Today, for the first time in a long time, I did what I want to do.
I’ve been an “adult” for roughly four years now, and these first four years have been tightly, neurotically focused on getting an education. When I finished my last class of my undergrad, it occurred to me that I and many like me have spent the past 16 years in a cycle of school to summer to school, with jobs and fun stuff wedged in the extra bits of time available to us.
Being in college right out of high school doesn’t actually make you feel like you are FINALLY an adult. It generally continues a theme of people expecting you to succeed academically while they offer you assistance and programs and sports and social activities, and lecture you about getting more sleep. The big difference is that many of us start to gain a *crushing weight of monetary responsibility that we aren’t really aware of, but are warned will destroy our lives in the years after college is over.
It dawned on me that I need to start adulting now that college is. A month after graduation, I realized I had to get my shizzle together.
What takes up the space that avoiding doing homework occupied? I have honed my procrastination skills for at least eight years now! I have habits that are deeply rooted in my desire to ignore the anxiety of finishing a paper! I have rituals designed to conjure a false sense of security about the amount of hours a final project will take!
It takes time to adjust to the absence of academic responsibility, and in the meantime you find yourself pretending to procrastinate like you have something to procrastinate for.
Last night I sat in bed wondering why I felt like I was wasting time even though I didn’t have anything immediately requiring completion. Don’t get me wrong, I need to find a job in the fall once my summer work runs out, but that is a single responsibility that has the very tangible reward of money. College was a half-promise saying that, “maybe someday your education could possibly benefit you in figuring out a career or getting work or something.” I’m not as worried about getting a job since my options aren’t limited by a credit requirement in social sciences/multicultural studies.
Which leads me to today. Today, I decided I wanted to stop doing some stuff. I wrote them down so I could look at them.
“Things I want to stop doing as much:
1. Watching so much Netflix/Movies/TV
2. Spending so much time looking at apps on my phone, i.e. Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Dumb Game Apps, etc.”
Then I decided I wanted to start doing some other stuff instead.
“Things I want to do everyday:
I am a new, homework-less, adult-baby. What do I want? I know I want to be able to support myself and be happy. But as an adult-baby, I can’t get too picky about jobs since I’m not a genius who is being personally approached by corporations and the government, as Matt Damon was when he realized he could do a lot of incomprehensible math and date Minnie Driver while being best friends with Ben Affleck and becoming an A-List actor all at the same time. All those things might have made Matt happy, but I need to forge my own path, thank you very much.
Therefore, my real decisions in this new phase of adulting hinge on goals of personal growth. I picked five things that I think will increase my humility, strength, and joy. And today I did them. All of them. I have no illusions of perfection or consistency. I just have a better idea of what I want. Maybe I’ll get better at them. Surely they’ll make me better.
The moral of the story, as usual, is that I am a sweet, ignorant, bumbling kid wondering what makes life good.
If any of my professor’s are reading this, please consider the above sentence my thesis statement.
On past posts, I have wrapped up with the phrase, “that is all,” which I (pretentiously) heard in my head as being said by Patrick Stewart. Just to be doubly clear, I am not Matt Damon, and I am also not Patrick Stewart.
It seems much more appropriate for me to leave you with a casual, “that’s all.”
*Student Loans are large cubes of lead gradually accumulating in a giant cargo net above your body. This cargo net hangs over you at a great height at first, and then as it grows more heavily laden, it sinks lower and lower until it makes that rope-about-to-snap creaking sound just as your diploma is handed to you. You can get the net reinforced by going to grad school, but additional lead weights from this continuation of your education will eventually break the net. You awareness and anxiety over being pulverized will grow as the net weakens until the inevitable weight limit is reached. So yeah. Everything everyone has told you is true. But stay in school kids.