Broke, but not broken?

Truth be told, I am pretty bloody terrified about the future. All I’m faced with is this perpetual uncertainty of what lies ahead… And is that what adulthood’s all about? Am I just going to go through the rest of my life with a massive question mark across my face, feeling like a kid who’s lost their parents in a shopping mall during their pre-mobile phone days. Because, if that’s what adulthood is, I must kindly decline this offer. I refuse to take part in such atrocity.

Part of the problem is the ambiguity of that awaits me on the other side. I don’t know what I want to do or be in life. Do I want to be somebody who makes heaps of money? Or do I want to leave a massive smudge of Kylie on the surface of the Earth? And no, I don’t mean smearing my defecations across the borders of several countries… because that is, quite frankly, really disgusting. I mean, do I want to work to make something awesome happen in the world? A prolific act of altruism – helping those who struggle, and trying to give them hope and opportunity? Then I could die knowing that I might’ve potentially created a chance for at least one person to live and make something of themselves, which may inadvertently sprout the beginnings of a long line of ancestry. Mm, yes. That sounds delicious.

The reason I’m writing this post is because I suddenly feel so restricted and trapped at university. Don’t get me wrong, I love learning. I am interested in what I’m studying… But then again, I’m also interested in a lot of things. I like to dance, but I don’t want to be a professional dancer. I like to eat… But I don’t fancy being a culinary professional. So, what makes interest in my course any different from any of my other interests? How do I know that I’m doing what I want to be doing? That I’m becoming a person of value, not a person who craves success?

One of the things I’ve uncovered and have been reflecting on for the longest time these past couple of months is how as we grow older, we are systematically stripped of our dynamism, creativity, and our expressiveness as the competition for success in our lives grow. We’re battered with theories of political, social and economical constructs, then tossed in to an arena to see who knows these theories best. We’re deprived of our individuality, then fed standardised knowledge discovered by some genius in the past. We’re encouraged to grow, but not in a way that I would’ve imagined. Instead of being encouraged to challenge theories, or create something as revolutionary as the things we learn about, we’re told to absorb what is already widely known and accepted by everybody.

In primary school, we didn’t have that. At the time, we wouldn’t begin to comprehend how beautiful and badass this time in our lives would be, but it was the greatest. We were gently encouraged to try and learn about things in various arts, cultures and subjects in life… But then we reached high school. Again, for the first few years we were goaded into trying different things to make us more cultured and educated, and this started to shape us as individuals… to show us what we liked and what we didn’t like.

Then it started to get competitive… We were graded, praised and punished by the mark of a letter in red. In some ways, that pushed us to become better, to try harder… But, it was no longer subjects that we were allowed to maintain a quiet adoration for. It became this intense mental battle to get better grades, because for all we cared, 95% didn’t mean A+… It meant you were almost good enough, but not quite. Not until we beat whoever was at the top. Not until we became the best. Instead of loving a subject, it was just a test. A representation of our success and of our failures. We weren’t heralded not for our passion and creativity, but for our ability to grade ourselves, and our rank among others.

I wish we could’ve been celebrated for our dreams, because somewhere along the line, I forgot the expression of creativity and how awesome it all was. I’d rather be broke and to be able to live knowing I could express myself, rather than have my knowledge dictated by all these theoretical constructs what I couldn’t give a flying f*** about. Constructs that someone who had challenged the system had made once. I don’t want my mark on the world to be amounted to my monetary contributions at some major corporation. I don’t want my working there to be some validation of success. I want to do something brilliant… Except I’m not quite sure what that is yet.

I don’t know why I choose to broadcast my ongoing quarter life existential crisis… But, hopefully I’m not alone? My outlook in life is bleak as hell at the moment, but hopefully it’s just a phase, because god this sucks. Hopefully I can look back at this in 10 years and chuckle at how stupid this all is. Ha.

Here’s a picture of a smiling goat, just to make this post a little happier. :’)

happygoat1

 

Advertisements

Happiness: Restricted

Okay, so there are a few things that I have learnt about myself and the universe as this arduous job hunt continues.

1. I’m the epitome of impatience. In fact, I would legally change my name to ‘impatience’ if the process didn’t take so damned long. I honestly didn’t comprehend how impatient I was until I experienced the whole ‘waiting period’ between sending out a resume and getting an interview etc, etc.

2. I’ve become surprisingly good at rejections. Yes, this will most definitely come back to bite me in the ass when the pile of rejections become too tall and high. However, at this stage I get over the rejection quite fast. By fast, I mean I go through that stage of a relationship turned sour (except in job terms) where I grab a friend by the collar, and with snot dribbling down my face yell, “WHY WON’T THEY JUST LOVE ME FOR MEEE?! WAHHHH!” Then I proceed to go home and lay in bed thinking about all the things I could’ve and should’ve said and did that might’ve made them love me a little more. However, give or take a day or two, I’m back on the prowl.

