What Do I Do With My Life?
Man, time definitely flies when you’re having fun. It seems like just yesterday I was stressing out about going to college, and if that path was right for me. It seems like only a few hours ago that I was a bundle of nerves, anxiously awaiting the beginning of my seven-week bike tour.
Ever since I was a little boy, I knew that after the summer was over, I would be going right back to school for the next nine months. As repetitive and seemingly endless as this ritual was, it was something to do, a way for me to continually justify to myself that I was progressing.
That was the great thing about college. After I finished my undergrad, I immediately applied to grad school because, well, I honestly didn’t know any better. Entering a world where it wasn’t cool to work for minimum wage and only twenty hours per week scared me. Grad school was that outlet that kept me from the clutches of capitalist America, at least for another two years.
Now, those two years are up. And no, I cannot return to the comforts of “fun” jobs that don’t pay the proverbial and all-too-real bills. Instead, I find myself constantly flicking out job applications to established companies that pride themselves on strong 401k and pension funds. To be completely transparent, besides the fact that one is supposed to put percentages of each paycheck into these accounts, I have no idea how these financial ordeals truly operate.
Only a few short years ago, my biggest worries were going to class and saving enough money to buy alcohol for the weekend. Now, I rarely drink, for fear that I might overindulge, and my dream employer is going to call me at 7 A.M. the next morning.
Oh, and the social scene. Are the days of Netflix and chill over? Do I now have to drop a lot of money to take a woman on an expensive date, in hopes that she will someday want to get married and bear my children? If so, I’m going to need to work on becoming more self-entertaining. Last week I even considered deleting my Tinder account, and then I looked myself in the mirror and thought, No. Most definitely not. Maybe? No, just no. Come on, bro. You’re smarter than this. I definitely don’t want to play the long game anymore. No one wins in that scenario.
I think my biggest fear is that it will no longer be cool to be different. In college, everyone’s individuality was somewhat embraced. My friends and I didn’t always agree with one another’s ideologies, but we at least had the decency to respect them. I don’t think being different will cut it anymore. And my hair. I really hope my cut is not considered too edgy. I can’t give it up just yet, because hair is like life: it might not be there tomorrow.
But then I stop and think that this might just be my narrative. I’ve been fortunate to this point that some people will actually pay to read what I have written. People spend years trying to publish their work, or years trying to get in with the hottest magazines. For me, I have been indoctrinated into an unforgiving vocation rather quickly. I’ve learned not to take this craft for granted, nor the people who work just as hard, if not harder than me. If I never made another dollar writing, I can reflect and acknowledge that this is the best job I have ever had.
So here I sit, reveling in my 25th Independence Day, wondering, where did the days of sipping Grey Goose and blaring alternative music inside shitty rental houses go? Where did the nights where your buddy comes home, gives you the look, and then you know you’re going to stay up all night talking about each other’s respective lives and future goals go? I’m not saying I want to go back to those days (or maybe I am). I don’t want to be broke forever, and I especially don’t want to perpetually live in a house where the ceiling leaks every time someone takes a bath. I just want to be able to always have those days in my head; the days where nothing but the moment really mattered.