The first week of my foray into the “real world” is over. I feel like a newborn again (not that I really recall what it felt like to be a newborn, but you get the idea.) For twelve years and then another six, I was sheltered in the womb of Mother School, blissfully ignorant of the outside world, unprepared for the shock that I would get when ejected from my warm, comfortable, sheltered life and thrust, unprepared and naked, into the cold, cruel world. Maybe newborns know this and that’s why they promptly bawl their lungs out.
I arrived in LA on September 3rd, after much driving, as I’d mentioned previously. The drive out was an exercise in the emotional rollercoaster. For years I’d been itching to get out of Iowa and here I was, finally doing it. I’d packed up all the essentials in my car (mostly personal items and nonreplaceables) and headed west, young man. As I drove though western Kansas under cover of darkness, one thought kept assailing me:
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing, Iowa boy?”
Perhaps it was the mess my body was in after a hard night of boozing or a deeply-embedded parental voice, chastising me for leaving Lawrence at 9 p.m., but whatever it was, I’d never felt so insecure and unsure of my decision. I grew up in Waterloo, Iowa, which combined with its neighbor Cedar Falls forms a community of around 110,000; I was moving from Ames, Iowa, a town of 50,000; and I was moving to Los Angeles, one of the largest cities in the world. Though I’d spent time in New York City (though never more than a week at a time) and Rome (though constrained within a few-mile radius of the Field of Mars), I’d never really done this. Was I ready to just dive right in and move, without a job lined up, to Los Angeles?
Perhaps it was the altitude, but as I drove through the sleeping city of Denver, I came close to having a panic attack. I kept reminding myself that it was just nervousness and insecurity talking, and by the time I started winding my way through the mountains, the sun rose. Perhaps it was the additional altitude combined with the massive amounts of caffeine in my system and tiredness, but the exuberance that washed over me as I caught glimpse of a crimson sunrise over the mountains was incomparable. There’s something about mountains that seems vaguely mysterious to me; coming from Iowa, we don’t get much more than rolling plains. Mountains and oceans have always carried a majesty that demands notice, for they are the stuff of music, poetry, writings, souls. They have been worshipped, feared, revered, battled. They have been named and given personalities and have killed the unwise and the innocent, the young and the old, the high and the low.
I drove through the mountains that make Colorado so famous and as I looked at them, reaching quietly to the sky, I remembered why I was moving. I was leaving the cradle of Iowa, leaving behind almost everything that I was familiar with, almost everyone that I knew and loved – and that was precisely what I needed. Iowa was a good place to grow up, but I needed somewhere else to live the next stage of my life. I’d outgrown it, mentally and emotionally. It was physically and metaphorically a place in my life that is over and that I needed to leave. There are so many things I have yet to do and discover, so many roads to explore, and I can’t keep finding myself back in the same place. Every street, every corner in Ames is steeped in six years of emotion, stress, depression, drunkenness, celebration. Old friends, new friends, an enemy or two. It was time to start fresh.
So that’s what I did. I packed my bags, left the emotional baggage in the dumpster, and started my life in Los Angeles. A few of my fears dissolved quickly, as I found myself with gainful employment within a week. Now, the first week of work is done and it looks like it’ll be good. It’s a very small firm; apart from myself, there are the two partners, another designer, and a programmer/PHP guy. The first week went well and I hope I can do some good work. One of my first tasks will be to redesign the site for the firm; once that’s done, I’ll throw you all a link.
Here’s to a new life.
Heare, hear ye, Snaggle has arrived. Paycheck to follow. I have no idea how you've supported yourself all these years, but I think that will be one of the major differences between school and work life: disposable income, how sweet it is.
by anna at September 19, 2004 4:35 PM
You found a job that fast? That's impressive. How are the living arrangements there? Did that work out too?
by MrBlank at September 20, 2004 12:58 PM
Congrats Snaggle... this sounds like it's going to be a hell of a chapter.
by Linz at September 20, 2004 3:17 PM
You know, the economy (at least with web dev) seems to be really picking up. I've had three calls in the last month to interview for jobs that I'd applied to earlier.
by mg at September 20, 2004 6:44 PM
I thought you were like, a librarian MG.
by anna at September 20, 2004 6:53 PM
So, how do those web dev jobs pay? Hmmm ...
by MrBlank at September 20, 2004 8:49 PM
Well, my masters was in "information and library science." I thought seriously about working in a library environment, but that wasn't the focus of my program. I looked at, and applied to library jobs, but where I'm working now, to answer your question MrB, I'm getting paid more than three times as much as if I'd gotten a job at New York Public Library.
by mg at September 20, 2004 9:59 PM
Congratulations Snaggle! Oh and a friend of mine is having a party in West L.A. the first week of October. Would you like to go? If so, send me an e-mail. I promise my friends don't bite... hard... if sober.
by jean at September 21, 2004 12:40 AM
Congrats Snaggle. Live it up my man. I wanna come to the party :-(
by Ezy at September 27, 2004 12:43 PM
Felizidades Snaggle! The first time I've ventured onto BS in 2.5 months (no offense to BS-- I'm in Nicaragua, and internet access is slow and I live a very bumpy 30 minutes from any internet) and I get rewarded by finding out Snaggle has a job... way to go!
P.S. My beach is still beautiful and Nicaraguan rum could make anyone an alcoholic.
by Leaffin at September 29, 2004 1:05 PM
I'm jealous Leaffin. Northern VA has just lost a little more luster.
by Ezy at September 29, 2004 1:55 PM
How is the whole job thing going Snags?
by mg at September 29, 2004 9:36 PM
just wanted to say nice site!
by free government grants at March 21, 2005 10:19 AM