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.

 

Things I sometimes do, that you probably do too:

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Walking down the street on a windy day with my earphones in, Adele blasting: Pretending I’m in a Video clip.
I know I’m not alone. You imagine the slow camera pan as you stride down the street, Adele crooning in your ear “someonnnnne like yooooooou.”
Whatever. I know you do.

Going to bed with totally fine body image, waking up Ohhh, MYGOD-HOW-DID-I-GAIN-12-KILO’S-OVERNIGHT?!
Seriously…I know there are sock gnomes that steal my socks so I’m constantly wearing odd ones…but are there gnomes sneaking into my room at night injecting my thighs and love handles with fat!? There is no explanation for this other than my perfectly reasonable logic that somebody is sneaking into my room at night…and making me fatter.

Irrational anger at inanimate objects for putting themselves in places I SWEAR I didn’t put them.
Fuck you boots. Seriously, you’re DICKS.

Rationing the comfy undies because G-strings and Lacey panties are for date nights and not Tuesday’s on the couch.
I do laundry before I resort to certain stringy black numbers (and I HATE doing laundry).

Opening the fridge to all the produce I spent my money on. Deciding there’s nothing to eat. Buying Pringles. That is dinner.
Salt and Vinegar flavour, ONLY.

Being too poor to constantly have a fresh tea bag every time you want a cup of tea: making 3-5 cups of tea with one bag.
It’s coooooold okay, and I like Earl Grey tea with milk and 3 sugars (diabetes!) so sue me for being economical (and poor).

Getting stressed out when people leave the tap running when they are brushing their teeth and/or talking to me.
Some of us were raised in a DROUGHT people. Jeez.

 

 

The Next Five Years

“Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans” is something my father has been known to say on occasion, but which google reveals to be a John Lennon quote/song lyric. Never is that saying truer than it is for the month of February, which at 28 days most years, goes by in a flash. Here we are March 1st and I’m thinking, we should probably take down the Christmas tree.

My Mum wrote a very funny blog earlier this week, about how she feels she is just hanging around in the waiting room of life. She’s 43 years old and all her children have fled the nest, and she’s not sure what the next twenty years will look like. Well funny that, none of us do.

A day after reading her blog, a package I sent myself six weeks ago arrived. During the Christmas break back in Hong Kong, I spent some time going through some of my old stuff that has accumulated in my mothers tiny apartment. I found my old school blazer (which was gigantic on me in year 12 and now sits the way my work blazers sit…ever an indication of aging and thickening) old programs from Musicals I was in, and I found precious newspaper pages on which I featured.

When I was 15 and living in Hong Kong there was a section of the South China Morning post called “The Young Post” and for a period of time they had different groups of kids (I think they started with 9) come in, photograph them in a couple of different poses, and then send then get them to respond to certain questions. The idea was that you would vote one kid out of the young post every week.

I only lasted 3 weeks or so. My downfall week, the question was “tell us a joke”. My parents had a thick book of politically incorrect jokes that used to sit in our bathroom (wildly inappropriate for children, but hey, I learned a lot about sex and sexual interaction from that novel!) Now, I know what you are thinking, I went ahead and did the one about the Nun and the Irishman. WRONG. Because somewhere in the back of my rude-joke-packed-mind I realized that these jokes were hilarious but also WILDLY inappropriate for the young post, I looked up online, “politically correct, lame jokes,” and came up with the following, which I used as my answer:
“What’s brown and sticky? A Stick!”

I was eliminated. Well Fuck.

But that isn’t where our story ends today. The question before the one that ended my career as Supreme Young Person of Hong Kong 2004, was “Where do you see yourself in 15 years?” And I answered the following:

“Wow! I’ll be 30! Well I hope to be working in a creative Job, maybe Acting because that is something I have always loved, living in some far away exotic place, with some really hot guy.”

Well.

This year I will be 25 and that means it has been ten years since I wrote that.

Let’s check in.

I am certainly living in some faraway place; Toronto is NOT exactly close to Hong Kong, and I’m not sure what I would have defined as exotic back then, having lived the majority of my life in Asia at that point. Compared to the busy, loud, crazy city that I consider my home…snow covered everything is pretty exotic. Eh?

As for the job…at this point I’d take any job as the endless weeks of Temping blur into one another and my sent inbox fills with more and more desperate and unanswered emails, (I’m totally kidding, I’m still working towards the creative thing and have actually had a couple of non-creative job offers suggested to me, which I have politely turned down. I didn’t bust my ass being poor and interning for the last 6 months to give up and take yet another Admin job which pays the bills, but kills my soul.)

And as for the really hot guy thing, let’s not even go there. You don’t want to hear me gush about Canuck boyfriend and he’d probably de-friend me if I did. But I think I’m on-track with that one.

But the next five years is going to be pretty huge I’m guessing. There is obviously no way of knowing (because 2 years ago I would have never thought I’d be where I am today), but the one thing I do know is that life is an ever changing thing. You can never get too comfortable with the way things are, for better or worse, and it’s always for the better in my opinion.
I find it interesting that my Mother feels rutted in her life when she is still in the prime of it. I get it that the hands on child-rearing faze of her life has fizzled, but she never gets to stop being our mother (sucks to be you) and she never gets to stop being a part of her already fairly eccentric family. Maybe that’s her problem (and I suffer from it to) there are days when things just seem too calm and normal.

And that is freaky.
The good news is that she has the next generation to look forward to. Maybe not in the next five years, but, thanks to stupid biology, certainly in the next 15. And she’s already threatened to be the grandmother that feeds the grandkids sugar and lets them stay up late and gives them money to sneak out to concerts and will generally be considered “cool” and therefore loved more than me. Stupid ungrateful unborn, un-conceived children.

I guess we’ll just have to see where we’re at, twenty years from now.