Chapter Twelve

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When I woke up, I went around and inspected my new apartment for the first time. In the light of day, I could really notice how old and dingy the place was. The carpets were thick orangey-brown shag, probably concealing horrible stains. The kitchen cabinets had a fake wood laminate on them, which was peeling off in most places. All the fixtures and knobs had not been updated since the place was built in the 60s. There were dirty finger marks on the walls and the entire place smelled like an old shoe. I didn't even want to look at the bathroom. I didn't see any signs of rodents or critters, but I was sure they were not too far away. I was not very impressed to say the least.

I walked over to the curtain-less window in my room to check out the view. The windows, like everything else, were completely filthy. The view from my second-floor apartment overlooked the alley behind the building. As I looked out, I saw a homeless man digging through one of the dumpsters. I stared at this man for a moment and was captivated. Circumstances in this man's life forced him to do something that he would probably not want to do otherwise. Could I be this man? I thought. Is this how my life will turn out? Sure, I was not digging through a dumpster, but I was not much better off than he was.

Ever since I arrived in Vancouver, my life had trended downwards. Given another month, it was certainly plausible I would be doing the same thing he was doing. I was barely treading water, fighting for survival, and I felt like I could drown at any moment.

I took a long look around my dark bedroom. There were boxes and bags scattered everywhere with no order and no purpose, it kind of reflected my life at the moment. Standing there, taking it all in, I started to think about all the stuff I had been through over the past year since I had moved out. It wasn't obvious what my next move was going to be. Where do I go from here? How did I even end up like this?

A year ago, I was thriving. I had lots of money, ambition, and optimism, but now my life was going in the exact opposite direction that I wanted it to go. The more I thought about it, the more upset it made me. I slowly began to break down emotionally. Soon after, my emotions completely consumed me and I could no longer stand the pain. I had reached my breaking point.

I dropped to my knees, and began to cry. I was completely broken. What started out as a slow pathetic weep soon escalated into something that was beyond my control. I felt like I was paralyzed and all I could do was scream. It felt like the tears were going to ooze out of every pore of my body and just drain me until I had nothing left. There was no more fight left in me, I was done, I had been defeated.

It was time to face the cold harsh reality that my venture into the real world had ended in disaster. As the pain grew stronger, I could no longer function. Like a ton of bricks weighing me down, I was hit with the worst possible depression; it was unlike anything I had ever felt before in my life. It was almost as if any ounce of hope that was remaining had suddenly been stripped away. My future looked bleak, as if I had been left for dead and nobody was coming to save me. As hard as I tried, I could not just snap out of it. My emotions, now in overdrive, rendered me helpless as I collapsed onto the dirty floor. This was it. I was all alone in this scary world and was completely helpless. I had hit rock bottom. My life sucks.

Somehow, I managed to lift myself up and crawl over to my mattress. I guess I still had enough sense in me not to be on that dirty floor for too long. I flopped onto the bare mattress and just laid there, face down, and continued to cry for hours.

As I laid on the mattress, I thought about a lot of things. Like a mathematician who had made a few mistakes along the way, I methodically analyzed my life to see where I had gone wrong. I went over every detail, every choice I had made in the past year, every conversation, every reaction, and every relationship.

I was a big failure. I allowed a loser into my life and now my life was in ruin because of it. What made matters worse was the realization that I had no one to blame but myself. If only I could do it all over again, if only I had another chance, I would be smarter, I would do things differently, I would learn from my mistakes.

That's when it hit me. I realized I could have a second chance; I couldturn these negatives into positives. I could become whoever I wanted. If thiswas rock bottom, then the only way to go from here was up. I could have satthere and cried all day feeling sorry for myself, or I could develop a gameplan and figure out how to get out of the mess I was in. I needed to take action. I needed to force change. I was down, but not out. Like a champion who had been knocked down in a late round of a fight, I had somehow summoned enough strength to continue to endure the pain. With a stubborn refusal I decided this wasn't my life. This wasn't my destiny. There had been a mistake. This was not supposed to happen to me. No, I refused to accept this is how my life is going to turn out.

The tears stopped and I began to pick myself up again. I was a fighter, not a quitter. I was a winner, not a loser. Using these thoughts as a mantra, I began to get my head back on straight and tell myself everything would be okay. I felt like I was making progress.

Thinking back on the events that led me to where I was, there were some pretty obvious things I did wrong. I went against my own intuition. Never again would I let someone be a negative influence on me. I needed to trust my instincts and be more cautious as to who I surrounded myself with. I needed to surround myself with positive people who would help me grow, inspire me, have my best interest at heart, and not bring me down. And if I ever went into business again, I needed to choose my business partners wisely.

I kept thinking about all the lessons I could learn from my experiences so I would never be in this situation again. I needed to relearn the importance of financial responsibility. I used to be really good with my money and not spend it on stuff I didn't need. I had nearly eight grand saved up from my time in Banff, but within a few short months I had nothing left.

I had experienced a minor setback, but this wasn't the end for me. I would continue on, much wiser, as I had now gained valuable knowledge from this experience. Maybe this is what life is all about; people need to go through stuff in order to develop.

I heard a saying once that God would never put you in a situation you do not have the power to overcome. I felt like this was true for me in this particular instance. I wasn't a religious person per se, but I found comfort in the sentiment. I knew I could overcome this hardship. It was the first major obstacle in my life since I had moved out, but that's all it was, an obstacle, not the end of the road.

I thought long and hard about my life and the situation I was in and I decided what I had to do. The first order of business was to get out of the depressing apartment.

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