The 54th Deadline: Talent

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“We are all respectively great at something, so have a conversation with others because talent talks.”

I firmly believe we are all destined in this universe to be “good” at something, whatever that may be. It can be singing, dancing, writing or whatever. I do not think everyone is meant to be good at everything, as this logically does not make sense.

We all are supposed to specialize if you use this train of thought. And by specializing, I mean we are supposed to hone in and nurture that which is appropriate for us. Again, whatever that may be.

Sure, we all would like to dabble in more things and expand our horizons. We all would like to try some things to see if we can be at least decent. That’s fine. But to achieve true mastery of a craft, to the point where it can be deemed a “talent,” goes into a different threshold altogether.

Sure, for me as an example, I picked up cooking over the years. Both out of genuine curiosity and as a necessity to save myself from a bad situation or two, cooking became a random wild card out of this deck of cards called life.

By all means, I would say I can cook now. And my ‘can’ these days definitely reflects a lot of personal perseverance and keeping my passion strong toward this culinary stuff. I legitimately, though pleasantly, surprise myself when I really pour my heart and soul into what I am doing.

In this case, it’s on a plate.

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I am decent in a lot of ways, but I have a lot to improve on if I ever want to be deemed a “talented” cook, let alone the real goal of being called a proper chef. As a result, I just have to keep trying to learn as much as I can, no matter how long it takes, when it comes to this cooking art.

After all, you just have to keep an open mind. Otherwise, you plateau yourself because you set these mental limitations. You don’t want to peak too early, right?

I think this is truly the mistake I made years ago in all kinds of facets. Basically, I put the ceiling above myself too low. I thought I was ready and knew everything I needed to know, but it is good to keep yourself always invested and willing to go that extra mile, so to speak.

I recall back in the early years of college when I thought I knew “a lot” about English stuff, like grammar and vocabulary. Turns out, and this truly shocked me on an emotional level, I was quite average compared to some other kids. Sure, I was more than above average when compared to a regular student, but I met some really talented people who could run circles around me when it came to the English language.

This was all so humbling. I really needed this trip to to the bakery to eat a whole portion of humble pie. For me, it was like someone smashed my face right into the humble pie, forcing me to gobble it up and accept that… I was not that good… At least, for that particular year in college.

But I showed some tenacity. I showed some heart. I just kept working at it, and soon enough – I became a beast when it came to English spelling and grammar. Yeah, I know. Dorky by all means. But that was what I was.

Again, you just have to hone in and nurture the stuff that you are appropriately competent at, even if it could be something random like basket weaving or shoe shining. Play to your strengths, if you want another way of looking at it. Continue reading

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The 54th Deadline: Composure

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“People who can keep their cool no matter what can persevere through anything.”

As I have grown older, I have realized I have always lacked a lot of composure as a person.

Composure is something I wish I had more of, in abundance, especially when life forced me into a corner and made me rethink everything. The fact is, if I could have composed myself a lot better as my world was falling apart, everything would have certainly played out differently.

More than five years ago, as the effects of long-term unemployment began to sink in, I simply crumbled.

I was living at home with my parents.

I had no job.

My bank account was depleting.

I just played a lot of video games to pass the time, just hoping things would magically change overnight.

In reality, what I really needed was to compose myself. I needed to bring everything back together, evaluate the problems and then deal with them accordingly.

Yeah, I was going through a rough patch. Back then, I attempted to justify it. But whether it was rational or not, I was in a tough spot. I let the crap pile on, even though I had all of the tools to hack away at the base before it all built up any further.

Instead, I was a weak fool. An incompetent, immature and cowardly clown who had no business trying to get his life together if I couldn’t handle the early signs of an emotional meltdown.

My problems grew more and more out of control. It would be a long time before I actually, and I mean genuinely, began to “heal” from the pain and whatnot.

And this was all because of a huge lack of composure on my part.

Just thinking back throughout my life, I wish I could be just a bit cooler here and there. I wouldn’t have had to stumble around, never completely maturing from the social anxiety-riddled kid who was always so shy and hesitant to be bold once and awhile.

I regret that now, but it can’t be helped. That’s all in the past. And the current me has all of the necessary motivation to rewrite the script. I don’t have to let things play out this way if I can at least influence some variables in my life.

For example, anger was something really getting out of control in my life. Continue reading

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.
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.
Continue reading

The 54th Deadline: Pressure

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The 54th Deadline: Life often forces some pressure your way to encourage immediate action.


More than five years ago, I was a loser by all means. I never would admit to it back then, but one could call me that now and I wouldn’t get mad at them for it.

That’s what I was. A loser. A bonafide loser. But that doesn’t mean I had to remain one. That’s the key. You can always change.

I was a new college grad, unemployed, just sleeping on a mattress in my parents’ basement. My laptop, my salvation at the time, sat on the desk where the old sewing machine used to be.

Every day, it was often the same routine with little variation.

I woke up. I got ready and all of that jazz. I then parked my butt in front of my laptop. At first, I was genuinely productive for a long while. I applied to many job listings that matched my degree. Granted, that was a rough time to attempt becoming a journalist, let alone getting some small gig to tide me over.

Things are always hard when you’re starting out, after all. The journalism job market at the time was sketchy and very unfriendly toward a lot of new people trying to get their journalism feet wet.

Anyway, the initial months were a constant blur of monotony. I took the summer off to “recharge” from my senior year in college, but the truth is I had a lot of built-up depression systems that lingered after college graduation. I was just in major denial of it.

