What’s in a Name

 

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So, why “The Everything Kid?”

I briefly mention it in my very first post on here, but I’ve never really elaborated as to why I adopted this moniker or whatever. Let me give a bit of quick history on this blog and the time before it.

Back in 2011, I graduated from college, as people who go to college tend to eventually do, and moved from Georgia to Florida with my now wife, Tee. She had been offered a job down here for a property company, and I was not about to be separated from the much cooler person that makes me cool by association, so we made the move together. I spent a few months down here hopelessly unemployed. That resulted in a daily struggle of trying to find someone to hire me while also battling my conflicted aspirations. I found that the hardest thing for me was deciding what I wanted to do with life. I watched as many of my friends from school announced graduate school acceptances or found work in a career field directly related to their field of study. I had decided not to head into graduate school, as honestly furthering my degree just didn’t appeal to me. However, narrowing down what jobs to pursue was much more complex than I once expected. The reality was that I had never spent much time thinking about an actual career. What sort of job would I want to do for years and decades? What sort of company would I be fine identifying myself with for that amount of time? I had never really gone down that rabbit hole, and I found when I did begin to think that way, one problem emerged: I want to do too much.

That isn’t to say that I’m a freakin’ font of action, quite the opposite. When I look at my aspirations, I often find myself afraid of making a choice. I worry that if I pick a course of action, I’ll miss out on a separate course that would have been the perfect path for me to take. I was afraid of regretting my choice, spending years developing myself down a career path just to realize I always wanted to be something else. This fear made job hunting tough and absolutely wrecked my confidence in the whole process. Generally, this time of my life was fairly bleak. I spent months trying to find work and struggling with defining who I was and who I wanted to be. It didn’t help that I was so very used to working. In High School, I worked odd jobs, did chores around the house, worked a concession stand for a bit, and eventually landed a job at Moe’s my senior year. The college I selected had a work study program, so you were required to have a job freshman year. I spent two years in the food service part of that school, becoming a supervisor for my second year there. After that I went on to both be a writing tutor, a producer of a music-based show for the school’s TV station, and an actor in a show on that same station. In other words, I went from busy to having nearly nothing going on almost instantly and it absolutely sank my mood.

[Real quick, I just want to note that jobs weren’t really flowing in for people who stayed up in the Atlanta area at this point. Most of my friends took quite some time to find work, and many actually ended up at positions they had previously had, as well as taking on retail and food service jobs they had done over previous summers. Many of the people who actually DID find career focused jobs had moved out of state. Part of the reason Tee and I moved to Florida was that the market in Atlanta was fairly dry. We had been applying for months for entry-level work up there and came up empty. So, we started looking in Florida, and that was when Tee got a hit. Honestly, best decision we could have made.]

As days ticked by, I would spend my time sticking to a routine: Wake up, make coffee, help Tee wake up, start job hunting, take a lunch break, do creative work, do chores, Tee gets home, eat dinner, chill. Every day passed mostly the same and for the first bit of the summer I was good at keeping to the schedule. Then time continued to pass, months went by without work and my routine began to shatter. My time job hunting would be spent panicking that I may make a wrong choice in my career. My creative time would be spent staring off into nothing, wrestling with the decision of what sort of writing I wanted to do. I was lost and tangled, caught in a cloud of fear that I may choose one of the wrong aspirations. I was applying to everything at this point: Chef jobs, writing jobs, editing jobs, camera-based jobs, administrative assistants, sales, marketing. I  had a period where I was looking into becoming a cop, had another where I was looking to get into construction. Each application brought with it a joyous anticipation that I might hear back as well as a shattering fear that I might hear back. I was torn. I was all out of faith. I felt cold, shamed, lying naked on the floor. I was going full Imbruglia.

At some point, an idea emerged: If I wanted to do everything, why don’t I?

I came up with an idea for a YouTube series (yes, that’s the point I was at) where I would attempt to try anything and everything. Obviously, money would be an issue for most things, so I’d start small and work my way up. I was thinking shark tanks, driving construction equipment, shadowing people at difficult jobs, cave diving, impromptu pillow fights, flash mobs, just absolutely anything and everything I could. I would do whatever, attempt anything, learn new things, drive myself forward. The idea was that if I started to get enough views, I would let my audience pick the next thing. I adopted the name “The Everything Kid” and locked down all the appropriate accounts.

And then that idea fell away.

