A friend of mine texted me the other day to inform me he had just found a job. Exciting news, obviously. Like me, he is a recent college graduate (even moreso since he graduated in December and I graduated in May) who had been meddling through the post-graduation "now what?" phase.
While leaving the ranks of the jobless, parental basement dweller is clearly a cause for celebration, my friend said something interesting in referring to his employmental-conquest. While explaining the perks of his new job, he informed me that once you have worked for a few years and have established yourself in the company, you can set your own hours, which, in his words, "will be nice when I have kids."
Did I pass out halfway through this conversation and wake up ten years later?
Here is a 23-year-old guy who just wiggled into his first "real" job, and is pretty much resigned to the fact that, "hey, this is the beginning of the rest of my life." Anyone else see a problem with that? How is that the mentality that our society has cultivated?
Granted, maybe it is unfair to assume that isn't what some people want. Maybe people want to get through college, grab a job, grab a wife, bang out some kids (no pun intended), and creep up the job ranks. And I suppose I shouldn't question that. If that is what someone really wants at age 23, then rock on.
For me, however, the idea of even committing to a "real" job seems unfathomable. Yes, I am out of college, so apparently that means "real life" has begun, but I guess I just don't have any interest in the lifestyle model I outlined above. At least not at age 22.
Oh, sure, I am employed at the moment, but I like where I am at because there isn't a sense of permanence for a minimum wage making intern (which is essentially just code for "I have no responsibilities here whatsoever").
And, sure, my internship is great experience for the future, but that doesn't mean the future has to arrive tomorrow. I in no way feel like I am "grown up." In fact, I feel like I am stuck in some sort of weird post-college flux period where I am not really a functioning adult member of society, but I am not really a college kid either -- which only bothers me because I am pretty sure I just compared my life to "I'm Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman" by Britney Spears.
Regardless, there seems to be an unjust societal pressure to convince college grads to fear any sense of flux. To basically say, "graduate and and get your shit together."
Or, more specifically, "Go to grad school or get a job, otherwise you're fucked."
Hmm...decisions, decisions: Grad school, job, or fucked...huh. Well...um...I guess I'll get a job.
Maybe I am delusional, but to me this ideology is detrimental. How can anybody reasonably justify that someone at age 22 or 23 NEEDS to immediately reconcile the rest of their life if they want to have any shot at being remotely successful? Where is the logic in that?
You're going to tell me that we get 22 years (the latter of which -- when we are supposed to be really making decisions -- are spent in a drunken stupor) to plan the rest of our life? 22 years to decide the next 50? What? Come again? In what possible way does that way of thinking even remotely resemble logic?
I don't know, maybe I am naive. Maybe I am, in fact, fucking myself by not having a plan, but I just don't believe that is the case.
Do I have goals and aspirations? Yes I do. But what I don't have, is a blueprint for the rest of my days. And I don't want one. I take comfort in the unknown. As I sit here, and consider the concept of having my entire life planned out, and knowing my daily routine, I become increasingly uncomfortable.
I don't want to want to fall into black hole of complacency, wake up 30 years later, and realize my entire life just passed me by. And that is precisely why I am, for now, completely comfortable in my state of flux.