For Those Still Standing: Episode 1
Contributed by ben_conoley, Posted by

As we mentioned yesterday, today marks the beginning of a new column from Mike Hale. Mike just packed up all his belongings and headed out on the road with no plans to return.

My name is Mike Hale, I'm 34 years old, and today was the last day of my life. I packed up my tools with a little extra care at the end of my work day today. Who knows when they'll be used again?. Did I mention that I'm a carpenter? Was a carpenter?

That's kind of the problem. I've been wanting a different life for so long. I cant' remember a time when i wasn't wishing for it. I play guitar and sing a little too. That, also being part of the problem. it's all I've ever wanted to do. So much so, that everyday, I spend almost every minute day-dreaming about it.

About a year ago my wife decided she didn't want to be married anymore. A few months later i had to put my dog to sleep. Our economy went to shit and almost every job sight in America had to put the brakes on. This has left me in more than a crappy situation. I'm a world away from home, heartbroken, alone, dirt poor, sleeping on the floor in a friend's garage. None of which would be all that bad if I weren't so unhappy with my current role in the game of life. Being poor I can handle, being unhappy just sucks! I'm so tired. Tired of wishing it could all be different. Tired of wanting the things I'm too afraid to fight for. I'm tired of hearing "cut your hair, shave, cover those tattoos, go back to school, get an education, "Michael get a real life!" Mostly, I'm tired of waking up every morning feeling like another day has passed and I've done nothing to offer myself a change.

Remember when you were a kid? "You can do anything you set your mind to!" That's what every adult says cuz they can't offer up anything better to give kids hope for their future. Hell! My buddy gots kids and i tell'em that shit all the time. "Just Believe in yourself", "Never give up on your dreams"… Some get older and start using words like "sell out". Wear clothes that piss our parents off and do things grown ups don't quite understand. move out, maybe get a little tattoo, smoke a ton of weed and discover a cause… maybe a passion.

Sooner or later just about everyone gives in. You get tired of sleeping on the floor and the power getting turned off. That full time job tried so desperately to avoid is really fucking hard to give up now that it pays for health insurance and allows you to eat dinner every night.

Of course either lifestyle is by choice! don't get me wrong, I'm aware we all choose our own path. I'm just saying… it seems to me, that as we all get older, becoming a passive part of the system makes it easier to get through each day. Eventually, life simply depends it. with age comes responsibility. kids and shit! Real responsibility you can't just walk away from. Now things are a bit more complicated, you HAVE to go to work! lives depend on your eight hour day. Can't be late on the car payment. It'll reflect on your credit!! and FUCK how i tried to have a "real life"!!!!!

I'm 34, 35 this year. I'm a carpenter. Was a carpenter. Did i mention that already? I've worked for the same company for the last 5 years. I've become that very passive part of "the system" here in carpinteria, CA. and i hate it!

I love to sing and play songs. songs that are of my liking of course. I love making records and touring. In addition to putting out records as an individual, I Play in the bands In The Red and Gunmmoll. I've never made more than gas money, but, safe to say, Playing music is the greatest single passion I've ever known. so much so that I've decided to give up the so called life i have here in pursuit of a life long dream.

Gave my boss notice, sold my truck, have a safe place to store all my personal shit. I'm going on tour… full time. …By full time I mean that from now on, my occupation will solely consist of playing music. I will either be touring on my own or with In The Red. I'm leaving this life behind.

I'm gonna write about it too. All of it! And have it put up for the world to see. I'm going to play around the whole world, visit every single cool ass place I ever wanted to go, from book stores and cofee shops, to squats and cathedrals. Every tour, show, band, hard time and amazing adventure is going to be writen about. From my point of view this time.

I know I know, I've already heard about it! "that's fucking crazy", "that,, is the stupidest thing i've ever heard", and my favorite,"You're setting yourself up for failure!" "Again!"

Well… fuck!

Like i was saying earlier, my whole life growing up I was told to never give up. Never stop believing in yourself. You can do anything you set your mind to…

I'm gonna find out if that's true.

To contact Mike, email him at mikehalemusic (at) gmail (dot) com.