2020 - WTF

So, here we are in the last week of a year that, to put it mildly, was a total catastrophe for me and a countless number of others.  I’ve had rough years before, but this one totally knocked me on my ass.  And it started out so well, too.  January and February were looking pretty nice.  I was living in Fort Collins, Colorado, had a place of my own, finally was able to save up enough money to buy a car, and started being able to make friends outside of work.  It all came to a crashing halt on February 21st when I was let go from my job.  It’s a memory that has continued to haunt me over the last few months, because I didn’t even remotely see it coming, and it devastated my life in ways that I’m still feeling now.  I had a full time job with benefits, cool perks like traveling around the country, and sometimes in a private jet - that was really incredible.   

As I sit here right now, I’m going to be getting ready, soon, to go to a temporary contract job that doesn’t pay much, but it’s the first actual job I’ve had since that day.  The days that have passed since then have seen us all trying to stay careful during a contagious virus, and so while I’m grateful to have been able to move back in with my parents, I felt like I was falling off of a cliff in the worst possible time, and under circumstances that led me to my very first major anxiety attack.  I may put another entry together for that harrowing moment, but suffice to say, it has taken me almost the entire year just to put myself back together.  I honestly did not know how I was going to get through losing one of the best jobs I’d had in recent memory, and in the week before I flew back to Austin, I was suffering from major depression and must’ve drank 3-4 bottles of whiskey.  People were worried about me, and I was so alone and terrified that my mom was going to send the police over for a wellness check.   

A week after I got back to Austin, which coincided with my dad’s birthday, the country shut down 10 days after and I was essentially stuck and couldn’t get back to my place in Fort Collins.  I wasn’t about to fly back at the beginning stages of the pandemic, and my options were limited.  I wasn’t going to rent a car to drive back and spend the months during the lockdown by myself, because I would’ve ended up back in that same mental mind game, wondering what I was going to do next.  So, it was a good thing I was here with family.  But I still had to pay rent on my apartment to avoid getting evicted.  I already was looking at having to break my lease, since in Colorado and with the apartment management company, they weren’t able to budge one bit.  By the time I moved back at the end of June, I would eventually spend a little over $11,000 in moving, rent, lease break fees and the loss of my deposit.  So, everything I’d worked and saved for during my time with the company would be gone in a matter of months.  My savings nearly drained, I had no choice but to close my 401k and hopefully get through it all. 

I need to wrap this entry up so I can get ready to go soon, but I’ll end with this.  I know I wasn’t affected nearly as bad as others, nor did I die from a deadly disease or by my own hand...both of which were genuine possibilities.  I’ve managed to get through a lot of things in life that I didn’t expect that I’d make it through, and after 10 months of holding my breath, it looks like things are finally starting to come back together for me, in more ways than just work.   

I sincerely hope that 2021 will bring a much different path forward than this year did.  I know we could all use a breather.   

Ya’ll be safe out there for this final week of 2020.  My love and best wishes to you and yours.

 

PS - I'm enjoying putting together these blog entries not just for you, but also for myself.  It's a good way to vent my thoughts and put them down on paper, and I truly appreciate you all reading them.  If you like what you see, please feel free to comment on it for any reason, suggestion, thoughts of your own or random nonsense.  We're really working on building this site up to do some great things!

1 comment

  • Nat
    Nat Denver
    I can say that I survived the crazy Denver economy for over 30 years. It tanked several times and the ups and downs have been very challenging to say the least. I was laid off several times in that span of time. Sometimes I saw it coming and others I was totally blindsided. In some instances, there were a bunch of us that were let go over several weeks and other times it was my position being eliminated. Either way, it was devastating. I questioned my work performance and went over what i may have done that could have led to this. Meanwhile, i had to into survival mode right away because I didn’t have anyone to pay my bills. So I’d be looking for work all day, sending resumes left and right. I’d reach out to all of my contacts to let them know I needed work. I was totally stressed out not knowing when the next job would show up. And a few times, my unemployment lasted a year. A year of sending resumes, going to interviews and no job offer. Am I too old? Overqualified? Underqualified? Am I too expensive? Interviews and no offers. My stress level was out of this world, I was angry because ‘someone’ had decided to take my job away from me, I was scared because I didn’t want to be homeless and I was sad and depressed because I felt rejected. I didn’t feel whole and my sense of security was gone. Why couldn’t I get hired? Every day I prayed the perfect job would come along and eventually, one did even if it wasn’t the perfect job but I remained humble and grateful and I’d start the very slow process rebuilding yet again. I never thought I’d find myself doing this multiple times but I did. It sucked. Every single time. The doubts were very much there and fighting those thoughts off was draining. Let’s not forget the feeling of disappointment each time I thought I’d nail the interview and I really wanted the job but I’d get the call letting me know I had not been selected. They’d chosen the other finalist. Always the bridesmaid never the bride. Second place sucks. The last time, I went over a year without work. I did a couple of contract gigs which helped me financially a little bit (the pay was crappy and the managers were terrible) but they help my mental state. I kept going on interviews and one day, just like that, the man who was interviewing me simply said ‘where have you been all these months? When can you start?’ Evidently he had been interviewing for the position for 8 months and couldn’t find the right person until I came along. I was hired on the spot. This was the best feeling in the world. I got back to my car and let out a scream. The anger, stress and anxiety were let go in that scream. The relief I felt of being able to breathe again was tremendous. I realized then that I had stopped breathing this whole time. God had finally answered my prayers. But get this: the following day I had another interview and they too wanted to hire me. 2 places in over a year of unemployment that wanted me. talk about a boost! I ended up taking the first offer and I’m still with that company today. I celebrated my 7th anniversary with them back in September. I thank God every day for this job and this company. I think everyone’s path is different though it also has a lot of similarities. Life is full of roadblocks, we stumble and fall. We get up, dust ourselves off and try again until we finally succeed. I’ve been knocked down many many times. And I got up every single time because to me, this is the one time there is no other option (I would never choose the alternative). If I didn’t learn my lesson, it would show up again and knock me down again. And sometimes even after I learned the lesson, it would show up one last time, as a test to make sure I finally got it. All of this taught me resilience, self reliance and strength. Don’t you dare ever giving up, Brent. We may think we’re out of options but we’re not. The options we have aren’t always a ‘good and bad’, sometimes it’s a ‘bad and worse’ but eventually we find our way back onto that yellow brick road and when we look back we can see how far we’ve come. I consider myself lucky in a way. I have a roof over my head, food in my belly and a little money in my pocket. I have more than others and less than some and I’m ok with that. Keep the glass half full and whenever you see it as half empty, let that be your guide to pull yourself back up so you can fill it some more. Each day the sun comes up you get a chance to make things different. You are in charge of your own life. You touch people in so many ways with who YOU are and your music. 2020 has been a terrible year for many. I personally attended 2 funerals and will be attending another one in a week. Each year brings good and bad. Let’s focus on the good in 2021.

