THAT Demographic

It’s a hard thing, trying to decide what to do with my life, when at the age of twenty I feel exhausted and want to retire.

I don’t know when I got so cynical, but looking at colleges, again, makes me dread the thought of living in a two by four, eating iceberg lettuce and ranch dressing five days a week. Been there, done that, and no, as much as people romanticize dorm life, a shoebox is still a shoebox.

Not that I live in a palace, or anywhere close, but honestly, what’s the point?

If we commit ourselves to four years under the umbrella of “learned knowledge” then shouldn’t there be something better on the other side? Not 80,000 dollars in student loans and unemployment, hanging out on Wall Street hoping for somebody to take pity on us.

It’s just not fair.

Changing the world sounds great, but you only get one shot at life, and if I go through this again, I fear that I will end up right back to where I started, where most people end up right around the time the mid life crisis comes calling: married to a planner, a desk job, a task list. Endless meetings, eating meals in the car, accurately calculated gym time, penciled in cocktail hours, regardless if it’s one, two, three, or four people in my life. Why does job success mean sacrificing joie de vivre? 

If I don’t care about money, which I really don’t, then why would I do it? If I love something, I do it, regardless of whether or not I get recognition for it. I do it because it makes me happy. If I have to brown nose my way through life, then honestly, there are better things I could be doing with my time, like reading and baking almond cakes. Really.

Of course, now I really am starting to sound like a 1950s housewife, waiting for prince charming to come and sweep me off my feet, kiss me on the forehead and hand me my minivan. Honestly, as of now,  it doesn’t sound like the worst thing in the world.

Where does that put me in the feminist movement? Equality and quality of life are two very different things. I’d rather some stranger think less of me and live a fulfilled life than waste the one I have trying to get him to notice me. There are lots of other people, and there always will be, who will value me based on the person I am and the interactions we have. To the people that matter, we are not statistics or social groups. We are lives.

So why do it? Why go to college, why try for a dream job, a dream career, a dream car? Honestly, I want to go back to school for the simple reason that I enjoy it. I love learning and I love reading and I love debating. But with college applications and admissions essays come the questions, the planner theories, the “what do you want to major in” and “what do you plan to do with that major” questions. Ugh. I’ve been through this already and it didn’t work! Can’t I just say that I want to know who we are and how we got here?

Nope. You have to know where we’re going. And no matter how advanced we become, we will just never know. 

So maybe in the midst of all the planners and appointments, faith comes in to play. Faith that, if we miss that appointment or lose our planner, our lives are not lost, and somehow, some way, we will continue to put one foot in front of another. I have to tell myself this because I have no idea where I will be four months from now. I may not ever make it to Nice, but if I don’t, it will be because something much better or much more important took precedence. I can’t quantify my life based on number of circumstances or interactions or essays. Those things are man made, like technology and media, and things like that come and go with human evolution. So I can’t keep guessing. I can dream, oh man do I ever, but I can’t expect dreams to come true simply because I dream them. Honestly, right now, I just want a good nights sleep.

I know I should be more ambitious. I am young, and part of the generation that will supposedly take over the world. But I’ve seen the dangerous repercussions of ambition for self, and honestly, I just don’t know if I’m willing to put myself through it again. I want a guarantee, which I know I cannot, and will never get.  


Author: melbell51

Aspiring travel writer and slow nomad.

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