Hey there PowerPac7,
I definately know how you feel. I've been through what you're going through at least twice so far in my life, and I'm 28. I work as a puppeteer, and about 4 1/2 years ago I got an opportunity to move out to the Pacific NW and work for a company that was working on parade characters for Disney. This was a HUGE step up and it felt like a validation of my career choice. Also, I was 24 and had always lived with my parents, and this would be the first time I lived outside of my childhood home. I loved the experience, but the position was only temporary, which I knew but I held out hopes that I could get hired on. I didn't make plans for the future, so even though I was living in a great new exciting city and had a bunch of new friends, I had to move back to Chicago because I hadn't bothered looking for a new job. What came next was a loooooong bought of depression that lasted for months, if not over a year, where I felt like a failure of having to move back in with my parents to save on money and couldn't be out on my own and working in that great city.
Fast forward to now, and I got ANOTHER chance to move back out to the Pacific NW and work with another company. This time around, I was going to be writing and designing an original show for a puppet company and work with them as a touring performer. The touring gig was going to have me on the road, 15-20 days out of the month, for 10 months straight. When I wasn't performing, I was writing and designing this original show, helping build it with a crew of people, and start work on my own show that I could perform for birthday parties. I had a lot of high expectations and perhaps that set myself up for a fall. However, I look back on things again and think that there was a lot stacked against me, or anyone in my situation. The company I wound up working for was a 40 year old non-for profit company that was being run as if it was a 3-4 year old mom and pop business. My original partner, who was a returning company member and who I was starting to get to know, quit on the the first day of work for a better paying position. I was then teamed up with the company's second choice, a young girl who was 25, fresh out of college, and had never done this type of work before and this job was her real first professional gig outside of college. We rubbed each other the wrong way from the beginning and it just went down hill over the next several months. Some of the problems were from her, some of it was how the company refused to deal with the situation, and some of the problems stemmed from me. I wasn't willing to grin and bear it and just keep things in, and I was unhappy and didn't take the time to appreciate my time on the road.
When my time with that first company ended, they had me on a seasonal contract and had burnt a bridge with me and I wasn't interested in coming back, I had several things lined up for the summer. The one job that did work out seemed promising and was going to be paying better than the last one. I was going to be working for a smaller company, performing shows around Seattle, and making enough money over a month and a half to make a nice nest egg to support myself with once that seasonal contract ended. After a month of rehearsal, and a week before I was going to go out to Chicago to attend my sister's wedding, I was fired from this second company. The reason? From the beginning I made it clear that I didn't have a car to tour with, and was told that the company would provide a company car. That was back in January when I first auditioned for them, and in that entire time THEY NEVER LOOKED AT THEIR FINANCES and assumed they had enough money for a car. Turns out they didn't, and had to fire me for someone who had their own car.
After a long year of a lot of ups and downs (including dealing with a room mate who had a mental breakdown when she went off her meds for schizophrenia and the death of my last grandmother) and not finding a "normal job" for over 2 1/2 months, I decided to move back to Chicago. On September 2, I fly back out and for the rest of this month I'll be packing, working on my own puppet show before it gets boxed up, and trying to enjoy this city before I go. It's been bitter sweet, but ultimately I'm better off. I was beating myself up for a long while when I made this choice because I felt I hadn't tried hard enough. After enough of that, I realized that I HAD tried hard enough, and was surprised I hadn't packed up and moved a while ago. I'll be working the job I left when I was in Chicago, at a security company in an office behind a desk answering phones. A little boring at times, but it pays very well and allows for the flexible schedule I'll need when I get my birthday show done. In September a good friend who is also a puppeteer will be helping me finish my show and he'll be working as a booking agent for my work. I'll be staying in a first floor apartment in a house that a family member will be a landlord. It could be a lot worse, but it's not. I'm very lucky, and so are you, that we're not on the street trying to survive and being too stubborn to not work a job that is "beneath us." I don't feel like a failure, and it takes a lot of courage to come back to the place you thought you'd never go back to. I have a lot more resources and support in Chicago than I do here, and it's for the best.
Your not alone, and I know a little bit of how you feel. I hope you're doing well and that you're getting some good deals on the possessions your selling. I'll be doing that soon, too.