‘There’s a period of curious fear between the first sweet-smelling breeze and the time when the rain comes cracking down’ ~ Don Delillo
Sounding like an army, distant footsteps and drumming peals thunder closer. The darkness rolls forward eating away at the light, leaving a hazy moisture-soaked daze in its wake.
Now that’s a more poetic way of saying yesterday I experienced an almighty hail storm and a less dramatic way of marking a return to blogging. With a sudden and sinister change in light, I saw the hail approaching before it even revealed itself. Which is the neat thing about living on the side facing into the open West and not into the downtown area, cramped with skyscrapers and apartments – seeing the oncoming weather sweeping towards the city centre. It came from the way of the mountains and the dark cloud swallowed up everything in the sky, buildings and trees in the distance became hazy and you could hear the hail beating down over yonder. Strange to be in sight and audible but not having any impact directly around me.
Rain drops plip-plopped heavily. Then the hail hit.
Some perfectly spherical, others irregularly shaped crashed onto the balcony edge with such force that they fragment. Ricocheting in unpredictable directions.
Finally the rain ceased up and all that could be heard was the whirling drainage flow and the rain lightly tippy-tappying. Less cruel now, not whipping the pavement.
Something wicked this way comes.
‘I am not in this world to live up to other people’s expectations, nor do I feel that the world must live up to mine.’ ~ Fritz Perls.
Panicked. Anxious. Questioning what I should doing and where I am now. There was I hoping my twenties would be a carefree existence with the distinct joy of finding myself and my place in the world. The moment the pressure lifts from academics, then the job search/be successful pressure hits full throttle. I feel guilty not knowing what I should do with my life with absolute 100% certainty, I’m chasing ideas and running with them (stong pull:fertility lab). But if something isn’t happening, when do I decide to give up and try another avenue.
The Daily Mail released an article today. It’s crazy how many of us fledgling adults are slumping into a ‘quarter-life crisis’, and sad that the pressure of life are getting to us at a time in our lives when we should be enjoying our newly found freedom and be full of hope for our futures. Instead many of us are directionless and uncertain. I remember a few months after I graduated feeling this way, I read the quarter-life crisis section of the Prospects.ac.uk forum and was shocked at how low some people felt. I remember one girl who had graduated in 2007, had been working temp jobs and just felt like a robot, sick of living with her parents still and wondered how long it would be til something came her way that was even loosely related to her degree. One guy shockingly felt so down that he had contemplated jumping in front of the train as his life felt so static, lacked meaning and had spent so much time unemployed and feeling useless that he thought he would never get employed. My heart broke for these people, would I feel the same if nothing had worked out for me years in the future? A shade of failure and inadequacy.
As the article suggested – take a break from the rat race and do something meaningful to lift your spirits. Which is precisely why I’m in Canada – avoiding stewing in my anxiousness and an unstable economy (plus the small matter of love). I have dipped my toe into the volunteer realm, the thoughts of making a difference at the dog shelter and getting started in a new project freed my mind from the worries of what I should be doing, but happy to do something I wanted to do. If it takes me longer to find my calling (scientific journalism? creative writing?) or be given a chance in the working world (Health Service hire me!) then so be it. It’s hard to say that and I do worry, especially when I see the busy streets and roads at 7am of people making their way to work and thinking ‘Shouldn’t this be me?’. What if my untapped potential fades away? What if no opportunity presents itself even though I keep my ears a-prick? What if I’m out of employment too long, does that make me a loser? Should I go to graduate school?
Something that always hurts when reading these articles is the insensitivity of some of the comments. Claiming Gen Y are a bunch of whiners and feel we are ‘entitled’. I certainly worked hard to get my degree but I never feel like I was owed anything. I think if it was known how many resumes some graduates have sent out to secure a single interview, the number of young people working for free just to get experience for the hope of an entry-level job in the future, the competition, the moments of feeling worthless. The vicious cycle of ‘needing experience, but needing some experience to compete for the experience opportunity’ plus the curse of student loans, maybe they could understand the upset.
The authors touch on pressures from the celebrity lifestyle. This certainly isn’t me, I love a new pair of shoes and something sparkly to add to my accessories carousel as much as the next girl but if need be I can live minimally and on a budget. I think we’re bombarded with images of what ‘success’ is and by some mystical osmosis we start to absorb these projections. Which is the source of unhappiness. Success is purely subjective, it’s where you want to be. Expecting something unrealistic is only going to lead to heartbreak and stress. I’m still trying to figure out my definition of success (with happiness leading the list) but it certainly won’t be shaped by anything other than my wants and desires.