    I can say that I survived the crazy Denver economy for over 30 years. It tanked several times and the ups and downs have been very challenging to say the least. I was laid off several times in that span of time. Sometimes I saw it coming and others I was totally blindsided. In some instances, there were a bunch of us that were let go over several weeks and other times it was my position being eliminated. Either way, it was devastating. I questioned my work performance and went over what i may have done that could have led to this. Meanwhile, i had to into survival mode right away because I didn’t have anyone to pay my bills. So I’d be looking for work all day, sending resumes left and right. I’d reach out to all of my contacts to let them know I needed work. I was totally stressed out not knowing when the next job would show up. And a few times, my unemployment lasted a year. A year of sending resumes, going to interviews and no job offer. Am I too old? Overqualified? Underqualified? Am I too expensive? Interviews and no offers. My stress level was out of this world, I was angry because ‘someone’ had decided to take my job away from me, I was scared because I didn’t want to be homeless and I was sad and depressed because I felt rejected. I didn’t feel whole and my sense of security was gone. Why couldn’t I get hired? Every day I prayed the perfect job would come along and eventually, one did even if it wasn’t the perfect job but I remained humble and grateful and I’d start the very slow process rebuilding yet again. I never thought I’d find myself doing this multiple times but I did. It sucked. Every single time. The doubts were very much there and fighting those thoughts off was draining. Let’s not forget the feeling of disappointment each time I thought I’d nail the interview and I really wanted the job but I’d get the call letting me know I had not been selected. They’d chosen the other finalist. Always the bridesmaid never the bride. Second place sucks.
    The last time, I went over a year without work. I did a couple of contract gigs which helped me financially a little bit (the pay was crappy and the managers were terrible) but they help my mental state. I kept going on interviews and one day, just like that, the man who was interviewing me simply said ‘where have you been all these months? When can you start?’ Evidently he had been interviewing for the position for 8 months and couldn’t find the right person until I came along. I was hired on the spot. This was the best feeling in the world. I got back to my car and let out a scream. The anger, stress and anxiety were let go in that scream. The relief I felt of being able to breathe again was tremendous. I realized then that I had stopped breathing this whole time. God had finally answered my prayers. But get this: the following day I had another interview and they too wanted to hire me. 2 places in over a year of unemployment that wanted me. talk about a boost! I ended up taking the first offer and I’m still with that company today. I celebrated my 7th anniversary with them back in September. I thank God every day for this job and this company.
    I think everyone’s path is different though it also has a lot of similarities. Life is full of roadblocks, we stumble and fall. We get up, dust ourselves off and try again until we finally succeed. I’ve been knocked down many many times. And I got up every single time because to me, this is the one time there is no other option (I would never choose the alternative). If I didn’t learn my lesson, it would show up again and knock me down again. And sometimes even after I learned the lesson, it would show up one last time, as a test to make sure I finally got it. All of this taught me resilience, self reliance and strength.
    Don’t you dare ever giving up, Brent. We may think we’re out of options but we’re not. The options we have aren’t always a ‘good and bad’, sometimes it’s a ‘bad and worse’ but eventually we find our way back onto that yellow brick road and when we look back we can see how far we’ve come. I consider myself lucky in a way. I have a roof over my head, food in my belly and a little money in my pocket. I have more than others and less than some and I’m ok with that.
    Keep the glass half full and whenever you see it as half empty, let that be your guide to pull yourself back up so you can fill it some more. Each day the sun comes up you get a chance to make things different. You are in charge of your own life. You touch people in so many ways with who YOU are and your music.

    2020 has been a terrible year for many. I personally attended 2 funerals and will be attending another one in a week. Each year brings good and bad. Let’s focus on the good in 2021.

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