The shit thing is, I’m probably becoming so good at being rejected that it’ll bleed into other aspects of my life and I’ll be approaching men in the bar just like Carrie-May from House Bunny.

Image

 

3. This final one is the actual reason I wrote this post. These past couple of months has made me question why I feel so strangely unfulfilled and why my life seems to lack purpose because of the mere fact I don’t have a job at the moment. Then I realised it’s because the majority of people raised in a Western culture place a sick amount of importance and value on careers and success. Their life is their career, and money is this twisted motivator that consumes their lives.

The reason why I think this is twisted is because I realised how much importance we put on money, and it’s become this thing where we can’t actually live a good life without it. Everything we want to do in the future needs money to be done. Such as travelling, going out, buying a house, going to visit relatives overseas, fine-dining etc.

We’ll need a job that will predominantly take up half our lives to get the money, which then goes towards fun things that might only satisfy us for the smallest portion of our lives. On top of this, because we know that we’ll be spending a great portion of our lives in these jobs, we’re forever looking for a job that will satisfy us both financially and mentally. Which is sad, because in my opinion, your life and your career shouldn’t be in the same league, but apparently it is now. I feel that we go through life being told we should improve ourselves, we should do something that will give us an edge in life. To make us more employable – but not necessarily to make us better or happier people.

This is the reason why I find it shameful. I feel restricted from doing things that I used to be able to do when I was still working – but, it shouldn’t be that way. I shouldn’t feel that only money will let me be a happier person who can do more things in life. I don’t want to be the type of person who spends their whole life in a job just to be able to snatch a few moments of fun at the end. I want to be able to enjoy the greater things in life everyday of my life without having to worry about that stuff.

After a conversation with one of my best buds, I was alerted that people in other parts of the world don’t have this same mindset. It isn’t the cultural norm to spend their whole lives planning and planning for the moment they get to do stuff. They just do it. In life, you’ll either have no money and heaps of time, or money and no time. This is the way that we’ve been raised. Time ticks away quickly as you work, it ticks and ticks so you can pocket some cash to use later on. But when it’s later on, you’re already too old. You’re not as agile, and you’re bordering on senility. It’s a crappy way to live, but it’s the only way we know how to live.

So, I’m not going all anti-capitalist and all that on yo’ asses, but don’t let money consume you. Know what the important things are in life, because there are so many other things in life other than jobs and money. There are so many smaller things that can fulfil you rather than a job. I guess what I want to say is; I want a life that will satisfy me. Not a job.

It’s definitely not incompetency.

Okay. So, I’ve spent an unhealthy portion of the day sitting in front of the television watching the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics (12 hours, to be exact). As time progressively passes by, I can’t help but feel more and more incompetent. As a person my age breaks world records and totally kicks ass at figure skating, I’m just sitting on my ass watching… And it starts to make me reevaluate myself and what I’m good at.

I’m not gonna say, “Well, shit. This is why I never get invested in watching the games.” Because I think it’s great watching sportsmen and women get recognition for being good at what they do. However, in doing that, it makes me think about what I could’ve achieved if I had really stuck to the sports I loved as a kid… Then I remember, my parents are Asian… And whilst they do appreciate sports and stuff, they would prefer me in a low risk, high reward environment… Like being a doctor or something.

I think the two reasons I think it’d be awesome to be a sportsperson is because 1. You get recognition for doing what you do best and 2. These days it’s extremely hard to be widely recognised for being good at what you do.

In no way, shape or form am I saying that we need recognition for being good at what we do, but it gives us reassurance that we aren’t just another leaf on a tree… Or another fish in the corporate sea etcetera, etcetera. And that would be nice. It’s kind of like the ultimate, “You are brilliant. Keep doing what you’re doing.” Or a massive, “we’re proud of you!” From the world.

Well, I know that I’m glamourising this whole situation, because people do cop a lot of shit whether they’re good at what they do or not. They give up so much to master their abilities, such as their childhood, the chance of having a legitimate friendship or even a normal upbringing. Then they might never even get that recognition they seek because they simply aren’t ‘good enough’ as a result of a number or simply because they’ll never feel content with their abilities… Which sucks because this thing they do is their life, and once it’s over they might have nothing. But, it’s just that I see these sportspeople do what they do, and it makes me smile in awe… And it would be the best feeling ever knowing that you are the reason people are smiling in awe.

