Arduous Adulting: Act One

Have you ever gone to a new place or tried a new experience and thought to yourself, “I’m never doing that again!” Tell us about it. Thanks for the idea, emilyeggplant!

Source: Never Again

Please remain seated at all times as this is going to be the same old rant-and-rave all over again. In case of inconveniences and emergencies, please proceed to exit by clicking the x-button at the top right of your screen. Thank you.

And so the curtain falls open.

Enter the naive little protagonist as high-spirited as she can be, welcoming this new adventure despite her natural skittishness. She hopped on the plane, went off to learn and explore a foreign land, hoping that she might be able to acquire new skills, meet new people and most importantly to have her own privacy to think about what she wants and what life offers her. Despite her own flaws and limitations, she felt like she grew as a person, achieved the first two on the list just enough, but not the last one. At least not yet, she thinks, and I still have time. Little that she knows, time cannot always tell.

She continued her journey, holding firmly onto her principle of sensibility, because obviously that’s what everyone needs to do to surviveno? Off she goes to her first conscious, yet not necessarily unstructured, decision to pursue another level of higher education. She walked through the doors of graduate school with determination–she then believes it is the key to a flicker of security that is employment–only to find the process unbearable and the merrier prospect thin.

She has expected the minimum of the experience only to be disappointed even further. She came to learn that it might even help not to even expect anything at all, which is a difficult task to do in itself with the need to reason why before taking the first step into basically anything. Ironically, both what she did not expect results into two complete opposites. She met those she can confide in as friends, and thus she has never been more content in her experience of social encounters. Yet not once in her mind had she imagined her lifetime strategy of tolerance finally wavers down in none other than the critical juncture of the pavement to graduation. Our protagonist, in her own little story, is poisoned by her own medicine, attacked by her own immune system. It’s a mental lupus.

At that moment, she recalled the third and fourth line of the second stanza of a poem that left her a deep impression:

…Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed…

Hence she kept her head high, exerting the last of her willingness and rush of panic to finish her study. Albeit the brutality of fighting the constant enticement of the three vices (the Bed, the Internet and Pointless Philosophizing), she survived once more…

Oh, I wish that is what factually happened to our leading lady–with all humility to how small her contribution to the world she lives in, despite imaginary. She has not even lift her finger to touch the books she is supposed to be reading unless when due dates from the library approaches. I agree that she is rather pathetic than worth sympathizing: her bloodied head is practically touching the ground hard, under the bludgeonings of procrastination, laziness and quarter-life crisis.

And I cannot agree more, she should by now at least–putting it the way she has always preferred it–be “sensible” enough to say, “Never again!” if any opportunity of further schooling that enlist any forms of dissertation writing compulsory. That, if she at least to manage survive this one.

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Charmed to Catch Flies

What bores you?

Source: ( YAWN )

Despite being relatively dull myself, ironically I got bored quite easily with things when I have been doing it for a while. It possibly is the law of diminishing marginal return applied in real life, but it might be a curse I was born with. Destined to only be able to enjoy the first bits of everything, but never the last bite. To delight oneself in the sowing, but never the reaping. I had no idea what my ancestors did that I need to suffer from this.

Of all the things that could jade me, which is a whole lot, the very first one that pops out of my mind is romantic-comedies. Rom-com bores me to death because the plots are just too bloody repetitive. Not to mention the main characters tend to give me secondhand embarrassment as they seem to, without fail, manage to be caught in situations that are just ridiculously dim-witted. Little old me! Giving meself a facepalm or cringing to oblivion because someone manage to humiliate themselves instead of empathizing with them; that certainly does not happen often. I guess this is also why I am never invited to any sleepovers or the sort when I was younger. Likewise, I am glad to be relieved from the searing agony of drowning in layers of shame and sappiness, because I ain’t pretending to enjoy that.

