Six years ago, it was a very exciting time. University was finished. A new Star Wars movie was premiering in theatres. I was 21, and ready to conquer the world. Without a doubt, university was 4-year high. For some odd reason, the campus really took to my little college radio show. People started to think that what I had to say just might be worth listening to. I had things that I’d never experienced before: popularity, a circle of friends, name recognition. Truly, it was a golden era.
That’s why there was no problem with going to see Star Wars. I began planning it with the first trailer. On that fateful day in May, some 30 of my closest friends came down to the Camrose movie theatre to stand in line with me. We stood in line for hours, discussing what we were about to see. And then, there it was. We spent some time afterwards discussing the film. I seemed to be the only one who enjoyed it. Everyone else was pretty quick to turn on it.
And then, the real world.
Here we are now, six years later. The new Star Wars movie, Revenge of the Sith, seems to finally be giving people what they wanted back in 1999. Those 30 people I saw The Phantom Menace with are all grown up, drifted away, and pursuing their lives. My best friend, currently out on the west coast, sent occasional dispatches about standing in line for 10 hours to see Revenge of the Sith, surrounded in the glow of his current circle of friends. Sometimes, it seems to be a constant struggle to be just a distant memory to him.
That’s all my life has become right now. A constant struggle. A struggle for employment…a struggle for recognition…just always struggling.
The struggle was supposed to stop when I started studying radio. “People loved me when I did this!” I thought. “Certainly I can go pro! This is the one thing I’m good at!” Little did I know….
I’m the only person in my class who does not have job yet; who was not offered one fresh out of school, with only my NAIT diploma backing me up. I told a classmate about some of the jobs I’ve applied for, and she replied with, “Oh. Well, I was offered those jobs several months ago.” Six years ago, I was the best. Now, I’m below average.
I’ve know this for quite some time now. I’ve known since halfway through my first year at NAIT. I approached the head of the broadcasting program and asked to be released from the program. “Nonsense!” he told me. “This is just a stressful time for students. You’ve been going for so long without a decent break, summer vacation is just three months away. Give it until then.” Seeing that I was going nowhere with my request, I turned to leave. “Besides,” he said, as I stepped towards the door, “It’d be too embarrassing to the program for our scholarship winners to drop out.” So I was kept on as the token nerd.
I knew I’d finally get my way when the end of my third semester was drawing to a close and I had a nice stack of rejection letters citing various reasons why no one would take for my practicum. “See?” I thought inwardly. “I told you. I’m useless. I’m a failure. I’m not meant for this business. You’ve got to let me go now.” But, the aforementioned program head panicked, called in a few favours, and I was off to Cold Lake.
I’m really starting to wonder why I’m keeping up this façade. I’ve known for quite some time now that it was pointless for me to get into radio. I’ve become nothing but a hollow shell of a man, trying to regain a past glory. There is no longer an eager audience, hanging on my every word. I can no longer go see a movie with 30 closest friends. I just…exist.
It is time for me to stop struggling. It is a futile effort. Believing that I can have a career in radio is just wrong. I’ve spent the past six years trying to be 21 again. It’s time to stop struggling. It’s time to let go. I lost it all a long time ago. There is no point in trying to get it back.