Wednesday, July 02, 2008

"Everybody knows it sucks to grow up, and everybody does...Let me tell you what, the years go on and we're still fighting it. We're still fighting it." — Ben Folds, Still Fighting It

So far I've survived one week after my hasty voluntary termination of my "cold call" job that clearly was not for me. I know it isn't much, but it means a lot to me, especially when you factor in the severe lack of money I have in my bank account at the moment.

In so many ways, this week has been a true testament to my survival because I have abstained from spending money on anything remotely frivolous. That includes lavish items such as pizzas and coffeeshop pastries and lattes (which, you know, Internet, is a big deal for me!). It has not only taught me to be fiscally responsible through budgeting, but also through cost-benefit analysis (yes, I just said CBA!). I've found that I have reduced the amount of money I am spending on things I do not need (anything new or shiny) while devoting more money to things I do need (like rice, lots and lots of rice!). Plus, I have learned that I can get by on less when I need to (I mean, thousands of generations of rice-based dieters can't be wrong, right?1).

If anything, though, this last week has helped me realize, more than ever, that I am more of an adult than I have ever been before. That my seem strange at first glance, especially in light of my jocular nature towards this situation, but it is increasingly apparent to me.

You see, Internet, this last year has truly kicked me around. I came back from a summer where I thought I had grown up, but soon learned that I had more growing up to do. In fact, the first semester of graduate school disabused any thoughts I had of truly being a confident self-motivated and inspired adult, let alone a Master's student. And yet, I survived.

However, as I inchoately transitioned into the next semester, I found that I still wasn't where I thought I was. Sure, I had gained some experience, but I had not learned the lessons I needed to learn from the mistakes I had made before. In fact, I repeated many of the same mistakes, only to find myself in a rut of my own construction. I felt empty, alone, and increasingly apathetic. I continually contemplated why I was in graduate school and I could not figure out why life generally sucked. I even thought I was depressed for a while, but realized that I was just being hard on myself for my shortcomings. So, I struggled though both the assignments and mental setbacks, all the while eagerly awaiting this summer.

Somehow I had gotten it into my head that this summer would be the panacea for all the ills I struggled with and endured during the year. I imagined that I would take a carefree vacation that would clear my head of all my worries and prepare me for the rest of the summer. I assumed I would land a job within weeks of my return from said vacation and that I would be able to easily continue my studies at a leisurely pace that would actually allow me to enjoy the process. In short, I believed that the Fates would somehow spin me a new thread that wove away from personal responsibility and difficulty into relaxation and ease.

To be sure, it was sophomoric, simplistic, and a tad bit selfish. To think that everything would just fall into place without much effort on my part! And yet, it is exactly what a broken, yet hopeful person would assume and hope for—a break, a pause, a let up from all the letdowns.

It is what I assumed.

However, in light of the shocking disappearance of last month (June seriously flew by), my lack of steady income (lets face it, doesn't shell out the big bucks for old books, DVDs, CDs, and video games), and my dwindling funds (because of all those pizzas, pastries, and lattes), I have come to realize that the "beatdown" of this year has actually been the culmination of the growing pains of adulthood—the realization that I must become responsible for all aspects of my life. No longer can I leave this life up to faith, fate, chance or good hope. No longer can I naively assume that there is a fail-safe for everything. No longer can I rely on "easy outs," life lines or a resurrection of the spirit.

Instead, I am finally realizing that I am becoming an adult. I am joining the ranks of the thousands upon thousands who have been fighting to get by. I am fighting for myself amongst others. I am fighting an uphill battle for my stability, happiness, and security. Most importantly, I am becoming more of myself through my struggles—my losses and gains.

Indeed, I am figuring out the game before I am lost to it. The terrain is uncertain, but I refuse to simply jump from one point to another. I refuse to move forward on blind hope. I refuse to let it all go on the assumptions that "I'll have it down later" or that "I'll feel better in due time." I refuse to back down from my dreams. Most importantly, I refuse to surrender my potential to the unknown because it is too easy to fall back on doubt and uncertainty and the possibility of "what could have been."

From here on out I am going to suck it up and give it my all. I am going to survive, persevere, and fight with all I have through thick and thin until I get "there"— until I am—or until I can no longer fight2!

1: It also worked for all those contestants on Survivor too!
2: Or whenever the rice runs out, whichever comes first.


bardot said...

such is life- being an adult sucks! but at least you're conscious of it and you are adjusting your behaviors- you gotta keep fighting! it'll be an uphill battle from now on, so don't be complacent!

as for the food, my "friends" (you know, not me :-P) used to buy a bucket of chicken and make it last for a week. rice, chicken and frozen veggies - the meal of champions!

Thister said...

Thanks for the advice! No kidding! I am aware now and I am going to keep at it.

Rice, chicken, frozen veggies, sandwiches and soup are about all I can afford until the loan money comes in. Even then, though, I am going to try to make due with less because I will need to money later on, especially if I move! *sigh* The uphill battle continues!!

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