Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Twentysomething Angst

Free Association:

I have been having feelings that lately that I can best be described as "angst". This "agnst" I feel is different than the kind that heavy metal-listening, "hate the world" teenagers have... I'm done with that stage (actually, I'm not sure that I even had it... maybe that's why I'm experiencing angst as a twentysomething). This "angst" is a deep, unsettling feeling. It's a hovering presence that keeps reminding me that time is precious and not to be wasted. For whatever reason I didn't feel like I do now while I was in college, though I did have my fair share of feelings during that time of my life (I threatened to transfer colleges about once every other week during the first three years of school). I think it has to do with feeling purposeful. While I was in school I knew that I had to go to class and do my homework in order to get a grade at the end of the semester. That grade compiled with other grades to make up my GPA (I definitely almost wrote GPS) and my GPA for the sememester combined with my other semesters' GPAs to determine if I could graduate.

Once college was over, the sense of purpose that I had had for four years, and even prior as I worked my way towards the goal of college, was complete. At first I felt relieved to be done with school and homework and lugging boxes upon boxes back and forth from college to home, but I soon started to feel nostalgic for my college days of yore. I got especially saddened when I saw everyone else going back to school for another year of purposeful school work. Now I again feel relieved that homework is no longer a part of my day-to-day activities, but I have found that I still do miss that feeling of purpose that I had during college and throughout my entire academic career. I feel as if I'm in some sort of limbo, waiting for the next cycle to begin because, quite frankly, that's all I have really known for twenty-two years. School has been my main existence and now that I am done with it, I feel a little disenchanted. What were all those years for really? To prepare me for my life now, as a graduate?! I don't exactly feel prepared. This great shift in purpose (though I still have my higher purpose in life) has been difficult to deal with.

College graduates generally have so much ambition and gusto, but lack the means to make dreams a reality. This is especially true as we are bogged down with college loans that need repaying only months after getting our feet wet in "the real world". If this is the real world, what world was I living in for all the years leading up to this? I still have the passion that I did when graduation was fresher in my mind (it was only four months ago), but I am already feeling expectations bogging down on me. I have to have a job because I have to pay back loans. I know that, but I just think that it's sad that so many people in my situation are working simply for the sake of working. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the place that I am working very much. The people are wonderful and the work is usually fun, but I can't help but feel trapped by these things that I "have" to do.

Who ever said that the way that our society lives is the way that we all have to live? I think that many of the things that are expected of us in this society have been passed by and, often times, unexamined. I just want to grab America by the shoulders, shake it, look it in the eyes and say, "Wake up! There is more to life!" I hate that so much of what I am currently doing is motivated by money and the "need" for it. Yes, I need to pay off loans and meet my basic needs (though my parents are kind enough to still be feeding me... delicious food, might I add... and giving me shelter), but other than that, what is it that I need money for? Why not pay off my loans, move to a farm, and live out my life there inviting people over who need a place to stay for the night?

I watched Before Sunrise tonight. The movie is the story of two twentysomethings who meet on a train in Europe and end up staying up all night enjoying one another's company and talking about things that really matter. The movie reminded me of Iron and Wine's song "Such Great Heights" (I like the cover by the Postal Service). The chorus goes as follows:

They will see us waving from such great heights
"Come down now", they'll say.
But everything looks perfect from far away
"Come down now", but we'll stay.

I often find that a good conversation can give me a natural high. I was fortunate enough to have a number of really great conversations during my life and they always leave me feeling this way. Why not stay on this level always? Weren't we created to communicate? To love and be loved? To learn? Anyway, I'm ranting on and on in free association-style. Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope that you can relate to some or all of what I'm saying.

1 comment:

Vernon said...

This blog entry found me on my first day of impending graduation day angst. With little than a month to go, the real world is fast approaching. All day I've been making phone calls to family members with whom I keep little contact with, just trying to find meaning.

It is somewhat comforting to know that someone else went through all the motions of post-collegiate uncertainty, and that they've dealt with it thus far.

thank you. perhaps you can update me on any other tidbits/advice you've learned since you first wrote this post. I'd be intensely interested.