I think another reason jealousy oozes from my pores is because these people have ultimately found their calling. They’ve found that one thing they kick ass at, and they continue to kick ass at it. For me, I have several things I’m competent at, nothing I’ve mastered… But definitely a bunch of things I enjoy and am pretty alright at… Like dancing, writing… Rambling, movie marathons etc.

So, shouldn’t the summation of these bunch of things make up for it? I wish. I want to be legitimately good at something and know that I’m good at it… Not that I’m just okay at it. Maybe it’s… No, it’s definitely the perfectionist within me. I need to know what I’m good at, but the complicated thing is, apparently my self-evaluation isn’t quite enough. Which is really stupid of me. I’m never going to know what I’m good at if I need to depend on other people to reassure me.

Another thing is the immediacy part. These people have found their calling. I’m obviously still looking… Forever looking. I know that these sportspeople might have these feelings of never feeling good enough until they get first place, and even then it’s not definite. I don’t need that. I just need one person… Well, one prominent person in my life to tell me that my shit’s brilliant (not literally, because that’s disgusting, and frankly, a little messed up).

It might be a self confidence problem, it might be a life reassurance thing, but it’s most definitely partially to do with my inner perfectionist… But, I’m still awaiting the day I wake up, happy with everything I’ve accomplished in life. From what I understand of myself so far, that day will come when I don’t need the reassurance of others. I need to completely comprehend that being happy at what I do is always enough.

Time to grow up?

If ‘growing up’ has made me realise anything… It’s that I’m not ready to grow up. After talking to a couple of people about how quickly 2013 has passed, we realised that after next year we’ll be done with university and out to find a ‘real’ job. We realised that in 5 years, we might have a couple of friends getting hitched, and in 10 years, we’re going to be 30. In the scope of things, that’s probably a long time away… but after seeing how quickly every year is passing, it feels like we’re just a hop, step and a skip away from all these things occurring.

The thing that scares me most about growing up is the whole ‘responsibility’ part that comes with it. I have undoubtedly lived a privileged life where my parents are just a bird call away from swooping in to clean up any mess I’ve created. They’re here to support me when I have no idea what I’m supposed to do and I can turn to them when I’m not sure how to do something. I mean, it’s not that I have an inability to do taxes, cook, clean, look after myself and all that stuff, it’s just that I’m lazy as shit. I’m not ready to take initiative of my life and make things happen. If I had it my way, I would probably just sleep for one half of the day, then eat and watch reruns of Sherlock, HIMYM and Shameless for the other half.

Okay, so maybe in some ways I feel like I’m ready to take full responsibility of my life. I’ve thought about what investments I’m ready to make, what I’m going to do when I get my first legitimate job and all that stuff, but this is me being all talk and no action, as I’m not sure what steps are required for me to actually get there in the first place. That, and I’m supposed to be basking in my young naiveté, adapting to the manner and lifestyle of a mindless youth in her glory days.

Sometimes I’m not sure if I’m the only person my age who’s freaking out about this growing up thing. I feel like this is the time to be ‘living it up’, but I can’t help but acknowledge the fact that maybe if I don’t start worrying about these things now, I’ll spend and live in a way that’s reckless beyond repair. I’ll be something of a knocked-up 20-year old university drop out who has a substance abuse problem, and missing limbs/organs that have resulted from funding that addiction.

So, when is it time to grow up? More importantly, when are you supposed to recognise when it’s time to grow up and plan for the future? Is it supposed to be this one moment where everything in the world comes to a sudden standstill, and you’re just looking around thinking, ‘What am I doing with my life?‘. Do we then get some dramatic slow-motion montage of our past experiences in Sepia with Radiohead’s ‘No Surprises’ playing in the background? Like, shit. Do we get an intervention telling us that we’re officially at the end of the ‘living it up’ phase and that it’s time to find a real purpose in life? DO WE GET A DAMNED LETTER AT LEAST?!

I’m not sure if anybody else is in the same boat as me, but one of the things I fear most is that I’m not doing enough. Whether it’s not enough of ‘living it up’ now, or in the future when I’m looking back thinking about what I should’ve done in the past to make my life easier. But, if there’s anything that I can recommend we do in the present, it’d be to do what we want. Life’s too long to be stuck doing anything we hate… And, it’s also too short to waste our time regretting decisions of things we did or wished we had done. So, my lame proposition is that we do what we want and don’t spend too much time worrying about things that don’t need worrying about. Things that have constituted this mindless babble you’ve just read… The lovechild which is this massive word-vomit post.

If you’re older and you’re just having a good ol’ chuckle at my quarter-life existential crisis and have any words of wisdom… Let me know.

2010-04-01-the-existential-crisis-of-an-apple