Here I go again on my own/Going down the only road I’ve ever known/Like a drifter, I was born to walk alone
For the longest time in my life, I felt this could be my walk-around theme song. I spent many years of my life lost, looking for answers that would never come and looking for THE answer that I’ve craved all my life. I felt trapped inside a personal prison that I feared I would never and could never escape. It was dark, cold, and I felt completely alone.
But then I would break free. Again and again, I would break free. Only to keep coming back. Again and again and again.
Just when I thought things were getting better each time and I was finally closing in on the elusive answer, I would get knocked back down again. I would climb and I would fall. I would climb and I would fall. The problem with getting closer to the top is that the fall becomes longer and it starts to hurt more and more every time. Believe me, there were times that I thought about not getting back up. I thought maybe I couldn’t, or even shouldn’t get up.
But you’ve read these things before from me. This is actually right around where I left you in “THE STATE OF THE LUKE NORRIS ADDRESS”. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, just go ahead and click on the title there and get caught up. But chances are if you’re reading this, then you know what’s happened over the past few years.
So what’s the point of this post then? The point is that once again, I feel like I have yet another fresh start, but this time is different. But why?
It’s been an interesting five months to say the least. When I last left you, I was about to hit the road and just go west, and I certainly did that. If you missed my series “THE LUKE NORRIS TRAVEL EXPERIENCE”, you can find it in the March 2014 archives to your right. You can catch all of the details there, but over the course of nearly a week, I drove 3,776 miles through Iowa, Nebraska (FUCK Nebraska!), Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and back home to good old Illinois. And I can honestly say that I’d do it all over again. It truly was amazing. It gave me so many hours on the road to just think about so many things in my life, and I saw some awesome things along the way, most notably the Grand Canyon. If you’ve never been, please do it before you die. But even some things that I didn’t know I would feel so strongly about are what make the trip stand out. I didn’t know how beautiful southern Utah is. I didn’t know that a cool desert night driving in New Mexico could be so refreshing. I didn’t know that the bombing site in Oklahoma City would make me feel the way it did. Honestly, I think that road trip brought out nearly every emotion that I have. But as cool as it was to be out there, nothing made me feel as good as coming soon and seeing how much my girls had missed me. All of them.
I came back refreshed. For those who read the address, let me clarify something. The point of that road trip was not to find my definitive answer to that one certain question. That wasn’t the point at all. The point was to just get some time away, which I think we’ve all experienced. But I did come back refreshed. That doesn’t mean that the things that had been going on here had just gone away. My basement was still a wreck. I didn’t magically have a job waiting for me. I knew there was still work to be done here.
So I started on the job hunt. What a fucking mess that was. Looking for a job is the absolute worst. I hadn’t done it in so long, so I really had forgotten how awful the process really is. The key this time though was not to just send out resumes to just any company that was looking. I wanted my next position to be something I could get excited about. For so long, I had been so unhappy with my job that I wanted something different. I was getting phone calls and interviews, but nothing that made me jump for joy. And when did companies start holding more than an interview or two? Good lord, there was one company that I interviewed with five times, including an actual full day of work. And then in the last interview, the guy I was supposed to meet with didn’t even show up. No e-mail. No phone call. Nothing. To this day, I still haven’t heard back from them. And that’s okay. If that’s the way they were going to do business, then I didn’t want to be a part of that anyway. It was also during this time that I started talking with Nexstar Broadcasting, who run CBS and FOX here in town. Again, I went on multiple interviews. I remember thinking that the first one had been more enjoyable than any interview I’d ever been on. But things kept getting dragged out. But I was still excited about it. It was even said to me that I hadn’t looked so excited about anything in quite a while, so I knew there was something there. If I hadn’t heard back from them for a few days, I called. I e-mailed. And persistence paid off. Starting Monday, I will be the new Account Executive with WMBD-TV 31, Fox 43, ciproud.com, and Bounce. Salary, commission, health, dental, vision, 401k, an expense account, phone, laptop, the works. So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.
Throughout the five months, I’ve also had quite a bit of time to write. I’m sure I’ve annoyed some of you quite a bit with all the things I post on facebook for Binge Media, but hey, that’s what I need to do to get the clicks I’m looking for, so suck it up. I’ve been doing Binge Media Sports for a while now, and just in the last week and a half, I’ve actually been given my own weekly feature, which I’m calling “Working the Weekend with Luke”. Again, if you’d like to read it, just click on the title and check it out. I feel I’ve really gotten into a groove lately with my writing, and I’ve got some other big ideas for other projects that will soon be ready to roll.
Sure, there’s been some tough times over the past five months. I would get down on myself when the phone calls weren’t coming, or a couple of jobs I thought I wanted didn’t happen, but I kept telling myself that maybe that’s not the one I was supposed to get anyway. I would justify the schedule or the salary or some aspect that I didn’t like about it to make myself feel better and it allowed me to move on. However, when real tragedy struck, all of my petty bullshit seemed to go away. A couple of days after my birthday, I got a phone call saying that a friend I’d known for almost 30 years had passed and his eight-year old son was left to ask questions. I wrote about it in “Dear Alex”, but that really hit me hard. It hit a ton of people very hard and even as I write this now, I’m left with questions myself that will never be answered. But when something like that happens, you really take stock of what you have in your life. My heart continues to be with Alex and Becky and forever will be.
That’s why I’m glad I have the people in my life now that I do. Each time I’ve fallen down, I’ve had people to help pick me back up. Whether it was my boys back in the day, or Ashlie when my father died, or my family throughout everything, I’ve never been alone, even the times when I thought I was. There’s always been people there to help and I’m so blessed to know the people that I do.
But throughout the tough times over these past few years, the two main reasons that I keep getting back up to fight are these two.
This is a picture from Ashlyn and Brooklyn’s first dance recital, held about a month ago. This is one of the many great moments from the last five months that I’ve gotten to spend with my daughters. That’s been the positive side of this time off. They start preschool in the fall and kindergarten and high school and college won’t be far behind the way time has been moving. So it’s been an absolute joy to have all this time I’ve had with them. When they’re this age, five months can bring so much and I feel like I’ve seen so much in that time and I feel like I’ve certainly taken advantage of it. Whether it be Monkey Joe’s or Chuck E. Cheese or Monday morning story time at the bookstore or a trip to the zoo or a trip to Chicago to see my nephews, we’ve done so much during these five months. I feel like I’ve become a better father in this time and it’s something I’ll never regret. Every single thing I do in my life, I’m doing for them. I want them to always be able to count on me, to know that I’m there for them, to know that no matter what, I’ll always be Daddy and I’ll always love them more than anything in the world.
(I know, I know…wrap it up)
The point of all that is this. As I said before, I feel like I’ve got yet another fresh start. With the new job and the new opportunities that have been presented to me, I’m ready to get back up once again and keep fighting. I’ve taken advantage of these past five months, through the ups and downs, and really taken a hard look at myself and I can honestly say that I’m closer than I’ve ever been to finding my answer. I’m also fully aware that I can get my ass kicked again at any time. I could hate the job. I could get writer’s block. There’s a number of things that could go wrong. That’s just life. But I’m ready to climb once again. The only thing is that I have a head start this time. I’m ready for another round…so here I go again. I’m just not on my own. I’ve got a whole group of people backing me up.