The Big Dream and The Get-me-out-of-here

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There is a pandemic sweeping the lives of the late-twenty-early-thirty-something year olds who don’t have children, might have fur-babies and wake up one day asking themselves WHAT THE FUCK.

If you are reading this and taking a big deep breath because you realize you are not alone, you are welcome. If this awakens a long dormant sleeping dragon of thought that you suspected existed but you couldn’t fully recognize, then I apologize – because shiiiiit I am about to justify every niggle you ever felt.

We, the unsettled settled are out there and we are hungry, we are stubborn, we are restless and we are bursting out of our skins. Indulge me in self indulgence all you traditionalists.

Over countless coffee’s and beers, I’ve had the same conversation over and over again. The “I am stuck in a rut and I don’t even know how to get out because I’m too damn tired” one, where educated, hardworking, passionate people, lament the thought bubble we are stuck in. We were told we could have it all. So where is it? Cookie please!

The new normal is that we want to have jobs we like, we want to travel the world, have a couple babies, maybe get married and be able to afford it all while the job market around us is like “JK bae, 10+ years experience, no benefits, $38k pa and you cool with working unpaid overtime and weekends? Holla at me!” and the dating scene is a revolving door of fuckboys and girls who can’t make eye contact with anything but their phones. The news is going: Don’t even THINK about getting on a train/plane or congregating anywhere in public in case of shootings/bombings/knife attacks and our parents are getting older and more dependent. That isn’t depressing. No siree.

Believe me, I’m aware of how lucky I am. I’m writing this to you from a first world country that I am allowed to live in because my parents were born in the right place and got me a “good” passport. If I sound articulate or intelligent by any stretch, it’s because I am also educated thanks to that same birth place, and the guidance of two excellent people who poured money into my brain (via the veins of formal instructional institutions). I’m white, which means I hopefully wont get shot for no reason in my car, and I’m female, which puts me at an advantage or a disadvantage depending on who you talk to, and so long as I’m not running for president.

And listen, I’m the first person to call people out on #firstworldproblems. Believe me. I’ve walked on the sidelines of poverty, I know that there are deeper issues at play in our world than the demented cries of a person who can’t afford the new iPhone.

But if there is one thing I have learned over the last few months of the ups and downs, it is that you can’t just push away things that you feel, and you can’t panic or beat yourself up because you feel them (thanks Mum) or because you are so preoccupied with keeping up the pretences that you have your shit together on social media. We know you don’t have your shit together…we’ve been to your apartment.

I feel it and I’m calling it out. The transition from hopefully graduate to slightly more jaded adult is not that fun at the moment. It’s not cute any more that we feel directionless. This isn’t Sex and the City where our lack of partners is because there is just too much dick to choose from. Our parents are sitting us down telling us they’d “like to see us get on the property ladder” and we’re agreeing with them whole heartedly as we open another letter about our student loans and wondering if we’ll get scurvy if we eat no-brand frosted flakes five nights a week for dinner.

We all started out with such big dreams! We went to school and we played along and we were encouraged to day-dream about what we “wanted to be” when we grew up. And then half of us fell off the wagon somewhere after high school and shrugged and realized that our job’s maybe don’t have to be our careers. Then we split up again when some of us realized that we’d give up that dream job for the security of that paycheck, or the option to travel with work. Those of us that have stayed the course  are more often than not slamming our faces into our laptops in the public library when we are on the hunt for the next job or big break AGAIN, thinking about escaping through English teaching in Asia or “how much DOES selling your *insert body part or fluid* really pay?”

I don’t have the solution to the twentythirtysomething malaise, and no matter how I google it (or Bing it… just kidding The Bing is dead, long live the Bing), no advice post or computer filtered answer can make my decisions for me (though I’d invest in the app that could).

All I know is that personally, I live happiest in the carnage and constant movement of work and sensory overload – when there are TOO many plates spinning in the air (because when that happens, how could I possibly have time to turn inwards). That lifestyle doesn’t really jive-turkey with the expiring “rising-of-the-ladder” career trajectory theory, and I’m tired of trying to be a square peg in a round hole.

Success is measured in many different ways, which is a topic for another day.

But for today – for those this resonates with, just know that you are not alone, and I’ve come to know, for myself anyway, that is the door doesn’t open, I’m just going to have to buy a sledge hammer. The coffee is on me when it comes to these conversations, because maybe if we stack our thoughts and idea’s one on top of each other, we’ll find a way to climb out of these ruts.

 

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Do battle, be brave.

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Every new day poses a question to each of us: how are you going to live today?

Though the internet has moved on to its obsession with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, I still find myself unable to quite process the “old news” of Robin Williams death a few weeks ago.

I did not wade into the fray of online grief and tributary at the time, I did not want to add my voice to the collective cacophony. His death brought back some pretty frightening reminders of a time when the Black Dog stalked in the shadows of my family and the outcome that could have been.

I see Robin Williams death as a very real and present reminder that you never truly know the daily struggles of the person standing next to you. To the world, this very talented and hysterical comedian was Robin FUCKING Williams. If you have ever seen the man do stand up or speak in interviews, you know that he is an incredible performer and improvisor, one who is vibrating on a different frequency than the rest of us.

And yet the man took his own life.

It just stands as a reminder that we are each doing battle daily with our own demons.

From the girl I know, who is Cancer free a year later, who has been quietly fighting since her diagnosis, to the friends who have JUST moved to Toronto to start a new life – leaving their old ones behind and struggling to figure out where they belong in this jigsaw puzzle. To those fighting heartbreak over lost love, and still others bravely facing the frustration over unemployment, financial difficulties, and family trauma – everybody has their something.

Sometimes I need the gentle reminder to be kinder to those around me, because as the quote reads, everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about, and it is all too easy to point the finger and say “they don’t have it as bad as…(fill in the blank).”

Every day we are faced with challenges, be they big or small, and it is the way that we navigate them that makes us who we are. Sometimes there are days when getting out of bed is the hardest thing we have to overcome, and to do that requires immense strength and the flexing of determination and will. There is no way to say that achieving one foot in front of the other on a given day is any less important or incredible than fighting a dragon or climbing Mount everest.

I try to be as open as possible. There are few things you could ask me that I wouldn’t be brutally honest about.

Why is that?

Too much of life is airbrushed and photoshopped out into the perfect image of what we think our lives should look like.

When I have struggled in the past, I would look around and think “everybody has it all worked out, but me” and I would feel like a failure.

And we all know that is not true, we’re all just winging it daily, fighting our battles the best we can, and going on.

Because the only other option than to continue on is to stop.

I wish someone had helped Robin see that wasn’t his only option.

Not all battles have to be fought alone.

http://www.beyondblue.org.au/