730 Days (untitled. unmastered.)

By Jamari Jordan

You know what’s harder than one year on your own? Two. 

When I arrived in Charlotte in 2016 after college, I had high hopes for what it could be like. This was my first time on my own. Everybody wants independence until they finally experience it. Yes, it’s exhilarating, but eventually you come down off the high to experience the lows. 

bills. so many bills. 

The answer is no. The answer is always no.

Man, this might be the greatest evil in society. Every time I’m ready to be happy in life, the 1st of the month comes around. No single word in the English language sends a chill down my spine quite like… rent. 

Then, there’s all the other things, like a phone bill, cable, internet, car note, and this needed thing called insurance. After looking at my phone bill, I’m starting to think a Tracfone isn’t the worst idea. Or after looking at my cable/internet bill, the thought of living in a Starbucks wouldn’t be that bad besides you know, constantly being escorted out by hipster, bike cops.

Then, that leaves insurance. The thing you need just in case. My thought is, if I never actually used it, do I get my money back? The answer is no. The answer is always no. 

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the. career.

My career can be apart of the discussion of what defines me, but it can’t be the only factor in the decision.

I’ve always believed my career would define me. Am I decent person? Probably. But am I also Petty Pendergrass and Petty Murphy? Absolutely. 

I know that I tried to help others when I am able to. There’s an idea in our generation that there’s only one spot at the table and I fell victim to that same train of thought. Is there one job opening or spot up for promotion? Sure, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help each other get better. I wished I knew that before coming to Charlotte, but I think that’s the constant struggle of adulting: wishing you knew then what you know now. 

Now I know, as admirable as it was to let my career define me, it was always doomed to fail. Two years in, I finally have a full-time, secure position at work, and with the constant change in the media industry, how secure is it really? I love my career. Storytelling is my passion, but it doesn’t mean I can’t be passionate about other things as well. 

My career can be apart of the discussion of what defines me, but it can’t be the only factor in the decision. The lives I touch, the people I’ve inspired, the path I left behind for young people of color who look like me should matter just as much, if not more. 

Therein lies my constant struggle, my two-ness that W.E.B. Du Bois described all those years ago in The Souls Of Black Folk. Instead of my two-ness being my African heritage and my assimilation in America, mine is the ascension in my career and my responsibility to my people and community. I feel like this is the struggle most millennials are facing everyday. 

How do we balance our own career aspirations vs how we help others? Which one should take priority? Does it make me an awful person if I focus on myself? I know airlines always say put your mask on before assisting others with theirs, but can anyone really sit idly by and watch another person suffocate? 

I’m still trying to find my balance. Sometimes I’m standing on the beam just fine. Other days I’m tilting hard left and right, but one thing I can say is that I haven’t fallen off. 

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all. me. forreal. 

Being the only sober person around a group of drunk people is what I imagine hell is like but on a larger scale.

What everyone fails to tell you about adulthood is how lonely it is. Not in the sense that you don’t have friends or things to do, but in the sense of responsibility. While you may be independent, now everything falls squarely on your shoulders. No one is there to catch you if you fall, so it’s up to you to keep your balance. 

For me, while it’s amazing being in a new city, I have to realize that I sacrifice time with family and friends from home. I can’t count how many times I’ve scrolled on my FaceBook and Instagram timelines and found out about momentous events from my friends’ lives that I had zero clue about. 

There’s people I went from talking to every day to barely speaking to anymore. You took for granted living down the street from friends when you relocate. It lets you see if you were friends with people because of proximity or because you genuinely had shared interests and goals. 

Then, there’s your personal life, or as I often say, what’s a personal life? The only sustainable relationship I’ve ever had is with my fade and my Nikes, and I know they would never leave me. The next time I swipe on Tinder, I want it to reveal my wedding invitation and directions to the church where I’m getting married to my wife.  

I 100% want the guessing taken away from me. Dating is great when it’s great, but it’s bad it is bad. I hate clubs and bars. I’m not a drinker, so I’m always the sober one. 

Being the only sober person around a group of drunk people is what I imagine hell is like but on a larger scale. It’s always hot and drunk people keep bumping into you and stepping on your shoes. 

As much as I like hearing the National Anthem of March Madness and the Negro Spiritual of Mask Off, I can just do that at home in the A/C I’m paying for. 

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the. growth.

Change isn’t necessarily always good, but growth is.

730 days in, I’m not close to where I thought I would be at, and that’s a good thing. I’m not that same kid I was when I left Georgia. My thoughts, goals, and feelings have grown. There’s a stark difference between growth and change. Change isn’t necessarily always good, but growth is. 

To grow is to mature, to develop, to become better, and that’s the goal for me. Truly, I believe I’ve gotten better each day. Whether it be at work or in my often imaginary personal life, I learned something new about myself everyday and that is something to take pride in. 

In less than two months, I’ll be 24. I refuse to call this my Kobe year. Maybe, I’ll dub this my Griffey year or maybe my Marshawn or Charles Woodson year. I’m sorry, but according to the LeBron stan bylaws, it just can’t be called my Kobe year. 

So 730 days in, and I’m doing pretty well, if I dusse’ so myself. 

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