38 Comments
Feb 27Liked by Alex Dobrenko`

the best thing 2 do w leftover ham is feed it to the raccoons

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Head straight to the water, then turn left (or right). When I graduated college I felt this burning need to move to California, to escape the provincial confines of Pennsylvania where fashion trends were years delayed and then I felt a little better going to college and writing poems about death for four years and sniffing around coffee shops and thrift stores in Chicago, but it still wasn't enough.

So I took the Honda Accord with the cheap paint job to cover up the rust gifted to me by my generous but racist great uncle, a new credit card (my first!) with a $500 limit and a little bit of money from cocktail waitressing at THRILLS in Denver that summer and yes, pointed that shitty hatchback due west and took the highways until they ended, just off the 10 freeway in Santa Monica.

Then I turned left. The road was rocky and uncertain for quite some time (and often still is), but there's not enough time for those details here, and I wonder what would have happened had I turned right (Malibu, duh) but you get my drift. I didn't know diddly about California other than it wasn't where I had been before. And that has made all the difference.

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Love this line:

The best laid plans of spice and rum go down like the forgotten sun.

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Do NOT do what I did at a young age - hitched myself to my high school boyfriend and wasted my twenties doing what he wanted to do, living where he wanted to live, because I was too naive to realize nobody there cared about me.

Of course years later when I asked my parents why they didn't tell me not to do that, they shrugged and replied that I wouldn't have listened.

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Feb 27Liked by Alex Dobrenko`

1. Katie, baby, just follow the breadcrumbs and get right off your own back. This is not a race.

2. I got my dream job at around 50ish and man, did that turn out to be a f*cking mess, lol. It perfectly illustrated, "be careful what you wish for."

3. Saddling "work" with the responsibility of being the source of my meaning and pleasure is a problematic pipe dream. Not that work needs to be an ever-loving-nightmare, of course. Ideally it's more like "chopping wood and carrying water" and helps fund living, which requires money. A willingness to live a simple life (e.g. not requiring big new fancy everything all the time) contributes being able to relax a little around the "chopping wood/carrying water" gig -- so you do you work mindfully and you make enough money to live simply. Now I'm all for living the good life, so if you can score a well paid gig that allows for more luxury, fab, but being ok without luxury is a handy life skill. And to return to meaning and pleasure -- I look for that in every aspect of my world but do not need my paid work to be the source.

4. I want to be on Emma Jane's exclusive "regards" recipient list, so I'll try to think of a question I'd like to ask that will not leave me with a vulnerability hangover.

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2. Trash man. But that didn’t pan out so now I work a stupid finance job and don’t get to ride on the back of a trash truck all day so that sucks big time

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Feb 27Liked by Alex Dobrenko`

dear alex,

thank you as always for these delightful dispatches! in answer to your questions:

1) "What advice do you have for Katie about how to figure out what one might do with a life?"

look at what you have enjoyed doing ALREADY in your life.

are there things you love doing?

are there things you are good at doing, or want to get better at doing?

are there jobs or careers connected to anything that you have ever loved doing?

OR that you could imagine yourself loving doing?

ps maybe less practically helpful but definitely accurate advice on what one might do with a life: LIVE IT! (or don't? but i recommend do.)

2) "What was the first job you were SURE you wanted to be?"

as a child, accountant.

as a young adult, singer-songwriter

as an older adult, comedian.

as the oldest adult, WHO KNOWS! BUT I'VE BECOME THE OLDEST ADULT! CONGRATULATE ME!

