. Regardless, I think being cautious and wary of screwing up keeps me honest. Otherwise, I could have been in real hot water by now.

I am not in a position where I can make a great leap of faith and possibly reach my next destination in life ahead of schedule. No shortcuts here. That’s for sure.

Instead, I just think I am going to keep doing this step-by-step, usually grueling, journey. It will take awhile, folks. But I am willing to see what is waiting for me in the end.

Heck, I am able to do this because life threw me a bone many years ago when I was down in the dumps.

This is why I believe in life’s second (and countless other) chances. It’s why I call this blog series The 54th Deadline. I believe I definitely embody the notion that life will give you more opportunities to get it right. To those of you who think it’s always a one-and-done deal, think again.
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The 54th Deadline: Recipe

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I wish life was more obvious about what steps I should take for the next phase in this ongoing process. I have a ways to go before I have the finished product that I want.

In many respects, I am someone who is seeking life’s recipes.

Just like how cooking saved my life years ago, it’s time I figured out the right kind of steps I need to take for the next phase. We follow recipes because we expect a certain result to happen if we carry out a particular sequence of steps to a T.

If it’s a winning formula, why not?

We need direction. We need guidance. We all need some form of a hint as to what we should get done and how we should go about it.

Otherwise, you never know what will happen. Surprises, sometimes anyway, can be devastating.

I know firsthand in more ways than one.

A lot of this blog’s existence does stem from a lot of highs and lows, or more like a constant accumulation of new ones to sort out. It took a lot of trial-and-error scenarios before I started to get back (somewhat) on track.

For me, I was a lost soul in so many regards. I had no inkling of where to go, what to do and I was on the verge of shutting down completely.

The process has been grueling. The personal challenges have tested my willpower and resolve. At the end of the day, I survive, but I never thrive because I just always feel like I am barely getting through it all.

It would be wonderful if I could get the end result that I truly desire: an attainment of what I would call “success” and all its glory. I want to be successful because I think we all should strive for our individual potential. Why underachieve? Why settle for less?

If there is something I hold dear to my heart, it’s the notion that hard work (eventually) pays off at some point. I will never ever change my mind about this.

I recall me thinking this even when I was just a kid in grade school. I still remember the other kids who clearly had no direction in life, no target to aim for in the long haul and I didn’t want to get sucked into that way of thinking. I did not want to adopt a crappy attitude, if you have to label it as something.

Yes, it’s a bad attitude to have by all means. People who don’t have the right mix of emotions toward a given thing are destined to not accomplish much, if anything at all.

Those other kids just showed up to class because they had to. They had no intention of doing well in school. It was just time to waste before they (hopefully) graduated at some point.

I literally thought I was going to be better than them easily at one point. Little did I know, being too prideful when I had yet to see the real world for myself proved quite humbling later on.

When you think you are going to be an instant, newcomer hit in the journalism world… only to be subjected to long-term unemployment and living in your parents’ basement for an extended period of time, you wake up.

And by wake up, it was like I finally saw what reality was for the first damn time in my life with eyes wide open.

Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t the most determined kid in school, but at least I knew I had to get good grades. It was something I did right, for what it’s worth.

I just lacked a lot of maturity in many departments, and this ultimately would spell out disaster for me down the road.

Fast-forward to my current state of affairs.

I am still working as a cook. I have improved a lot. I have grown stronger.

Check out what I made for lunch yesterday. I posted it on Twitter because I was so proud of what I put together. Continue reading

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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