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.

 

The Fourth day of the New Year

DSEbnI for one buy into all the New Year resolutions brew-ha-ha. I’m no fool. I know that realistically this time last week I was no hugely different person (although I was in Hong Kong having a pretty sweet-as time with my family), but there is something about the “New Year” that really does it for me. The idea that things are new and shiny and that the slates are wiped clean. That appeals to me.

I’d like to think that one has the ability to change their destiny, and when you feel like you are stuck in a funk, then something as simple as a change from 2012 to 2013 and taking the time to re-evaluate your priorities is extremely important.

I was also told years ago that the way you spend your New Years Eve is the way you will spend your year. It is one of those stupid things that I heard in childhood and has stuck with me like gospel. I spent New Years Eve working an event with my family (dressing up as crazy Medieval characters), and the following day I was travelling. So following that logic, my 2013 should be filled with a) lots of work, b) lots of family c) Creativity and d) Travel.

I hope so. Family is so incredibly important to me, which may strike you as odd considering I live a comfortable 15 hour flight away from my closest family member. But that is the life of the expatriate that I have to embrace. I am an expat brat through and through, and I’ll never be happy unless I’m moving around sampling the world around me.

Yes, it gets exhausting and I get tired. Last night I cracked the shits (which is an Australian expression meaning to lose it, or to get angry and hysterical…not any other fun thing you can think of) and said that I wanted to go home (which home you ask…ahh?).

But at the end of the day I do love being an Austraalien in Canada. It isn’t easy, and it especially is frustrating when you are job seeking like I have been and feel like you are getting nowhere. But i’m not ready to move back to Australia or Hong Kong at this stage. And although I am secretly desperate to move to the UK, or NYC, I think it would be a foolish move at this point.

So for now I must content myself with the piles of snow and the polite Canadians.

But it certainly was interesting to be back in Hong Kong for the christmas break. It is amazing how some things can change so dramatically in 18 months and some things can stay so the same. Walking around, navigating the streets, bumping into people, it was like I had never left. But then a couple of my favourite shops had disappeared and there were new trendy shops in my area (Sheung Wan in Hong Kong used to be the antiques district, and when my Mum moved there 6 years ago, there were carpenters in the street and a couple of vegetable vendors, all of which have been muscled out for trendy new “concept stores.”)

It was weird to go to Hong Kong and then to come back to Toronto. It really solidified Toronto as “home” for the moment. All my stuff is here, my boyfriend, my phone bill…all the commitment things, ya’know?

But I was glad to be coming back. Too many of my Expat Brat friends moved back to Australia and are stuck there a bit now. They have better jobs than me, but they don’t necessarily plan on living the Expat lifestyle anymore. And I do. I love Australia and I miss my friends, but I’m not ready to end up there yet.

I suppose it doesn’t matter where you are so long as you are happy.

Well…here’s to being happy in 2013.

End of First rant of the year… for now