11 03 2013

Sometimes I wonder what it is I am doing.  And yes, I mean the big questions. What am I doing with my life? What am I doing to advance myself? How can I possibly get where I want to get and where exactly is that?  Why don’t I have a map?   Was I in the wrong line when they were giving those out? And why can’t I just stick with something for more than half the course?  I’m a community college major-hopper, and I can’t seem to break that cycle, partially because I don’t ever know what type of job I want.  I don’t want to work with my hands very much – I simply don’t have the drive for it.  But I hate the idea of being behind a desk doing paperwork, except for those weeks when I would rather do mindless paperwork than anything more tangibly productive.  I don’t want to devote another 10 years to school to become a geologist (which I did consider heavily), wracking up the student loans for a job in hydrology or petrology or leafing through geologic maps (no matter how much I enjoy them) and writing reports on god knows what.  I don’t want to be a teacher, of English or Geology or Geography (the only thing I have a degree in).  I enjoy map making, but dislike analysis that requires me to use my brain actively.  In fact, that seems to be the root of my problem and it’s been weighing on my self-image.  I want things to be easy ( I know, who doesn’t, right?).  I want to get it right, at least mostly, within my first one or two tries and if I don’t, my drive disappears and I am lost again.  I am at this point in college where they want me to be working on these huge projects.  Semester-long, self-directed, analytics-based projects that are so open-ended that I don’t know where to begin.  In these projects the instructions are so vague that I feel like I’ve been sent out to an open field, empty in all directions, and in order to build something, but not told what. They give me a list of materials that I can have with a mere request that is longer than I am tall.  Call it choice fatigue, but I can’t handle that very well.  And somehow these days I feel like that’s all there is to life.  It sound pretty damned accurate to me (aside from the ease of attaining materials) because I’m standing here looking into the future and I see nothing yet.  I have my boyfriend beside me, I can hold his hand and I can see that he is building something and I have something half built myself, but I can’t stand to look at it.  I could wear this job I have now like a skin for the next 10 or 20 years if I wanted.  I could put my heart and soul into it and I might do well and in some ways I might thrive, but there would be a chain around my heart.  It’s already there.  Most days I think of it as the aching loss of my childhood and the freedoms that went with it, and I sigh and put it out of mind.  But other days…  Other days I think that there must be a life for me that doesn’t feel like that, and I get wrapped up in the wish to find it, to build something that I will enjoy and be proud of in my big open field.  And then the drive fades away and the average returns because at some point I realized that there was some reason that I wasn’t good enough.  It won’t work quickly enough, or I don’t want to put in that much effort and so I let it all go.  And for a little while that chain around my heart aches a little bit more acutely and I am a little closer to crying, always, than ever before.


On Aging and Looking Back

5 01 2013

I guess I qualify now as being in my mid-twenties as opposed to my early twenties, but I don’t see much of a difference in my lifestyle.  At least not when I’m looking at myself in a vacuum (or next to my boyfriend who has a similar living arrangement), but when I see some of my friends and co-workers deal with their own issues and drama I get an eerie look at both sides of this coin. 

Very few of my co-workers are over twenty-one, and I’ve noticed a larger propensity towards inter-office dating and friend-making, neither of which ever seem to end well.  They meet each other for lunch on workdays and spend some weekends at one person’s house drinking and smoking the days and nights away.  They opt for the short shifts in order to go teach themselves code or catch up on sleep even while they beg for more hours.  They get mad at their co-worker friends for considering a transfer that would net more hours and possible advancement, something clearly in their friends favor, because they don’t want to miss them or see them less. And the confuse SENIORITY with AUTHORITY.

My mid-twenties friends are having kids too early, getting engaged, facing custody battles, and fighting tooth and nail against oppressions that I can’t feel or help them with.  They’re worried about paying their rent and their utilities and their food. Feeding their families and trying to keep their parents alive until their weddings at the very least.

They see a weekend of drunkenness as an escape from their shadows for just a little while. They crave company and attention because they are on their own for the first time, they seek solitude and quiet because their families are stifling in ways never felt before during their teenage years. They’re facing existential crisis because they’re now beginning to wonder what career will fulfill them the most, allow them to do the most with their lives, how to balance work and play and still provide a good future for themselves and the families they may one day have.

I have found myself bewildered in an environment filled with strange young people and strange, more worldly thoughts than I have ever experienced before.  I’m a fan of it overall, and I do what I can to look back with fondness for my early-twenties and to disregard the longing.  Most of the time it works well, easily, effortlessly you might say, and some times it crushes me.  What can you do, right?