In my blog post yesterday, I made a comment about sacrifice. Today I want to elaborate.
A sacrifice is an act of giving up something of profound value for the sake of something else regarded as having greater value. This gets attributed to military service members frequently. I don’t completely disagree.
My sacrifice is letting go of just about every relationship I’ve ever had, platonic or otherwise.
I moved back up to Seattle about a year ago. Before then I was living with my dad in Vancouver, Washington. I went to college in Seattle. I made a lot of friends in Seattle. My coming back to Seattle very probably could have been a nonstop party.
I didn’t tell a soul.
Not even that girl who I was in love with.
I had been away from Seattle for a long time. All my friends had inevitably and predictably moved on. They had jobs, they had their communities, they were forming relationships, buying houses, starting careers, had close friends. I moved home to be a professional drunk for two years. I had disappeared from that scene. They moved on without me.
It struck me odd whenever they’d encourage me to move back.
I don’t know.
I moved back to Seattle without a job or a home. I borrowed money, rented a room on Airbnb, and worked jobs through a hospitality temp company who had been in business less than a year in Seattle. It was not steady enployment, and the main office, which was made up of a small team, changed over frequently, leaving me to take assignments and criticisms by someone new every couple months.
But it was a job, and it paid.
My housing was super expensive. I couldn’t afford it anymore.
So I moved out. Found a house in north Seattle. Turned out to be a kind of recovery house. It was run down and reaked of cigarettes. At least it was furnished.
After a few weeks I rented out the living room of a one bedroom apartment of a 23 year old female bartender in Capitol Hill who only had the space available because she up and decided one day that she simply didn’t want to be dating the guy who she was living with anymore, so she dumped him, he moved out, and she suddenly couldn’t afford it. That is, until she up and decided she wanted to live with this new guy six months later, informing me I had a few weeks to move out.
Fortunately, the staffing company was moving people around again. I got promoted and I worked in the office. I had a full time income, so I moved into a new apartment building. A low income building. That’s where I’ve been living for almost a year now.
I eventually quit that office job. It wasn’t really my thing. I worked such ridiculous hours. They had the same mentality as Amway, using language such as “growth” and “bonus” as a means to whet my interests like a dog to a dinner bell.
So I quit. I moved on to something else.
Ironically, I moved on to work more hours, half of which was unpaid.
And I loved it.
Even though now I’m over it.
I already mentioned that job in my previous blog post.
One night a couple old friends from college came in, Joe and Alexa. (That’s not their real names.) they were surprised and excited to see me. Where did I come from? Why was I working there? They probably wanted to know.
Joe jumped up from his chair and spoke in his very enthusiastic voice, “hey man!” His clothes seemed a tad too big for him and his short cut hair felt to be very distinctly Seattle. Alexa didn’t say much, just watched as the boys caught up for a few minutes.
“How long have you been in Seattle?”
“I’ve been here for about a year and a half or so.”
“You didn’t hit me up?”
“Dude I haven’t hit anyone up,” I said, which was true, except for once, or twice rather. Two other friends from college who have moved on in such drastically different ways that they are completely unlike what they were back in college and I can’t quite reconcile that.
“Man I would have bought you a beer!” We drank a lot together in college. “Soon we’re getting a beer!”
“What are you up to now? I’m almost done.”
“We’re just heading out to a show. It’s my birthday.”
“Nice! Congratulations, happy birthday.”
“Thanks! Let me give you my number so we can get beers.”
He reached toward his pocket that made me think he was pulling out business cards. I asked him if he had some.
“Hey I can get you business cards.” He had a strange sense of overconfidence and enthusiasm about the way he talked.
So he took my number. He texted me. He said “BEER!” I told him I’m available on Saturday and Sunday. He said good, we’re going out, and that I’m invited to the party that he and Alexa are throwing that Sunday.
I never heard from him again.
My first case of blatant Seattle freeze.
I could have followed up with him, but I was working every day, and I was saving money, and I was publishing. I didn’t really want to put off work and make things harder for myself for this guy who I don’t talk to or hang out with or even necessarily feel any association with anymore. Besides, it was his party, if he wanted me to go that’s his problem.
Like I said, I’m saving money. In college, I spent a lot of money on alcohol. Going out with friends and spending money and getting super drunk was a priority of mine. I was flat broke throughout college because I spent it all.
The people I work with spend all their money on having fun. I’m probably exaggerating.
I don’t want to spend my money. I don’t want to live like I did in college or in the army. I don’t want to be the designated clown. I don’t want to be the entertainment. I don’t want to be the guy who does all the stupid things and acts clumsy and knocks shit over so that they can laugh at and joke about later.
I’m very afraid that’s how people think of me. And thats how I used to behave.
I was a walking self fulfilling prophecy.
It differs drastically to the kind of person I see myself as.
So I quit.
I have goals for myself. They aren’t glamorous, but they’re the best way I can contribute to society. My life decisions benefits
Me as well as all of society.
And isn’t that what it’s all about? I like to think Sartre would be proud.
So I made sacrifices. I’m working myself to death today ignoring all the “friends” I’ve had in the past 20 years. These same people who still expect me to respect the narrative they’ve constructed for me so many years ago.
I’m getting myself out of this place. I’m removing myself from this community and situation who frankly holds me down.
I’m removing all those in my life who I don’t want there anymore.
So that’s my sacrifice.
And it’s a hard one. Nobody wants to turn their back on their friends. People often don’t move forward at all because they’re so comfortable in their situation. That’s fine, nothing wrong if that’s where they belong. People like familiar.
Not very many people understand that sacrifice. One of my many (short lived) bar jobs in Seattle I made a comment to a co-worker about how I don’t have many friends and that I’m ok with that. He responded as if I’d just confessed to a horribly irredeemable crime. “WHAT??” He said, with wide eyes and a gaping, awestruck jaw dropping to the floor. “That’s not very encouraging!”
Then again, he probably wouldn’t understand why I write.