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  • Jake Jaramillo

when it all comes crashing down

Dear reader,


Initially I was going to start this entry out by jokingly saying "this is my semi-yearly check-in that I seem to do here!," but as I wiped the dust off of this website, I realized that it's almost been an entire year since the last time we spoke.


Can you believe that?


My last entry dealt with the idea of letting go, as evident by the title, letting go. At that time, I had just been let go from my job as a video editor doing social content for a law firm – riveting stuff, I know. However, I moved to Los Angeles under the promise of steady income and being able to comfortably afford the lifestyle that I wanted. At the time, that lifestyle included being able to pay rent, feed myself, and create art without having to worry about being unable to do any of those things. When I lost that security, things started to, uh... spiral out of control.


Nothing terrible happened (thankfully), but I could feel myself ~losing my cool.~ What happens when you combine the anxieties of moving to a new city for the first time in your entire life with the complete shock of losing your only means to live in said city? It took approximately 35 days of me living here to find out.


I ran home for a little bit, met up with some old friends, struggled with feeling like I didn't belong anywhere for a while, and went through one of the most difficult periods of my adult life for a few months.



We'll skip the details.


Dear reader, I'm happy to report that things get... better. In the ten months since my last entry, a lot has happened. Here are the spark notes:


  • Maniacally enjoyed unemployment for a month or two.

  • Completely depleted my savings.

  • Turned 24 in Los Angeles.

  • Rediscovered my faith in creativity & the power of art.

  • Went camping for the first time in California.

  • Made some new LA friends for the first time (!).

  • Started running a bi-weekly social coffee event out of our apartment.

  • Found editing work with a certain vlogging couple.

  • Completely exhausted myself and got driven to the brink because of my newfound employment.

  • Lost my faith in creativity & the power of art.

  • Got COVID for the first time ever.

  • Got let go from my job again.

  • Went back to my hometown in a healthier way.

  • Rediscovered my faith in creativity & the power of art (again).

  • Embarked on a months-long job hunt (again).

  • Worked on film sets for the first time since college.

  • Picked up long-form and short-form content creation (again).

  • Got a job not in the content space (again).

  • Found joy within youth (for the first time).


That last one is important.


Objectively, things have been good. Or, maybe objectively things have been bad, but I'd be an idiot to believe that I'm the only person in the world having a hard time making things work in their 20s. Because of that, this past year has made it more and more apparent to me that that's kinda what it's all about. With every day that passes – every struggle, every pitfall, every thing I thought I had a grasp on – I realize that I know less and less than I originally thought. It's amazing.


Reader, let me know if this is a universal experience.


To grow older is to realize that you know nothing at all. The world is so much bigger than I originally thought it was. To grow older is to realize that there is no one place for anybody, but an infinite amount of variations that we could all follow to lead us in different directions, all of which would be the "right ones." To grow older is to think you know what's ahead – to anticipate it and make this big giant plan for how amazing things are going to be – only for it all to come crashing down and wallow in all the feelings that come with messing up. However, to grow older is to understand that, maybe, all this crashing down that's happening to us is something to be embraced.


Maybe to grow older is to understand that all of this crashing down doesn't mean you're a failure or that you'll never figure things out. Maybe it's something to be appreciated. Maybe it means that you're trying.


You're always trying.



Since the new year turned (which was over four months ago?!), I've written some goals for myself – something I tend not to do because of the supposed malleability of plans in this life. However, I do believe that some direction is better than none. If I've learned anything in my adult life, it's easier to float than it is to swim.


Three out of five of my goals pertain to making things. Over this past year, I've spent a lot of time consuming a lot of art. I dove headfirst into the history of photography, specifically honing in on street photography in the 1950s - 1980s. I've dedicated to memory countless photographs by Joel Meyerowitz, William Eggleston, Ernst Haas, Fred Herzog, Catherine DeLattre, among others. I've fallen in love with photography as a medium and its place in my life. I've tried my best to figure out how I want to contribute to this beautiful, colorful story.


Because of that, my biggest, loftiest goal this year is to publish at least two collections of photographic work by the end of the year. For all you math whizzes out there, that means have at least one published by the end of June, and that's in less than two months! I've been taking photos for many, many years but have yet to officially publish any work. I've never done zines, I've never done books, I've never even done a single print! And because I've never done it, I've never wanted to do it.


Isn't that so backwards?


I've held myself back from venturing into these new fields of creativity because I'd never ventured into these fields of creativity before. I feel like I have to know how to do something "the right way" in order to do it at all. I'm so scared of messing things up.


Dear reader, the reason I'm writing all of this is exactly because I'm afraid of messing things up. I know if I keep these goals, these dreams – these seeds – to myself, then nothing will ever come of them. How is anything supposed to grow if the seeds stay hidden in your pocket?


These things must be planted in the open so that all of the warmth of the sun can wrap them up, for me anyway. They must be nurtured by the one responsible for keeping them safe & healthy. These things do not grow by magic. They grow by intention and patience.



So, dear reader, this is my almost-one-year update: things are objectively difficult but I'm making it work. I'm understanding that I know less and less with every day, and that's okay. I'm trying new things and probably failing a bunch and taking it all in as a way to progress forward, whatever that even means.


I'd like to tell myself – the me from almost a year ago now – that things turn out okay. I'd like to tell him that he ends up finding another job, and then he'll hate it, and then he'll spend an undetermined amount of time questioning his purpose. I'd like to tell him that he meets some truly amazing people in Los Angeles and is finally able to make this city feel like home. I'd like to tell him that he's finally deciding to take art seriously despite how incredibly terrifying the weight of that decision really feels.


And I'd like to tell him that all of this struggle and the feeling bad parts of his 20s are the parts that allow him to discover the feeling good parts.




Dear reader, here's to when things come crashing down.


Instead of frantically trying to save it all, here's to appreciating the beauty of the moment and feeling the excitement of being able to get back up and rearrange all the pieces.


Love and light,

Jake


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