The Wanderer

Rewiring My Geek In 2020

Everyone’s forced to do so much adulting these days, but adulting is boring, lame, and downright icky.

Circumstances outside of anyone’s control have paved the way for our modern predicament, and modernity’s become all too serious. It’s enough to cause ulcers and a severe case of PTSD.

Masks, home-school, loneliness, and frustration are words that define our current normal. They paint a bleak portrait of the world, but it’s the hand we’ve been dealt. It’s up to each of us to respond and play out the cards.

Some people overcome circumstances finding joy in small things. They’re hiking and photographing autumn leaves or perfecting sourdough and zucchini bread baking techniques. Others are reinventing themselves entirely. I’ve been finding myself falling into the latter.

In March, like many other people, my industry shut down. Our business was food service and hospitality. We were the company that served the production staffs of major concert tours as they stopped through Colorado. Due to COVID-19 my company was forced to layoff all its employees.

Considering the nature of the coronavirus, I couldn’t fault the company’s owners or our clientele for my situation. They were always supportive of my family and I. Regardless, I found myself at a crossroads.

Luckily, my family and I were able to bridge the income gap left by my being unemployed, but there was no telling when my industry would reopen, or if it even would at all. When it did, would I feel comfortable being around so many people, or having to work inside all day?

Despite my amazing coworkers and all the fantastic perks of the job, I wasn’t sure I could see myself continuing my old career path in a post-pandemic world. I needed to hit the reset button. It was time for a new start.

After half-heartedly applying to various companies on LinkedIn, Indeed, and ZipRecruiter, I reengaged my network. Throughout my life it’s been a far better producer of opportunity than cold applying ever has. Plus, I like the people in my network. At the very least I would catch up with them during this time where social interaction and love has become so scarce.

Upon reconnecting with my people I discovered a close family friend had inherited a house that he was remodeling, and needed help. My friend knew I had no experience doing anything of the sort. Thankfully, he was willing to let me work at the house. Additionally, he taught me how to do different jobs whenever he had time.

Before long I was using power tools I’d never heard of, like a miter saw and a rotary hammer, and I was seeing this shell of a construction site transformed into a livable home. It was like seeing through a new set of eyes.

I tiled a kitchen and a bathroom. I dug ditches for sprinklers and French drains. I even installed electrical outlets. I sampled many different jobs all around the house and kept asking myself, Why hadn’t I done anything like this before now?

Reflecting on my experiences I recognized adulting wasn’t as bad as I had made it out to be. I began to understand my step-father who enjoys building furniture in his workshop so much. Essentially, it was the grown-up equivalent of playing a video game or completing an art project.

To the untrained eye adulting can seem lame, but when looked at closely it’s far from it. A clamp-on volt meter looks just like a contraption straight out of a Ghostbusters movie. It’s all about one’s perspective.

Thanks to the chance my friend took on me at the remodel I decided to take the plunge into a career in construction. Another friend in my network connected me with an electrician colleague of his that I have accepted an apprenticeship under.

In addition to learning how to use a volt meter, I’ve planted a tree at my house, built a canopy bed for a client, and I’m reading a book on investment strategy. These activities have replaced building Gundam models and playing first person shooter games in my life, but in a lot of ways they’re the same.

Maybe that’s just what everyone tells themselves as they get old. Either way, I’m still hip and groovy.

It’s okay that I get excited about grilling my meat perfectly or using a sawzall to cut things. They stoke the same base impulses I’ve had since I was a little geek playing action figures in my living room as a kid.

Not only have I solved my post-pandemic career woes, but I’ve found a new perspective from which to view my interests. I have come to respect how similar each person is when viewed through lenses different than my own.

Despite all the divisiveness and polarity in the world in the modern day, we’re all more similar than I’ve ever realized before.

A bunch of nerds who don’t watch football games can still play fantasy football based on numbers and statistics alone. An athlete can geek out about a personal best mile or getting their six pack in the same way.

Remembering this should make me a better person as well as a better geek, even if it may not appear that way to others.

I sincerely hope the new career path pans out well for my family and I, as well as for my boss. And I’ll no longer consider it lame to get excited the next time I’m checking tools out in the hardware store or thinking about how great an appliance is, because it’s really no different from anything else I’ve ever geeked out about.

I may be older and in some weird and strange future, but I’m still me and still geeky.

Wandering rant by John Andreula.

Shmwords corrected by Kodid Laraque-Two Elk

John’s on Instagram at: JohnAndreulaWritesStuff

Kodid’s at: Leyla.Kodid

#TheWanderer #Rewired #StayGeeky #2020

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