Regardless, I was hellbent on getting my dream job after summer. I applied and applied, and most of my replies seemed rather pointless. I felt like I was wasting my time, but I knew I still had to apply with some semblance of a chance that things would pan out the way I had wanted.

But what was I to do in the meantime? Because I was so thoroughly weary and exhausted by the time my senior year of college ended, I did in fact needed the rest. So I passed the time mostly on my computer, wasting away hours upon hours while I hoped my “feelers” as you would call them were supposedly working their magic.

I played a lot of video games. An unhealthy amount, no less. I just played a LOT of video games. So many hours. So unproductive.

Alas, I wish my resumes could have told me somehow that their searches were to no avail. Potential employers don’t have to tell you they passed on you. Heck no. Most just ignore you. It’s like you never sent anything to them at all. You become just another blip on their radar they don’t notice. Another message in their inbox they might as well put in the spam folder.

Unless you had a gleaming resume or prior connections, many college grads were basically screwed. I was no different. Unfortunately, I should have known how ill-prepared I was to face the real world at the time.

It would take about two months after summer before I got my first real interview for a potential job, but that’s a different story I have discussed before way in the past. That led to a lot of terrible things for me personally, which added further self-destruction to my name as that particular series of events unfolded.

I might touch up on that later, but for now I want to focus on the notion of “pressure” and why I need it more than anything else in my life at the moment. Continue reading

The 54th Deadline: Blur

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The 54th Deadline: Time sure flies by fast. A lot quicker than a lot of people may realize. Poof.


I feel like the gap between blog posts has grown gradually wider and wider, in a bad way, of course.

At the end of the day, this blog does in fact remain very important to me. It’s high up on the list of priorities, but I still find myself basically neglecting it as I try to handle the day-to-day operations of, well, surviving.

I used to blog a lot more often. All of the time, for that matter. I didn’t care at first who read what I wrote. I am sure I have had my share of ramblings, but I have also had a lot of blog posts I genuinely enjoyed putting together. It wasn’t about the viewership or anything like that in the beginning. I just wanted an outlet, just something to release some of the excess feelings out and it did help. It really helped a lot.

Still, time has flown by to this day. It’s been a blur. Everything has just felt like it all happened all too fast for me to notice.

Heck, a year ago to this point, I just moved into the place I am living now for literally no more than a few days. That was a very scary time for a lot of reasons.

Unemployed.

Unsure of what I was going to do.

Limited money in the bank.

Didn’t know many people in town.

It was just me starting a new chapter in my life.

Fast-forward to nowadays, and a lot of things are heading in the right direction.

Employed.

Have a car.

Got a cat as a pet.

Somewhat more stability in terms of finances. I am not rich by any means, but I at least have some cash to spend on extra stuff beyond the necessities.

I am certainly missing a lot of random things that would be nice, but I constantly tell myself that everything will come in due time. At least, I hope that’s the case. One can only wait for so long.

This blur-like pace that life makes you undergo really makes you think: time definitely is precious.

Believe me. As someone who can barely keep up with the now, it’s a wondrous idea to fathom making every second count. Sure, in a fantasy world perhaps, but obligations exist in reality. I can’t just not work for the sake of it. I need to hold a job down to pay the bills and make sure I don’t starve.

From this standpoint, things are more than fine. I survive, but I never thrive. And I really want to make the latter more prevalent. Continue reading

The 54th Deadline: Transitions

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The 54th Deadline: Change is inevitable. I can accept this fact now with complete readiness.


This is a peculiar thing to admit on so many levels, but I have accepted I am abnormally a late bloomer in many regards. Certain feelings and elements about myself, over the years, were essentially still in development. Or so to speak.

My naive self before I graduated school thought I could remain the way I was: immature, overly shy, socially awkward and so forth. I legitimately thought things would work out in the end.

They didn’t. Not at all.

And that’s why I fell apart at the seams. That’s why I spent a good year and a half just trying to hang in there. I was completely and utterly destroyed from within, and my only real choices were to let myself self-destruct even further or do something positive to get myself back in order.

Obviously, I opted for the latter. It was really hard at first. It was one of the most challenging ordeals I had ever put myself through, but it was all necessary. Going back to the late bloomer thing, I guess you could say I somehow reverted back even more, maturity-wise, as a person.

Essentially, I regressed mentally in a lot of ways. I was no longer that young adult in his early 20s anymore. I felt like an overgrown kid whose physical age said more than 20, but in my mind it was like probably being a 16-year-old teenager again. It sure felt like I was someone in high school again who didn’t have a clue about the “real world” yet.

These days, I have a lot to think about in regards to what has happened and how I am going to bounce back in the long term. There are many aspects about myself that elude me, yet I am extremely aware of one thing: I’m changing.

I am changing in so many ways. I am going through so many inner transitions that I can’t even keep up with them all. Heck, even as I type this blog post out, I can feel that I am an entirely different person.

Years ago, I could write this whole blog post out and “feel” out the words I am typing out on my keyboard, but I can’t quite do that anymore. Not in the same manner. I once was able to tell if a word was spelled right or wrong based simply on typing it out.

Nope. That “power” isn’t here to this day. Let’s just say I find myself double-checking my spelling a lot more than usual. The prior me, the one in college anyway, was capable of that all-star editor stuff. Not this current me.

But you know what?
Continue reading