Sunday, November 8, 2009

JJJIV, Level 35, Scene One.

The old adage rings true. The only constant is change, and yet, sometimes the more we change, the more we come to realize certain core things about ourselves are absolutely unchangeable. In the face of this knowledge, we must embrace what we have proven ourselves to be.

I began my career at the UA three years ago, energized by the understanding that if I ever wanted more out of life, more than this culturally rich yet economically bare city could offer me in the way of mediocre retail opportunities, that I would absolutely have to finish my education. That had begun in the spring of 1993, dabbling in screenwriting at Pima College. Life and the need for a bigger steady income took over though, and my dreams got pushed aside. Even in the wake of this need to finish, I still had questions about what it was I really wanted to do.

Two things were of paramount importance to me. I had an absolute gut-level disgust with everything going on politically in the country, feeling the absolute lurch towards fascism under President Bush and the GOP. I also had a girlfriend I loved very much. Given the array of gen-ed credits I had already gained at Pima, I chose the one major that merged what I had already done along with the thing I was preoccupied with the most: Political Science.

Now, early on, I was having a blast. I joined the Young Democrats, got involved, and there was a feeling that something genuinely cool was going on. College life was really exciting, I had never simply been a full-time student and I was really plugged in. We helped out with the mid-term elections in 2006 and that felt like a big victory. I served as Secretary of the club the following year and things were pretty good. While that was all happening though, something did begin to change...

I began to look at career options, and for Political Science peeps, there aren't a hell of a lot. You are basically looking at going to grad school for it, if you're one of those genuinely weird people who want to write papers until you die about constituents and coalitions and lots of other shit no one interesting cares about, you're going to teach, or you're going to law school.

Now, I really hadn't previously thought of law school as something for me...but given that I was feeling pretty good about my awesome grades, and I had a girl I was pretty serious about, I was feeling ambitious. Why the fuck shouldn't I seek out a piece of the American dream and try to nail down a six-figure salary?

So that became the plan around early 2007...continue to kick academic ass, apply to law school and rock the LSAT. Bring home the bacon for myself and the future missus. Why not, right?

2007 became 2008. The classes got drier. I got elected President of the Young Democrats and I watched all of my free time evaporate. When I wasn't studying, or tabling, or glued to the political blogs, I was texting somebody about something related. I was just sort of barely juggling it all...but I had never done anything like this, and I just figured that this was how really successful, normal people operated. I didn't notice the slow drift between myself and my girl, or my rapidly growing dissatisfaction with the entire thing. The 2008 election cycle was bearing down upon me and I felt absolutely possessed with doing everything I could for the cause. In the middle of all this though...I was bound for Japan that May and I was very excited about visiting one of my best friends and experiencing the land I had been enchanted with for so long.

Six weeks in Nippon was amazing. I got home, felt recharged, and ready to take on the grueling months of the election cycle. It didn't turn out at all the way I had planned, save for the the result.

Without rehashing a lot of history, by the time my birthday came around in 2008, I was alone, I hated what I was doing, I was reeling and looking for answers. Here it was, the most bittersweet of moments in perhaps my whole life. I saw the election of a President I genuinely believed in, the reelection of a Congresswoman I personally worked for, and despite all this, I was miserable. I didn't care that we'd won, that we were on the threshold of a new era of change for the country. The price for me was just too high.

January of 2009 would prove to be critical in this search for answers. As part of my duties with Arcade-In-A-Box (building magnificent custom joysticks for the XBox 360 and PS3), I worked an entire day with my peeps filming an episode of The Jace Hall Show. The show mixes behind-the-scenes intrigue at a variety of video-game related companies with celebrity guests, and between trying to come up with the narrative for the segment, operating the sweetly professional high-def camera, and lots of creative clowning was the most rewarding day I had experienced in a very long time. It hit me like a ton of bricks.

"Media Arts. You big dolt! Why the hell not? You always loved movies. You used to want to write them, REAL BAD. You spend more time talking about movies with people you know than anything else. Pull your head out of your arse."

So now I'm at a crossroads, but I feel like I have come full circle and am finally in a position to take on something I have really wanted for a long time in adding this major. On a personal level, I am still somewhat heartbroken and confused from the mess that occurred...but doing what I can to move along. It's very difficult to feel like you never got a chance to fight for the thing that really meant the absolute most to you, especially when you lost it while doing something that ultimately proved to be the absolute wrong thing. You can't ignore the thing you love though...whether its a pursuit your heart truly longs for...or a person, for that matter. Whatever I choose to do though, I am the kind of person that invests 110%, and since that's how I am, it has to be something that engrosses me on every level. Simply earning a check was never really an option.

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