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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Year Twenty-Three: Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!

And that's about the time she walked away from me
Nobody likes you when you're 23
And you still act like you're in freshman year
What the hell is wrong with me?
My friends say I should act my age
What's my age again?
What's my age again?
     - Blink 182

Of course, that's not to say that I was acting anything but my age at 23 years old.  But let's just say that the age of 23 was one of the more...complex times of my life, filled with so many changes that I had a really hard time trying to keep up with them all.

That's particularly why I call year twenty-three the year that everything changed.  Because it did. 

It was like everything was coming at me all at once, and I had absolutely no idea what to expect next.  Sometimes it was exciting, and other times I wanted to press the pause button.

I'll talk about that in a moment.

For now, let's see what was happening in the world during the time that I turned twenty-three.  Consider it the soundtrack/television show/epic blockbuster of the craziest year of my life.

#1 SONG THE WEEK OF 5/18/2004

2004 was an incredible year for African-American artists.  All the songs that hit #1 that year were all recorded by them!  And 2004 was a fantastic year for Usher.  Not only did he have a huge smash single with "Yeah!", but he is one of the few artists to replace himself on the top of the charts!  His song "Burn" hit #1 the week of May 22!  I have to admit, I liked "Yeah!" better.


I would love to comment on this movie, but I have never seen it.  So, I'll just go ahead and say that it made $46 million dollars its opening weekend.

"American Idol"

Sigh...I can see this being a trend for television.  Yes, American Idol was the #1 show of the season.  That was the year that Fantasia Barrino won the coveted title.  It's just too bad that Jennifer Hudson eclipsed her success and won an Academy Award.  I can't even remember the last record Fantasia released.

Now, twenty-three was a rather intense year, and looking back on it, it's a wonder I survived it at all.  Lots of changes.  Too many changes to keep up with.

I honestly don't even know where to start.  I guess I'll do the divide and conquer approach.

Twenty-three was the year that I held no less than four different jobs.  Though, three of them were paying jobs, so I suppose that it was worth it.  The first job was getting hired on at a daycare center at a well-established community hub (I got the job through a program called Job Connect, and used my volunteer work at my old elementary school as a reference).  And, well, I have to say that while I loved the kids, and learned a lot from them...I couldn't stand the vast majority of the staff that worked there.  They seemed to have chips on their shoulders, and they sort of froze me out of a lot of the activities.  I wonder if it had to do with the fact that I was male?  Who can say, really?

The thing that really turned me off of that place was the fact that I heard some of the people who worked there actually making fun of the children who were enrolled in the daycare program.  Even though they were talking about the children away from them, it still rubbed me the wrong way.  But, since I was only there on a temporary basis, I figured that I would at least stick it out.  Besides, I needed the job experience.  But you can bet your bottom dollar that I would not enroll any children in that daycare program anytime soon!  It was a good experience because of the kids, but I hated the politics behind the job.  More professionalism could have been an asset.

After that position ended, I returned to my volunteer job for at least a few more weeks.  That was always fun.

Then I had another Job Connect placement at another daycare centre, which went a little better, but while I admit that I do love working with children, the two placements helped me come to the decision that it really wasn't for me. 

And, this brings us to December 2004, when I was hired at my current position as a store standards associate.

(Spoiler alert:  You will be hearing more about that in the next blog entry.)

What else happened at 23?

Oh, well, I also lived in three different places at 23.  I had to leave the first place because the sewage system kept malfunctioning, and it was becoming uninhabitable.  (Now you see why I had so much stress back then).  So for three months I moved in with my older sister's family before finding the place where I am currently living.  A place that was fine for the time being, but am now desperately trying to flee.  I'm sure I'll have a story about that in a future blog entry as well.

Twenty-three was also the year that I threw my back out.  And, let me tell you.  I do NOT recommend it.

And for the life of me, I cannot even remember how I ended up doing it.  One day, I was fine, and the next, I was walking with a kink in my back so strong that I had to walk sideways.  It was as if I was a real life penguin, it ached so bad.  And to make matters worse, the incident happened right around the time I was working one of my Job Connect placements.  So uncomfortable to try and explain to a bunch of 3-6 year olds why you had to walk so slowly and why you couldn't keep up with them.

In the end, I had no choice but to get a prescription for muscle relaxants, as after two weeks, there was no improvement whatsoever.  It took a while, but the pain eventually went away, and I was fine after that.  But let's just say this.  Don't ever throw your back out.  It hurts.

I also think that twenty-three was a complicated year as well because I was coming to terms with everything that had happened over the last few years.  I was out of school, but still owed the money from the experience.  It was a harsh lesson to learn, but learn it I did.  I also came to terms with the fact that my life had taken on a whole lot of twists and turns - some of which I was prepared for, but other times I was anything but - and I did my best to try and navigate myself through it all. 

Four jobs, three different homes, and a back injury in one year would be enough for anyone to go crazy, and believe me, it was a very stressful time in my life.  But I got through it, and ultimately, I think that I became a lot stronger and more prepared for the uncertainty that life had in store for me over the next few years. 

So, yes...23 was a year in which I struggled, but I never gave up and ended off that year on a good note.

Coming up tomorrow, year 24 - the year that I never wanted to see another shopping cart ever again. 

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