How Far We’ve Come

“Can you tell me what was ever really special about me all this time?”
–Matchbox Twenty

We found out this week my little sister has landed a TV writing job in L.A., and has been asked to start Monday! She’s currently living in New York, where she’s done some writing and costume work for kids’ television, while writing and performing occasional side projects of her own. This is something she’s been working toward for a long time, and I couldn’t be happier for her!

We’ve never been particularly competitive, but I can’t help but think on where she’s at in her life versus where I am. I don’t know if it’s due to depression, to autism, or to something else, but I didn’t leave high school with a real clear idea of what I wanted to do with my life, where I think she got more out of high school that informed where she wanted to go next. She did the four-year college experience; I think jumping into that without a compelling reason to do so would have been time and money wasted on me. So I moved out with friends, worked a couple years, did a couple two-year stints at community and tech colleges, and fell into a career that’s been mostly good to me ever since.

I think going at my own pace has been beneficial to me finding my personality: I was pretty walled-off from other people growing up, and spent more time in my head than in the world with other people. Animé was my fixation for a long time, and has helped me connect in some surprisingly legitimate ways with the Japanese side of my background, as well as connecting me with new friends and my martial art. Connections made through that fandom kicked off a long stretch of attending a local sci-fi convention; getting into our local theatre scene, in which my sister already knew a few people, similarly made me a lot of new friends, and my sister considers my attendance of our fringe festival to be a major turning point for me.

In spite of autism and my recent diagnosis thereof (or, as I’ve grown fond of saying, “before I became autistic”), I’ve earned two black belts in my martial art, kept a roof over my head, gotten to be a fairly decent cook, and gotten married. That isn’t nothing, but my sister’s advancement is maybe getting into my head a little because since I got my career started, work-wise I’ve only ever made lateral movements for incrementally better pay. I don’t really aspire to any sort of management, but my potential for increased pay is only going to get so much higher doing the same work. I have a date next week to meet with a former boss of mine to see if she might be able to take me on with her company, and maybe that will carry with it some opportunities to branch out to other areas in my field, but…I don’t know. Maybe I’ve just had my fill of working a technical job. I don’t consider myself a creative type in the sense that you give me a blank sheet of paper and I write or design or invent something, but I do find myself starting to want something less rote and repetitive. I thoroughly enjoy being able to pay my bills, but I feel like it’s time to find something else to do, either as a regular gig or a side hustle that I can eventually hope to grow into something more.

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