I’m packing up my things, ready to start moving in to a new apartment this weekend. At first, I loved the place I live now. It’s within walking distance of Kroger, my office and the park. It’s near enough to downtown Savannah that it’s a short drive or a slightly longer walk to most of the places I’d meet up with friends. There’s a nice-looking church just across the street.
It’s also on the edge of one of those zones where Savannah isn’t quite as pretty. I apologize to anyone giving me a ride home at night because it looks like they’re dropping me off at a meeting for some shady business. The people who wander beneath my window, shouting and slurring things that make me cringe —some are on the phone, some are drunk, some are singing along with a really explicit song, some are probably high — do not make it look any better. I can’t yet tell the difference between fireworks and gunshots, but I’ve learned to hit the deck the moment either go off.
Compare to the place I’m headed: gated access, just built (I’m actually going to be the first resident in my apartment), surrounded by local law enforcement buildings. It’s also about 10-15 minutes outside of downtown Savannah. I’m sure there’s another sketchy area around it somewhere, but probably not anywhere I’d be visiting on a daily basis.
I had a new dorm room every year in college. This place felt like a dorm in so many ways, and the dorm has only ever been “home” in conversation because it’s more natural to say, “I’ll do it when I get home,” than, “I’ll do it when I get back to the dorm.”
I’m not sure how long I’ll be in the next place, but it’s promising enough that, right now, I’d like to stay there for longer than a year. I can always do better, but it’s good for right now.
The same can be said about jobs. I’ve yet to have a job where I didn’t consider quitting at least twice a week, and that includes my job as a writer and blogger for myself. But no matter where my pendulum happens to be swinging on the love/hate relationship with work, I have a hard time letting go of any job.
My first job at the restaurant ended abruptly in my third year when we were all laid off. I went in to work on Wednesday night and my boss told me Friday was my last day and Sunday the restaurant was closing. The actual owner of the restaurant never paid anyone their last paychecks. He owes me about $97 and change.
Just a little over a year ago, in December 2014, I quit the movie theater. This was before I even heard about the internship I ended up having in spring. I cut myself off so I wouldn’t have a safety net to drop into if I couldn’t find a job by graduation — kind of a dumb idea, but desperation is a good motivator for me. Not too long after that, I retired from my job at the school newspaper. Almost exactly a year ago, actually; the current staff just had their retirement party over the weekend. I only left because I was graduating a few months later. And when I got my internship, I couldn’t continue my work at the paper, anyway.
That love/hate pendulum is still swinging in my current job. My life as a professional used to inspire a lot of blog posts. Now that I work with people who actually read my blog, I stay away from work-inspired content. Positive, negative, neutral, barely related — I stay away from it all. It’s hard to publicly chronicle my developing career as a writer when the current stage of that career is lightly seasoned with legal documents and paranoia. I still haven’t lost that desperate mentality that says, “If I lose this job, I lose everything.”
It would be stupid to claim that I could get another job with no trouble at all. It would also be stupid to imagine that pendulum not swinging over every other job I have for the rest of my life. Whether I quit, retired or got laid off, it was never a surprise that the job ended. I’m never going to not cry about it, but every job I have is going to end at some point.
Except for me being a writer and a storyteller. If I get that right, I’ll still be doing it long after I’m dead.