I got a job, finally, just at Best Buy. However, I was the top selling individual for one of the three months I was there before I got hired into leasing at Tee’s company. From there, I went on to become a property manager in less than a year at the company. I’ve mentioned my experience with that multiple times here, but overall the experience in that position was fairly negative. It resulted in me asking my local comic shop/gaming store if they had any openings and getting hired there. Initially my plan was just to work there a bit so I had more time to write and do video projects. However, eventually the General Manager position opened up ,and I took it. I wanted to help the shop grow and sure enough, next year we’ll be moving into a larger space. We’ve seen sales increase, events increase, online presence increase. It’s been an incredible experience and I’m super proud of my shop. I don’t know if I’ll be here forever, but for the time being I’m excited to see it grow into the most amazing shop in the nation. So there you go. Brief history of me.

So what about the idea of “The Everything Kid?” Why did I stick with that name? Well, even though the YouTube idea never really happened, and I mean, come on…. That idea would be tough for someone with an actual budget. How was I, the guy eating frozen black bean burritos daily to save money supposed to just woosh off into a shark cage? It was just not gonna happen.

But it wasn’t just hopeless desperation. The idea stuck with me. It taught me about something deeply rooted in myself, something that ties all these aspirations together: Experience is the most important thing to me. I don’t really care about material stuff. I’m not really worried about having the most money. I’ve honestly come to find that it’s experiences in life that matter most. Doing things and achieving things that make and keep you happy. Tee and I no longer buy each other Christmas gifts. Instead, we make sure to have a trip around the holidays, preferably somewhere we’ve never been. When I socialize with people, I prefer to do active, engaging things that make stories (going out places, hitting the Disney parks, playing games). For me, that’s the stuff that matters and that’s what ties that tangle of aspirations together. I can fight the fear of picking the wrong thing if I just accept that all things tie back to my key to happiness: The experience.

So I stuck with the name. I still am the Everything Kid, but less because I can’t make up my mind. Essentially, the name should actually be “The Everything I can in the Time I Have Kid,” but that just doesn’t roll off the tongue. I still honestly hold aspirations that someday I’ll be trying all sorts of things on a YouTube channel where people watch my unfunny ass be afraid of sharks, but who knows if that will come to pass. In the end it will be something I am passionate about that helped motivate the direction of my life. It taught me an important lesson and helped me rationalize the one thing I need to stay happy.

“Haha, look at that young dude that gave up on finding a career because it was too hard and now claims he doesn’t like money.” No, yeah, I get it. I’m not saying what I’ve got going on here isn’t suspect. It’s easy to paint it as just another lazy millenial who didn’t plan well enough and is now trying to rationalize the failure in some  way. And I’m not saying I wouldn’t appreciate more money coming in. Heck, it would make travel easier. But honestly, that kind of stuff just isn’t my focus and I’m not going to sacrifice my happiness for it. It is for some people, and that’s fine too. My answer is not the one true answer, and that’s my final point: one way just DOES NOT work for everyone. I get by in life by experiencing stuff. It’s an addiction but also a drive. I see tons of movies, play video games, read comics and actual grown-up books. I travel and get outside when I can. I still have things that bite at me that I want to do, and I will someday. But I understand that for others being number one in their field is where their happiness lies, and that’s fine. For some people it may be that big house or nice car that they choose to identify with, and that’s totally cool. Being happy in the fruits of your labor is right, just like being happy in trying new things is right, or being happy in what you already have is right. Contrary to popular belief, nobody has control over your success but you: You define it and control the outcome. Set yourself up to succeed by setting your goal for happiness where you actually want it and not where the world tells you it should be.

I guess the takeaway is that sometimes we avoid the aspects of ourselves that truly define who we are. We may see something and say “wow, this particular train of thought causes me extreme anxiety” or “Oh I couldn’t possibly quit my job/ start this hobby/ break up with this person/ be with this person/ etc.” Sometimes, it just takes approaching those shadowy areas of our mind that we try to push down because they don’t fit the straight-forward career oriented map of life. You have to lean down and look at these areas closely. Find the root that ties them deep into your happiness. Instead of saying “Why do I have this thought or drive” instead ask “Why DON’T I?” Why am I avoiding this particular job? Why am I still where I am? Why don’t I get out and meet people more? Why am I so shy? Why am I afraid? We are complex, unique individuals, and it’s important we remember that when defining our success and happiness. We can choose to take what’s fed to us, or we can carve our own path. Honestly as long as we end the journey with a smile on our face, what’s the harm in our decision?

Experience life your own way.

It’s the only one you’ll ever have.

~C

 

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