Thursday, January 10, 2013

2012 A New Beginning


2012 went pretty well.

My life has been one of existence both financially and emotionally since 1994 when my marriage started to fall apart. Even though my memory is not great my memory for when this all began is very clear.

It was the spring of 1994 and I was still married but had that nagging feeling that something was wrong. I can remember asking my wife if there was something wrong in our relationship only to have her tell me everything was just fine. Even though she was telling me everything was "just fine" I knew she wasn't being completely honest with her feelings. I had felt her pulling away for sometime and there didn't seem to be anything I could do to stop it.

At that time we running a video store and computer repair shop and the stress level was pretty high. Since she was telling me otherwise and I wanted to believe her I eventually decided to ignore my feelings and chalk them up to my own self doubt and the stress we were both experiencing.

That all changed one night when I was woken up in the middle of the night by a pain in my chest that hurt worse than anything I had experienced. I absolutely believed I was having a heart attack. My wife's reaction to the whole thing was surprising. She really didn't seem too concerned. She remained in bed, didn't offer to call for assistance or even offer to take me to the hospital. In fact, she suggested I drive myself to the hospital and call her if they admitted me.

This seemed unusual coming from the women that was the mother of my 3 children and had been with me since 1983. It turned out I was having a problem with my gall bladder which believe it or not can sometimes feel like a heart attack. So I made it through that health scare but knew deep down inside that my marriage wasn't going to. Needless to say, the nagging feeling of impending doom returned.

My marriage ended in the middle of September 1995. It ended up destroying my sense of family and putting my life into a turmoil that really hasn't ever completely left. To this day I still have to deal with issues related to my failed marriage.

That's not to say that everything that has happened since 1995 has been awful. It's just that it has been a consistent series of good overshadowed by something bad happening. In other words each time I took one step forward in one area of my life I would be knocked 2 steps back in another.

That all began to end in 2011 when I made some really tough choices. I decided to move from Colorado where I had lived since 1986 back to Illinois to move in with my mother. It was a tough decision to make but I didn't have many alternatives. I was unable to work much because of an auto accident I was in. My mom is 78 years old (now) and had been by herself since 2007 when my father passed at age 91. Even though she is in relatively good health she is really unable to drive. Plus she had fallen down several times and is unable to get herself back up. For some time I had felt a very strong need to come back to support her. At my age no one likes the idea of living with their mother, but I felt like my moving in with her would help us both.

Along with the decision to move I also made the decision to get out of the computer business. It's something I have done since 1982 and has in a lot of ways dictated my life. I ended up being the "go to" guy for just about all my customers. In addition to the computer business from 2001 - 2010 I owned and operated a Internet Service which is a 24/7 operation. My life was never my own and over the years that has worn very hard on me.

Even so, it was a tough decision to come to. I have some customers that I've been servicing since the mid 90's and they've been very loyal. They were the ones that saw just about everything I went through, all the pain and misery of my personal life because I'm not very good about hiding my feelings. They supported me and my family and I feel I owe them a great debt and it was tough to tell them I was getting out.

I still even have 2 left that I just can't say no to and I remain available for them when they need me because it's the right thing to do.

So as I came into 2012 I had pretty much cut off my income stream. Not only had I gotten out of the computer business I had also moved out of my primary working area for comedy. There wasn't a lot left out there for me anyway but anything comedy is a good thing in my life and I moved 1,000 miles away from all of it.

The Midwest is filled with a lot of places to work. There are also a lot of comics here and all the clubs and bookers out here already have a full roster. Which means the new guy (me) has to stand in line and hope that an opportunity comes his way.

Opportunities don't just make themselves, you have to go out and create them which is what I spent 2012 doing. I had some successes and some failures but overall I made some real progress in 2012. I made my way into a couple of pretty nice clubs and worked at a lot of new venues. It was a good comedy year.

I also went out on my longest and most profitable run in comedy. I was out for 40 days, drove 8,500 miles and made ... I'm not going to say, but I will say it was more than I have ever brought home. I had a great time and even though I missed my family while I was gone it was a very good trip for me and really made me feel connected to comedy.

I also was able to create a customer base for web design services. It is the one thing from the computer business I DIDN'T do but decided to start as I got out of it. My thinking was that I wanted to do all things creative and while it may not be comedy; it does allow me to bring an idea into reality. Which in my mind is pretty much the same as writing a joke.

The best thing at the end of 2012 was everyone was still around me. My mother is still in relatively good health, Shannon seems pretty happy and our dog Yuppie is ... being the crazy lovable dog he always has been.

So I think I can put one in the good year column this time and that's something I haven't done in a long time.



Vilmos has been a standup comedian since 1992.
He created GreenRoomRadio.net a web site with Podcasts by comedians.
He is the host of The Green Room which is the longest running Podcast on standup comedy.
He also hosts The Mentorist v2 and The Spew.
His web site is Vilmos.com.
Follow him on Facebook at facebook.com/vilmosthecomic or Twitter @vilmosthecomic.