Dogs And Video Games

The six hour drive up to Monterey wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. I was never sleepy and made great time. Having an iPod and CDs (in case my iPod ran out of battery or mysteriously died on me) of upbeat music helped.

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but by the end of the weekend, I felt a little disappointed. A large proportion of the time my friend and I had together was spent taking care of his dog. We went to a dog park and watched my friend’s dog mingle with the other dogs in the neighborhood while my friend mingled with the other dog owners. My friend has only had his dog for about six months, so he talked about his dog constantly.

When we were in college, my friend and I played a lot of video games together. Recently, though, I’ve found myself playing video games less frequently. I don’t have the patience to play for hours on end anymore. Unfortunately, my friend still has such patience. If we weren’t taking care of his dog, we were playing video games (often accompanied by two of his roommates, who are also avid gamers).

The one touristy thing I wanted to do was visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I haven’t been there in a while, and I’m not in the area very often. I know my friend loves aquariums as much as I do, so I thought he would be up for going. I mentioned (a few times) to my friend that I was interested in going, but we never went. Somehow, between the dog park and endless video games, we ran out of time.

I haven’t gone into everything I’m thinking about (and I left out a lot of details), but I feel like my friend and I have grown apart. Or rather, my friend seems like the exact same person he was when I last saw him, but I’ve changed somehow. I feel like something is different between us, and it isn’t him.

When it was time for me to head back home, my friend did express how he was glad that I went up to visit him. He had a lot of fun. Despite everything above, I had fun too. But I don’t think a friendship can last on video games alone. Not anymore.


This Is It

Classes on Friday felt a little (very) overwhelming, maybe because I haven’t been in school for a couple years (and haven’t taken undergraduate classes for longer). Moreover, the classes were overfull, so it seemed unlikely that I would even be able to enroll (concurrent enrollment students are lowest priority because we’re not official university students). It wasn’t until the next day (yesterday) that one of the professors confirmed that I would be able to enroll in two of the three classes I’m trying to take.

You would think that being able to enroll in my courses is a good thing, but I’m ambivalent. On one hand, yes, I didn’t want to leave/quit my job without knowing for sure that I would be able to enroll immediately. On the other hand, I had to decide whether I wanted to finally leave the dead-end but easy and comfortable job I had for a path that is terrifyingly uncertain.

Needless to say, I’ve been agonizing over this all weekend. I’ve been wanting to leave my job for months, yet when the time came, I was hesitant. Honestly, I haven’t completely made up my mind on pursuing the long and arduous statistics path. But the only way I will know if this path is right for me is to try. If I continued to wait until I’m 100% sure of what I want to do, I’d never do anything. So my only option at this point is to just go for it. No looking back, no regrets.

Today, I finally summoned up the courage to tell my boss. I met her in the office (yes, on a Sunday) and basically told her that I was going back to school full-time, effective immediately. My boss reacted so much better than I was expecting. She was very understanding. The news was sudden, but she said school is very important; the company wouldn’t want to get in the way of that. We made small talk about school (how hard it would be to get back into it, but I should be fine because I’m still young), education, and how things have changed over the years (tuition, class sizes, etc.). We were chatting the way we were before our falling out back in April.

I’m going to go to the office on Tuesday to show my boss and the other accounting person how to do my job (it’s really not difficult). I won’t be able to stay the whole day because of a discussion section at school in the afternoon, but Tuesday might be my last day at the office. I told my boss I would still be available for questions or help later on, but we both agreed that going to school and working at the same time is very difficult.

When I told my friends at work, they were all very happy for me. My old boss/friend said he always knew I wasn’t going to stay, he was just waiting for me to make a move (he’s always one step ahead of me). My ex-work crush (or is it my work ex-crush? I guess now he’s my ex-work ex-crush!) is the only one from work with whom I was discussing this decision before any other coworkers, and he was always supportive. He told me to go for it with no hard feelings about leaving. At the end of the day, I have to do what’s best for the most important person in my life (which is me!).

I called up my big sister from work, and she was also very excited about my news. The sad thing is, she’s going to go back to working for our company indefinitely, starting tomorrow! We just missed each other! I’ve already scheduled to have lunch with her on Tuesday when I go to work one last time. We’ll probably have frozen yogurt.

So here I am, getting ready for bed before my first full week back in school. Everything is suddenly different. Everything has changed. I’m terrified on so many levels. But this is it. I’ve taken my life to this point, and there’s no going back now.

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It all started two years ago.

I had just earned my master’s degree in mathematics, and I was still figuring out what I wanted to do with my life. I spent three solid months studying for the first actuarial exam. Even though I passed the exam, I wasn’t really sure that the actuary path is what I wanted. I soon became sidetracked by Target (and eventually started working for my current company), so I dropped studying for the second exam.

Throughout college and graduate school, I shied away from studying applied math. I didn’t do applied math. I was a purist. It wasn’t until I studied for the first actuarial exam (on probability) that I discovered how interesting applied math could be.

Since then, I’ve noticed statistics (the discrete application of probability) arise in all sorts of situations, conversations, and problems. Nearly every industry has some need for statistics, so there definitely seems to be a demand for statisticians.

So this is the path, for now. I actually took the day off from work today to check out a local university to see if I can take certain undergraduate courses through their concurrent enrollment program. The classes seem to be (beyond) full, but there’s a chance I could get in if I go to the first day of classes and get approval from the course instructors. If I can take undergraduate prerequisites now, I should be able to apply to graduate school for admission in Fall 2010.

My decision to pursue this statistics path/idea was tentatively made less than a week ago, so I’m still wrapping my head around everything. I keep having pangs of fear and hesitation (like “I can’t believe I’m going back to school,” “what the heck am I doing,” and “do I even have what it takes to get a degree in statistics”), but the few friends I’ve told so far are supportive, which helps a lot.

