Monday, November 28, 2011

Hurry Up and Wait

I'm in such a hurry to live.

I'm always told "you're only 22", "you're so young", "you have your whole life yet".

I'm so young...and already so aware of my mortality.

Maybe it's foolish to already be thinking about marriage, kids, and buying a home. Maybe it's silly to already be despairing about not knowing what career path I want to take. But maybe not. Maybe I really do only have a handful of years left and I need to get started on my life. Or maybe the best way to live a long life is as if it's short, and stuff into it everything you possibly can.

My brother died at 23 - which will be my age only a few months from now. And whatever people want to say about the context and conditions of his death, the bottom line is that he died at 23 -- and he absolutely never expected to die at 23. If he'd known his time was limited like that, would his short life have been different? I wonder if that time pressure would have pushed him to get control of his OCD; or if it would have heightened his already unimaginable anxiety? Maybe his life would have been worse if he'd known. But maybe he would have accomplished things in his life that only a looming deadline can ensure.

I neither want to nor will die at 23. But does that mean I should live my life like I have all the time in the world? Or am I right in wanting my goals to be reached in as little time as possible?

Friday, November 4, 2011

It's Not The Rejection

"I got 49 rejections and only one call-back."
"I've applied to 300 jobs and gotten 100+ rejections, the rest didn't respond."
"You'll get used to it."
"We all go through it."

Except that we don't. Maybe my friends are going through the same application process, but their experiences are different. For them, maybe the rejections hurt. Maybe they're afraid that they'll never get a job. But they keep plugging through, because they not only have hope, but there's also a part of them that knows that things will work out.

Once upon a time I knew that everything would work out. I knew that the failures were temporary and were really the darkness before the dawn. I knew it, in my very core --- but instead of things working out, all that happened was my discovery that I knew nothing.

These days, so many things scare me on a really profound level. I start getting job rejections, and instead of it being part of the application process, it's the gods or the fates foreshadowing my impending demise. Your parents provide a template for what to expect out of your life - and what my mind likes to do is turn every tiny little disappointment in my life into the beginning of a narrative that ends in my tragic death. Tragic death is my template.

Whatever track my life is on, I'm in incredible darkness. None of us can see into the future, but maybe everyone else can see that their track continues on for at least the next little while. And as they trundle forth, they only see more and more of their track extending forward. In the blackness I'm in, I'm clutching hard to what I have, terrified that any moment my tracks will end and I'll plummet off the edge. I know that's not the case, I do. And in my hopes and dreams and my personal vision of my future, I am nowhere near the end of my tracks.

But that doesn't stop me from constantly, constantly bracing myself for the fall.