Four years ago, I had just started a job in Hollywood. A friend from college had enjoyed my radio show and my column in the local alternative paper, had become a successful producer, and hired me to write for him and build a production company. Although in some ways it seemed like a fluke, I had never felt more fulfilled or optimistic. On my own time, I started doing stand-up, got involved with the local comedy communtiy, went skydiving (which finally cleared up my fear of heights) and indulged in a host of other creative projects I'd never had energy for when I was working miserable office jobs for slave wages. I recall telling another college pal, around that time, "For the first time in my life, I actually like myself."
That all fell apart slowly as the economy tanked, and by 2010, I was unemployed. After struggling and failing to find another job, having my car stolen, developing a slight drinking problem and missing my own 32nd birthday party, I moved 2000 miles to try to salvage a relationship that eventually failed anyway. (I'm starting to think that romantic comedies give us the wrong idea about the odds of success in such an endeavor.)
I've been hounded by moderate-to-severe depression for as long as I can remember, and as my LA dreams perished in agony, it returned full-tilt. I drank myself half retarded and descended into an abyss of bitterness, envy and self-reproach. I pretty much stopped writing and doing stand-up, since I suck at self-promotion and it seemed that no one gave a shit anymore or ever would again.
Now I live in a large Midwestern city I utterly loathe and am back to doing maddening dead-end office jobs for survival. (At least I have the luxury of complaining! Too bad I'm such a dick that I can't enjoy simply having steady income when so many others don't.) I am closer to 40 than 20 and have no clear idea of how to turn things around.
And here we are.