‘Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.’ ~ Edward de Bono.
Last night as I was staring into the darkness my mind was busy assembling a scene. It was raining heavily, smog encircling a lone figure and there was an immense feeling of loss and regret hanging in the air. Normally I’m busy untangling thoughts that have seeped into my unconscious during the day, rerunning a conversation or telling my mind to dump because its constant babble is keeping me from sleep. But last night it was weaving a creative piece and I couldn’t stop it. I promised to write it down when I woke up but upon the sunlight creeping through the window it had slipped away with the night. I was pretty frustrated as it was really going somewhere, or at least it was a starting point.
Science has been at the forefront of my mind, everything from critiquing research to coming up with investigative questions and experiments to lead to some answers. Trying to piece together concepts to get a full story, thinking of possibilities and applying research to the real world. This was something I found difficult at first but my brain slipped into these thinking patterns and being able to think for itself in a scientific way. I felt more like a scientist and less of an imposter playing pretend. I always got the feeling professors and teaching assistants knew who was just winging it. It started to be natural and not forced, to an extent I had to think out the box and be creative, but it involves a lot of being able to think critically, with a splatter of abstract thought and logical inquiry.
Creativity keeps the world interesting
With my mind having been conditioned to focus more on the science-y stuff I thought other subjects may have got lost on the way. I got back into languages after graduation, what’s stopping me from getting back into writing creatively? Something I haven’t really done since I was in English Language classes – age 16. Something I don’t think I was really encouraged to do since primary school, I would write short stories with some really unbelievable and zany goings-on that my favorite primary school teacher Mrs De Val would coo over and tell me I would be a fledgling author. Then again when I performed in a theatre group (age 11, no teenage confidence dive yet) I was written a thank you letter from the producer/writer lady telling me an Oscar lay in my future, no gold statuettes thus far. Miss Bell, a maiden of physics, said a Nobel Prize could be in my future (I got the feeling she said this to every student pursuing science in higher education). So I don’t expect prophecies of greatness to come true when my name is involved, I just assume people are being encouraging to reach for your dreams and giving you hope and fire inside that you might achieve what you strive to be – which is nice all the same.
Four things put me off a little from writing:
- I’m pretty conscious of the public reading. The main reason I took my journal public was because I was secretly reading many blogs and wanted to see if I could do it too, I have met some wonderful people blogging and love reading about their lives, that is enough to keep me going. I don’t want an earthquake of traffic but I love having those bloggers that matter and are genuine, I’m less wary of posting what I think here because I want people to know the real me. Isn’t it always pointless to not be the real you?
- I find it hard to take a leap from the diving board, not scared to commit or lacking determination, but I often feel that when I don’t instantly feel a small victory or I falter in my attempts I can get very defeatist and feel like giving up a little before I’ve begun. This is something I desperately want to overcome, I will write more about this and endeavor to change this attitude as I think it could stump any talents I try to develop. If I hadn’t neglected girls football, netball, kayaking, cartoon drawing, electric guitar and bass (some as I sucked, others due to costs or time) who knows where I would be now. I would love to feel passion for these things again.
- I don’t know if I have what it takes to piece together a story, develop characters and have all the glue needed to hold a novel in place. I’m not even sure this is something that can be taught. I suppose I don’t think I will have the continuity of ideas or a strong enough idea to carry through. I think I’m more a ‘moment person’, if I transport myself to a place in my mind, I can imagine the dialogue and the setting but lack the follow through to make it anything more than a moment.
- It’s too late to start. Though my rational minds say it’s never to late to start anything. Ever. Period.
Life is about applying what you know and learning some. Maybe I need to act on this.
Given the blessing/curse of having some time on my hands. I was tempted to try my hand at a children’s book, my boyfriend even offered to illustrate! We’ll see, I have a ridiculous mental list of stuff I want to do in my life and so many interests I would love to delve deeper into – maybe being an expert in certain fields someday!
This daily blog post challenge has certainly kept my journaling in shape. Sometimes I get to 11 pm and I’m still wondering what topic or thoughts to reveal to the world. But so far I’m managing, I’ve discovered daily blogging is exhausting but satisfying. I will probably do small posts over the weekend as I really want to catch up with everything online and off. This past week has been so energy-draining – Worry? Stress? Dull skies and rain? Silly insomnia? Maybe a case of all the above.