Talking about more serious issues, I find what I am currently studying in gradschool severely tedious, and this is probably related to the jinx I suspect I am under. I decided to pursue another degree in something that initially I can still tolerate out of practicality, thinking that I still can compensate it with how I like learning generally. I reckon there is always this satisfying feeling of acquiring little snippets of knowledge from pretty much anything. Also, I thought it is wise to study something one is familiar with for another degree, so it will be easier to narrow down job preferences and all. Instead, I feel like I have been wasting my time because, not only that I found myself increasingly indifferent of the academic experience up to the point of apathy, I have not managed to figure any profession related to what I am studying that I can imagine doing in the near future. A great leap backwards, I should say. Not only that I may only be able to call the things I like to do as merely hobbies, but also that people, especially job interviewers, don’t like quitters. Needless to say, I am stuck.

Thus begins the vortex of the early quarter-life crisis. I swear, I am exhausted of complaining about this again and again I am desperate to escape this spiral of sleepless nights pondering about questions larger than life, and the nonsensical torture of procrastination and temporary distraction. I don’t want to be 30 and jobless, weeping to Mum, asking her to tell off the world for being a meanie to me, me, me.

I need a curse breaker. Immediately.

Poise and Rationality

In Reason to Believe, Bruce Springsteen sings, “At the end of every hard-earned day / people find some reason to believe.” What’s your reason to believe?

Source: Reason to Believe

My initial reaction to the question was another question: reason to believe in what?

Then I realized I probably should check out the lyrics of the song, which I eventually did, only to be met with more questions in my head. Like everyone else, I suppose Springsteen was also trying to be discreet in his take on life as well, whether it’s a brighter one indicating hope, or it is the more-likely depressing one. Or maybe he was simply putting the question out there: looking at all the shit happening, what do you believe in?

When discussing the theme of death, birth, and–things that happen in between both–love, life, I reckon people’s take on the world would also vary depends on things they encounter in a daily basis, wouldn’t it? It will differ in the way they are raised, the environment they are raised, and even that does not guarantee a generalization of what people with a certain background will conclude as true and eventually act upon. Changes happen–natural disasters, lost of a loved one, more unfavorable or favorable financial conditions, promotions, better life conditions, acquiring friends after believing too long that one is destined for solitude–in different stages of life deemed critical, and in even that abrupt lapse of time, one may be able to internalize something that became their very outlook of life, which might be completely in contrast to how they perceive it before, or maybe reify the assumptions one has held for too long.

I am not sure if this is the correct way to call it, but I would say I am currently in the “early quarter life crisis” stage of my life. I am nearing age 25, and I have not been employed in a full-time job but is about to attain a graduate degree soon. Hopefully. I am scared with not being able to get this whole academic crap done before it’s due, because in my hearts of hearts, I know if I hate doing something (for example, thesis-writing, or anything related to writing academic nonsense I can only come up with), I will naturally procrastinate. Hard-core. Even if I can make it through, I am still terrified with whatever awaits me post-graduation. I can only hope it is not unemployment.

In this stage of life, I found myself picturing two schemes, the ideal and the less ideal. The ideal involves the thought that everything will be sorted and eventually things will get better. The less ideal is basically the worst case scenario, when things do not work out, and all that is left is the question, “What then?”. It’s true that even if the ideal situation is to push through, the question remains. But at least the mind is relatively clear enough to be able to slowly figure something out as previous responsibilities are off the hook.

So, looking at the mess I have imposed upon myself, I find some reason to believe that there is no point meddling with too much thoughts about how one is supposed to live life. It is brutally pointless to look back and regret some previous decisions you made, as much as it is to fantasize how someday it will treat you fairly with the aspirations or effort you have put in for years. It is too masochistic to beat oneself up to be distressed about the present that one has brought upon as a consequence of past choices, and also to be only prophesying how bleak the future will be because of current uncertainties. Life has never been certain anyway.

The only way to go on as one keeps some sanity in tact will be to balance out all the pandemonium surrounding it. When worrying too much about the future, it signals the need for the little pleasures that will elucidate how life can be worth living, without adding further responsibilities that could get out of hand. When ecstatic and in favorable conditions, reserve judgment to avoid meaningless pledges or sickly sweet nothings. Make sensible priorities, then follow through. Take a breather. Then go again.

It’s a struggle, but what else can you do other than make your way through it somehow, if death is not considered an option?