State of the Joseph (WARNING: this gets a little dark and super personal)

Don't dwell on the problem, think of a solution.

I don't know how many times I've repeated that phrase over the years (too many for some that know me, I'm sure), but it might be the mantra I have that I believe in the most. I get stressed and upset like anyone else, but I am lucky enough to have the ability to collect myself and work on moving forward. Moving forward is the name of the game and I'd ask you to keep that in mind when reading this. Some of the timeline is shifted slightly for the sake of easier reading, but nothing so much so that actually changes the impact of events.

As I said before, this post isn't going to focus on the past. The big points of interest have already been covered by Troy and Tim and the things that could be added aren't relevant for you all to get the big picture of how everything went down. Power was abused, trust was broken, and friendship was lost. One thing I will mention is in regards to my "eat shit" comment to Noah. Some people seem to think that that was an unprofessional comment to make. Well... no shit. That's why I put "mostly" in parentheses. Noah knows exactly the part he played in all of this and should have known how I would react to a sickly-sweet non-statement in a thread based on honesty and transparency. I can also assure you all that mine and Tim's misgivings about Noah were anything but petty. That is probably the last I will ever say on the matter and, while you have all been truly amazing at respecting my privacy on the matter, I would just like to state that I'd appreciate it if you didn't press me on it further.

Don't dwell on the problem, think of a solution.

After Tim and I left THAC, I had a lot of anger, a lot of stress, and no outlet. At first I thought that I would pick up live streaming and Tim and I were going to blow the world away with all of the cool stuff we'd be making. However, when Tim came over with a whole bunch of new toys to play with, I found that my heart just wasn't in it like I thought it was. I was burned out and the only thing I really felt like doing was nothing. Looking back, this is what I would call a bout of depression. I had lost my best friend and felt forced away from a job I loved. That being said, there was a freeing aspect to it because let me tell you, making your wages based on internet popularity is a fucking nightmare. When I started feeling that weight lifted a bit, a "new" plan came to mind.

Don't dwell on the problem, think of a solution.

Rewind. I like having a plan, which is weird because I spent so many years in school screwing around and torpedoing any plans I had. Nevertheless, it's a trait of mine that I've had for as long as I can remember. When my good friend Steven got married, I visited Seattle for the first time and fell in love. When Mai came to join me, I told her we should just stay in that "ha ha I'm joking (but only if you say no)" kind of way. Turns out, she dug the vibe of the city as much as I did and I started obsessing over it. When we came back from the wedding, I told the fellas that I had a new five-year plan. I was going to get my TCF degree, get a job at a Seattle TV station, and live as a Hipster Cool Guy for the rest of my life.

Well, the degree got put on hold because I dropped out to focus 100% on building THAC and over the next year the five-year plan was pushed to the side to deal with the day-by-day management of a new and struggling company. When I left THAC, it felt like the five-year plan was pretty much done for. I applied for a job at the local news station but you try competing against free student labor for PA positions and against people who have relevant experience that doesn't include "the internet" for salaried positions at an old-school news station. The dream is dead, boys and girls.

Don't dwell on the problem, think of a solution.

I got a job as a deli clerk at Publix, a southern grocery store company. It's a good company and I set my sights on moving up as fast as possible. I made full-time in three months, something that doesn't happen very often, and I was starting to feel pretty good about myself. Then my grandfather got put in the hospital. Basically, he overexerted himself caring for my grandmother who suffers from Alzheimer's. He's no spring chicken and has an assortment of ailments himself and just can't keep up with her needs. The doctor basically said they either needed to move to an assisted living facility or have constant in-home care.

We felt that my grandmother's condition meant that moving her out of the house would only accelerate her condition and would effectively be a death sentence. With that in mind, I suggested that Mai and I move in with them to help however we could. We aren't nurses or anything but just picking up the slack on minor things like filling prescriptions, doing dishes and laundry, and just generally being available to help when we weren't working seemed like it was worth doing. They raised me and I was a pretty crappy kid so it's the least I can do to repay them, right? We decided to go for it.

Unfortunately, the downside to this decision is that I get to struggle with the crippling stress of a lot of dark questions. What if moving in with them causes us to stagnate and we miss out on living our own lives? What if Mai grows to resent me for that? What will I do when my grandmother finally stops recognizing me? What if they die?

Don't dwell on the problem, think of a solution.

When I was telling my mom about my idea to move in with my grandparents, she said something that has helped me power through a lot of those dark thoughts. When it comes to Alzheimer's Disease, you can't think a decade down the road. You have to think six months, a year at most, ahead. Focus on the now and enjoy the time you have left. I can't cure my grandmother and I may very well lose her twice. What I can do is make her time with me as comfortable as possible and keep moving forward, because that's all she wants.

It's really hard to have a feeling of self-worth when you are doing something that your heart isn't in for a job and you feel like you can never do enough to help those you love when you're home. That said, those same people that I feel like I can't help enough have never been anything but supportive of me. It's because of that that I do what I have to to make things work. I am nothing if not resilient.

Don't dwell on the problem, think of a solution.

I've taken you guys into a deeply personal place in my life and I'm sorry for that. This write-up is as much catharsis for me as it is an update for where I'm headed. Let's actually talk about the future, shall we?

Like I said, my heart isn't in front-facing retail. As much as I am a natural performer (I swear I am actually really good at trumpet), I've always had a love of being behind-the-scenes and making things work. It's not about being in control, it's about knowledge and the satisfaction of knowing that your actions had a direct effect on a result. This is something that really came alive in my time with THAC and was when I realized, "hey, I'm actually super good at this".

Mai is currently finishing up her internship and we are working on getting her visa/green card stuff done so she can get a big girl job. Once that is done, I am planning on going back to school and finally, FINALLY, finishing a degree. Besides music, one interest that has always stuck with me is my love of technology. That, combined with my analytical mindset and love of tinkering, has me wanting that degree to be in computer science. If I'm a good boy and do all my homework, I can finish it before my 31st birthday.

Remember that "new" plan I mentioned a while back? The quotations are important because my love for Seattle never faded, though the path leading there did. Now I have a new road that I'm gearing up for. It'll be bumpy and hard and I'm sure the car will break down at some point but I'm not backing down this time. I find myself daydreaming about being out there near-constantly and it is that feverish desire to move ahead that keeps the dark thoughts at bay now. I can't think five years ahead for my grandmother, but I can for myself. When the day comes when I have accepted my new job and need to figure out what to do for my grandparents, I'll figure it out.

Don't dwell on the problem, think of a solution.

Now for some parting words. I want to extend my deepest, most sincere feelings of gratitude to all of you fans out there. You have made the last seven years simply unbelievable. I will never forget all the fantastic memories you've given me. My life is better for every interaction I've ever had with you.

I'd like to stay creative and make new things for you all but I'm not going to sit here and make empty promises. There are no BIG PLANS or COMING SOONS, just me working my butt off at a deli to pay for a wedding ceremony in September and school in spring. I do have ideas, but that's all for now.

Tim and I are still great friends. I was the officiant at his wedding and he is returning the favor for me. I would not describe Troy and I as friends again, but we are talking again for the first time since the end of November. It's sad that things are like they are, but that's life. Shit happens and you are going to find yourself against some really intimidating obstacles. When you face those in your own life, my best advice to you is this.

Don't dwell on the problem, think of a solution.

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