Michael is a 2006 Graduate of Collins College and has earned a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design branching into IT/Coding Fields.
How Did I Get Here?
Every new journey has a beginning. A moment in time that acts as the spark for a change and thus, requires a change in one's life. But let's not get too ahead of ourselves. While life is ever-changing, a desire to improve remain the same; therefore, sit back as I tell the story of going through my past, working on my presents in the present while staying focused on the future ahead.
With Every End, Begins Anew
All things must come to an end, but not all things mean a final end. Simply put, until it's time to close your eyes the final time, there is store more for me that needs to be done. For starters, let's begin where we left off . . . out in the Grand Canyon State of Arizona, the Home State of the Late Senator John Sidney McCain III. This is probably the only Republican I can bring myself to respect. But I am getting off-topic.
There may have been four key points that I believe have come to a close that I had brought over to the Grand Canyon State after coming from the Good Old North State. Those being keeping to myself, being socially awkward, my poor finances, and ultimately my lack of connection to the Source of my strength, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To start, keeping to myself both was a bit of frustration that I could not shake off, but it also saved me from a lot of headache and heartache. This double-edged sword was a part of who I was/am that also kept me out of a lot of danger, yet it was frustrating that I could not fully express myself and shape life as I would see fit. Yet, it was also necessary to keep to myself due to being in a completely different state. Alone. And Black. Not that I was under any MAJOR threats to my health and safety, yet I was aware of being a Black man in America; if not instinctively. The truth is it's not always the best idea to be bold and brazen when it's too easy for us to become a statistic on the evening news; even when among close friends or co-workers at the time. It's only until now, upon the moment of reflection, that I am aware of this, preoccupied with the thought of survival and achieving a dream of completing a collegiate program into the career of my dreams. Oh, how that dream has changed, while still remaining in me to this day.
It also doesn't help that on top of keeping to myself, I was/am socially awkward. This was a thing of mine growing up since high school, perhaps much sooner. While in another state, I thought that could be the means to bury this aspect of me. However, I am no so awkward a person that I don't keep my wits about me. Simply being outgoing to get me into hot water real quick, and in a state that is a part of the "Wild West" that could lead to some not-to-savory circumstances. It gives me pause to wonder what kind of situation beyond an early grave could I have experienced. But rather than dwell on the past, I can observe it and learn from it. Lessons that were both for good and for ill.
Next of course is finances. The dreaded beast that haunts me to this day, but one day it must be put to rest so that I can mature into a better man. I did get some insight into the importance of paying your bills on time. Failure to do so will get you lost to the streets, in a strange way. It also opens potential traps of assistance in the form of loans, or in my case, credit cards. It also doesn't help that simply going for basic jobs will keep you "Just Over Broke." Securing an education towards a more practical career can help with this, but it has to be something you are willing to invest the time in. Also, having a battleplan in terms of what to spend and what to save; yes, you have to spend AND save. Not one or the other. Did I really need to eat out as much as I did? Could I have saved a little more? Visited the movies/arcade a little less? These are not questions to condemn my past actions, but rather they are moments of clarity that every dollar spent and saved is going to something worthwhile, be it now or later.
Last, but never least, is my walk with God. It's been a journey with Him at the wheel of my life, as it should have been from the start (and technically still is). Yet, despite my disobedience, He still guided me patiently and was right there, even when I didn't think He was. Day by day, He and I continued down this path, better understanding Him. Naturally, this also required me to be faithful in Tithing as well as Offering what I can. I still struggle with that, but
Putting In The Work
When I was planning to make a change, the first line of business was to get work. But to get work, I had to put in the work.
I would say that this was the most HUMBLING part of the experience; putting in work as a sign of your faith. The evidence was there, but was I willing to work it? At first, I felt there was nothing left to lose beyond the obvious. The challenge here isn't so much the work needed to secure a job, but the fact that you can search and search and come up with nothing, while at the same time, continuing your due diligence. While all this is happening, you take whatever lead you can, and if it comes up empty, you make a note of it and move on.
This gets especially painful when you are working towards your career field and nothing is biting. Yet, even so, God was watching expecting me to trust in His Promises. It took time, a year and two months. Updating and tweaking a resume. Seeking job leads. Filling out applications. Updating skillsets and learning new ones. Keeping one's body healthy. So. Much. Work.
Yet despite all this work, there was always in the back of my mind of what I need to do next: change some old habits, dust off and freshen up some old talents, keep a new perspective in mind, and keep my focus on Him as He prepares the job for me. I would be lying if I said I had no doubts. I had plenty of them. It came from the first rejection; then the tenth, then the hundredth. All the way, getting flagged by job aggregate sites to not only the leads being there for the taking, but also to pay their premiums to get the "full service" of that site. Money was tight as is, and simply putting down the collateral wasn't an option then.
Yet it did reinforce the need to keep seeking. Find alternatives to your goal, but I also have to HAVE a goal. That, oddly enough, didn't come until later. In the end, the goal was declared, and the actions to that goal made more relevant, rather than before which I just sought a job that would get me out of the houses of others and into my own place.
Speaking of, putting in the work for a job also means putting in the work to take care of what I had. I was given a chance to live under a roof and food to eat, so I felt the need to show such appreciation by both paying what I could with what little money I had to also pay in time by helping out others. This is where my trip to my Grandmother was an even greater blessing than I realized. I understood the value of ownership in this unique experience and if I am to have a place of my own, I would need to have that same level of care and devotion by taking care of my place as much as I did hers, if not more. It had its moments, like all things, but I understood that it's a part of life; ups and downs. My stress level wouldn't have been so high had it not been for the pandemic (as of this article it's still ongoing, but there is progress toward its end . . . for now). Finally, taking care of the place you live in as well as provide for those inside the home, gave birth to a stronger discipline. How enduring that discipline remains shall depend on my future actions.
The New Journey
Now that the work has been put in, it's not enough to say I'm done. I'm far from it. Everything up to this point has been a form of preparation for the journey to come. If anything, it's a sign from God that I will need to take my discipline and my work ethic, my very self, to the next stage to not only fulfill His Purpose but to make any goals I would have for myself a reality.
That means putting down some time towards continued improvement, and less on enjoyment, but I can't neglect that either. Perhaps my dual nature of one or the other held any potential balance that I could achieve. That remains in God's Hands, but His Hands are better than mine every time. I only pray that what I do remain in line with His Purpose and that I work it in.
But I'm not going to dwell on it for too long. There's work to do, and thanks to this new job, I'll have to get to it!
© 2020 Michael Rivers