3) "Is your work the source of meaning and pleasure in your life?"

it is one of them for sure!

another is music! and art of all kinds!

another is my relationship! and all of my relationships! including this one that i have with you! YOU ALEX ARE PART OF THE SOURCE OF MEANING AND PLEASURE IN MY LIFE! HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT?

i love you and thank you! and thanks to everyone else reading this who isn't alex as well!

myq

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Feb 27Liked by Alex Dobrenko`

Dear Katie, I also struggled in college, feeling like I had to pick something I would enjoy the rest of my life. I liked many topics, how could I pick just one? The best advice I received was from my mom (even tho she's not usually good with advice and didn't graduate college). She told me what mattered was not the major, just that you have a degree. That's true, but only if you also have some work experience. So, take courses that interest you or are easy for you and get a part-time job. Try working in a few different industries, not just customer service. By the time you get your degree, you'll have the confidence that you could do just about any entry level job. You'll interview well, and you'll keep trying out jobs until you find one that works for you. Maybe you'll get a grad degree later if you find a niche that attracts you.

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Dear Katie,

I've never known what direction to take, what to 'do', what I wanted to 'be' and I old now. I have loved every minute (actually this is a lie - some were shitty but hey that's life). Relax and enjoy Katie - best wishes and good luck.

Best advice: Don't take Alex Dobrenko's advice on anything ha ha ha

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Actor. That’s all I wanted to be. But when I wasn’t getting enough work I wrote and performed a one woman comedy show called I Can Fit My Fist in My Mouth. I got a guest starring role on Seinfeld but then decided writing is better if I want to be a mom. Had success in screenwriting then momming took priority. The end.

Love your story.

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Feb 27Liked by Alex Dobrenko`

Follow your joy & curiosity! Pick a direction & then go & then watch how it changes & evolves. & commit to the phrase “for now”. You won’t be doing the same thing your whole life. People just don’t do that anymore. ☺️

turns out we want to be happy more than we want to be rich because we’ve learned (mostly) that they’re not one and the same & we might be better offer trying to secure some wealth doing something we actually enjoy.

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Feb 27Liked by Alex Dobrenko`

It is not unusual to not know what direction your next 50, 60 or more years may take. Some fortunate souls have callings to become things - artists, doctors, etc. But not anywhere close to everyone, and not all of the artists, etc can claim a calling. They just enjoy what they do and are good enough at it to make a living. To narrow things ask yourself, if you had to work for 6 months in the worst job you could think of having to do to afford even one more class, which ones would you being willing to consider? Or, maybe none? College degrees do not always solve things, and sometimes they complicate things.

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Feb 28Liked by Alex Dobrenko`

Alex, something about your writing makes me want to lap up every single word. Katie, if you figure it out, let me know!

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love you alex

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Feb 27Liked by Alex Dobrenko`

Sorry, that came out (too) fast. Was writing a whole bunch of stuff in my head for you until I realized about a paragraph into my mental comment that it was just an excuse to tell you/write about me. I’m several (many?) decades ahead of you and for many (several?) of them I would imagine telling my younger self to just focus. Pick one thing you love or at least like a lot (= makes you smile/happy or in Condo-speak, “sparks joy” but more than that, it should ignite joy) and keep doing it until it doesn’t do any of those things for you. And then choose something else to do. But — impt point here — if doing it only makes you smile and not all the rest, and you keep doing it for a long time, before you know it, you’re an expert. And from there, if/when you decide to do something else, you can prob still make a decent living just by being said expert and “consulting”. Turns out people pay for experience. No, this is not me or my life but I think it’s still something I’d force down the throat of my younger self. Hope this helps. Otherwise, see my first comment. Just live it. Because you can.

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Hon Hon Hon this is ou we talk in ze south of fraaaans. Bonjour! I can only suggest the advice I've been given when I was about to jump from high school to university. At that point I'd done 5 years of psychology elective studies because I wanted to know how people worked. But in the middle of that I also started studying philosophy which was studying how studying people worked and one-upped psychology big time. But I also liked marketing and maybe I wanted to go to Milan and join a private school with rich kids and be fancy like that. So I used a matrix, put down a list of what mattered to me, and scored each option, then I scored the factors themselves. Turns out I didn't give a shit about marketing. Anyway, the first day of uni, philosophy 1.01, our professor said: if you have any uncertainty about this course, if you are still open to the idea to change, go change now or you will regret it forever. Ze end.

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