The first day of classes is this Friday, so I’d have to take another day off from work (two days in one week). If everything goes well, I’m not sure if I can keep my job; I’d basically have to take off three days a week. Breaking the news to my boss and big boss will be difficult but ultimately necessary.

My Two Sisters

I spent the weekend with my sister in Irvine. We haven’t spent much time together since I came out to her, which is why I made it a point to go visit her by myself. As expected, my sister treated me no differently than she always has (which is good). Occasionally over the weekend, my sexuality was brought up, but it was never uncomfortable. She asked me about my recent dates and whether I’ve had my first kiss yet (a valid question, since I’ve never had a boyfriend), and we talked about how much we both like Paul Rudd and Bradley Cooper (and other cute/hot actors)! The weekend was great!

On a separate topic, my sister mentioned that she’s considering going to nursing school. She is currently in sales and hates her job, even more than I hate mine (from what I’ve heard, her boss is worse). She wants to go back to school because she wants a “career,” not just a “job.” My sister has her condo’s mortgage to pay, so quitting her job and going back to school full time (even for a few months) would definitely be a challenge, especially since she’s planning on either being a mom or mom-to-be in a year from now (she’s getting married in three months). Still, if nursing is the career she wants to pursue, I think she should go for it. It’s never too late.

Interestingly, my big sister from work had a similar conversation with me last week. She has decided to go to culinary school starting next month! She wanted to go ten years ago, but she took the safe route of holding onto a secure job with our company instead (which is what her mom wanted). Now that she doesn’t work for us (besides these three weeks she’s been back) and she doesn’t have the financial burdens from when she was younger (she lives with her lawyer boyfriend and has no kids), there’s no reason for her not to pursue her dream career.

Even though their situations are different, my two sisters (my real sister and my big sister from work) both hate their jobs and want to make bold changes in their careers. I’m about ten years younger than both of them (they are one year apart from each other), but I’m at a somewhat parallel stage in my life. I don’t want to work for ten years at a job I hate before ultimately deciding to make a change and do something that I should have done now. The time for change is coming.

A Real Risk

There are some things in this world I hope I never have to deal with.

I’ve been following the blog called Debriefing The Boys for a long time (I referenced it almost two years ago). Every post he writes, whether it’s about coming out, dating, life, or even a book he recently read, is beautifully written. I wish I could write like him. Actually, his blog directly inspired me to start my own blog.

Unfortunately, as in life, not everything is happy. His most recent post, “The Worst Kind of News,” is about how he may or may not have been infected with HIV.

Thinking you might have HIV is a terrifying life-changing experience, no matter the outcome. Waiting for the test results must be one of the worst feelings in the world. I can’t imagine what Matt (the author) is going through.

I’ve heard stories and seen Queer As Folk, but I’ve always managed to stay somewhat sheltered from the threat of HIV; it has always been more of an abstract concept than a real risk. I have no idea how I would react to such news. I can barely even comprehend someone I know possibly getting HIV (and I only know Matt through the internet).

As a gay guy, I have a high risk of contracting HIV (or at least I would be if I was out dating or meeting other gay guys). I’m educated enough to know that HIV is “not a death sentence” (anymore) and it’s “not the end of the world,” but it can still change everything. I honestly don’t know what I would do. I hope I never have to find out.

My thoughts are with you, Matt. I hope for the best. Know that you have an entire online community who will support you no matter what.

One Year Gone

A whole year has passed since I started working with my current company (the anniversary was yesterday, technically). I probably should be happier about it, but in many ways, I’m already planning my escape.

When things were good (and I felt important and competent), I deluded myself into thinking I possibly had a future with my company. After only a few months, I was given a lot of responsibilities (beyond my original position). All the managers trusted me and relied on me. I felt almost like a manager myself. I wanted to be a manager. I wanted to learn, and I was motivated to learn everything about everything.

Yet somehow it all fell away about a month ago. I admit I made mistakes (I always take responsibility for my mistakes, I hate passing blame), and the problems have all been resolved, but the work environment has irrevocably changed. My boss still doesn’t seem to trust me; she barely says two words to me unless it’s absolutely necessary. Without her trust, I no longer feel motivated to learn or even work.

As much as the situation sucks, it has given me an opportunity to take a step back and think about what I want out of my job and out of life. This job was always supposed to be a stepping stone to something better. Everything I’ve learned in the past year has given me the boost that I needed. Now it’s just a matter of finding my next step. To take that chance I’ve been considering.

I Want My Big Sister Back

My big sister at work (not my real sister) came back for a visit today. She left the company toward the end of February, and this was the first time she’s been back. I was really glad to see her, of course; I became very close to her in the last few months she was working with me (I don’t just call anyone my big sister). At the same time, though, seeing her made me realize how much I missed her and how much things at work have changed since she left.

I’ve really been quite unhappy with my work situation lately. Not my job, per se, but more from the working environment. My boss still mostly ignores me, and she sounds annoyed when I do talk to her. I barely say two words to my old work crush, to whom I used to spend hours talking after work. The situation has gone on for so long now that I’m not as bothered by it anymore, but occasionally I’ll still feel awkward, especially when my boss and my work crush are being talkative and cheery to each other right in front of me.

When my big sister was still working at our company, things were good. Everything is different now. Seeing my big sister made me think about the old times. The good times. I wish she still worked with me. I want my big sister back.

Luckily, I still have my best friend at work (formerly my “lunch friend”) to keep me sane throughout the day. I would go crazy if I felt like absolutely no one liked me.

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