While I hope you never find yourself in this position, it is natural to find yourself in a life lull. Perhaps you loved grade school and find yourself at a new high school, not knowing anyone, and longing for the comfy days of grade school (forgetting how boring you thought it was at the time). Perhaps you had an idyllic college experience receiving a world-class education among peers who share a research mindset in the most beautiful town in the most beautiful state and are somehow disenchanted by the slog that follows, such as realizing that “bolstering” your resume into oblivion is inevitable if you want to even be considered for a job you could have performed from age 13 because you don’t have 5+ years of experience at that job because, again, you could have performed it from age 13 so you didn’t really picture yourself doing this after college, but, as it turns out, you “ONLY” have a 4-year, $120,000 degree……….
While I hope it never happens to you, it may, and if it does, it is actually really important to keep some stuff in mind. Any situation you are in has the potential to be as good as UCSB, (or whatever your definition of perfection is). In fact, it has the potential to be better, because you could find yourself in leadership roles now, and you are (hopefully) receiving money rather than throwing it at your institution of choice so fervently that those who chose not to attend college (and are looking smarter and smarter, tbh) look on, concerned for your sanity. The key is to grab your sitch by the horns and make it better. Most people are not opposed to making their lives better, and if someone else takes the lead, they’ll be more than happy to contribute. NOTE: this only works if “better” is defined as broadly as possible, like being kind and comfortable around each other as opposed to mandating a fitness challenge… know your audience. When I am friendly to every co-worker I interact with for a day, each one is friendly the next time I happen to see them, which is scattered over any number of days later. This one day of effort (yes, it is an effort for me to wake my facial muscles up enough to signal to others that I am a friendly young lady and not an cynical, stone-hearted ice queen) is paid forward for many after, which makes me feel grateful for my co-workers and easier to lift the corners of my mouth up at them the following week, etc. I really love my coworkers, and I have always at least liked my coworkers at prior employers. It is not because I have been exceptionally lucky, it’s because I’ve taken control of my sitch and it affects others. Every day at work I learn invaluable things about life from people who I otherwise probably would have never had more than a brief conversation with, laugh at least as much as I do at home, and am constantly inspired to be a better person. When I tell a co-worker of a challenge I’m facing, they offer advice, a similar situation which they or someone they know has gone through, or at the very least, just listen patiently. I’ve discovered co-workers at my current place of work who share my interests ranging from Dungeons and Dragons to backpacking to Korean skincare. Maybe I am just really lucky… but I wouldn’t be in this situation if I hadn’t been open, honest, and proactive in my work environment.
Another note: I am not at all appealing to turn a bad situation into something good or offering advice on how to deal with the workplace. This is advice for how to make the most of your situation once you’ve decided an opportunity is right for you for the time being. If you don’t like it, figure out why, and if you’re right and it’s wrong and the difference is irreconcilable, please quit. Life’s too short. And that’s my next point.
Adjust to being in control of your life. You’re never going to be pressured by your parents and teachers to apply to and attend college again. If you want to go back and the only thing standing in your way is hesitation, do it, because in the future, a lot more tangible things will be in your way and crying and sucking their thumbs. Let the idea that you are the age you are, and you will never be this age again sink in. It is scary and may seem sad. But also feel the freedoms. It is your life now – no parents no rules. YOU could literally quit your job and hitchhike around if you wanted, and many people do. Imagine if you had been given this freedom as a child. You actually probably would have made better decisions for yourself then, unhindered by social conditioning and fear. Or at least There are deep and moving rewards which come with commitment and discipline and hard work, but if you are not yet certain you’re aligned with the goals you wish to reach, why spend your time on the shit work?
The answer is money lol. So here’s some thoughts: if you know your goals already, physically document them somewhere easily accessible, and begin adding steps and notes to achieve them whenever they come to you. Review progress at the end of every week or two weeks. Having your progress (or lack thereof) visibly in front if you instead of as some ethereal idealization can be very motivating. If you don’t know what steps to take, utilize your resources to their full potential. The internet alone is so powerful that those who died before its advent would slap you in the face if you said you don’t have the resources needed to achieve anything you want. If you know any actual human beings at all, they are also very helpful. The more people you are honest with about what you want to achieve, the more people are thinking of you when they come across someone who can (or may know someone who knows someone who can) help you get there.
Finally, this day is about love. I only know 2 or 3 people who genuinely don’t have any ugly qualities that I have seen. But I love a lot more than those few people. Recognize what is in yourself that is good and bad, and understand it in others. Give them the benefit of assuming positive intentions, and lead by example. It is easy to take for granted how lucky and miraculous it is to receive and experience love, and to forget there are people who aren’t as lucky. Try your best to be a force of genuine good in the world. Don’t be fake, bitch. Just be nice.
And also wake up excited to be alive and seize the day and live that life and pull that oil (that post is coming soon)…
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY I LOVE YOU PEOPLE
P.S. I’m reading East of Eden and it is possible I’ve been writing more abstractly about life, instead of tangible shit I actually can speak somewhat intelligently about is because of quotes like these:
“From the day of a child’s birth he is taught by every circumstance, by every law and rule and right, to protect his own life. He starts with that great instinct, and everything confirms it. And then he is a soldier and he must learn to violate all of this— he must learn coldly to put himself in the way of losing his own life without going mad. And if you can do that— and, mind you, some can’t— then you will have the greatest gift of all. Look, son,” Cyrus said earnestly, “nearly all men are afraid, and they don’t even know what causes their fear— shadows, perplexities, dangers without names or numbers, fear of a faceless death. But if you can bring yourself to face not shadows but real death, described and recognizable, by bullet or saber, arrow or lance, then you need never be afraid again, at least not the same way you were before. Then you will be a man set apart from other men, safe where other men may cry in terror. This is the great reward. Maybe this is the only reward. Maybe this is the final purity all ringed with filth. It’s nearly dark.”
John Steinbeck. East of Eden (Kindle Locations 572-579). Penguin Books.
WOW, look at that! Kindle adds the citation for you! Nifty! I love my Kindle. I’ll post about that at some point too… also I haven’t finished the book yet so please note I said “may have been influenced” in case Cyrus turns out to be a racist or a crazy person or something to where I would not really want to have been influenced by a quote of his…