#lifewriting: the young adults who flounder

#lifewriting: the young adults who flounder

Before I explain my past two months of absence, here's a prelude to my story:

excerpt - [the book I'd never publish]

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You turned twenty-three in the winter, when frigid air split your lips and your joints cracked cold, and then it is the turning of spring into summer. You are still cold, fingers clacking under the blast of the office air conditioning. Graduation was a little over six months ago, but that life is fogged over by the dull repetition of wake up, work, return.

“If you’re counting the days till the weekend, it probably isn’t the right job for you,” someone out there will say. They are the ones who jump out of bed every morning believing in what they do.

“Well, yeah.” You agree, and do the same thing the next day.

So. You’re not sure of anything except having a job is better than none. You wake up some days, pit already sunken deep in your stomach. You spend your lunch hour doing self-diagnosis tests – 10 signs you have high-functioning anxiety – debate if saying it out loud will make it any more real.

(who are you kidding, checking yes when your answer only applies one out of ten times)

Can’t even ask the right questions.

-

You still take the tests. But Google isn't a valid source for diagnosing you with clinically recognised anxiety or I’m-lost-help-me-i-don’t-know-anything anxiety.

Well, whatever you have, it makes phone calls a necessary evil.

Punching in numbers is a tedious process. Is it the right number? Wait, is that two or three fives? You take a deep breath, press call, and in the 30 seconds it takes for the call to connect, you’ve planned out what to say:

1.       Hi,

2.       I’d like to make a booking?

3.       What times are available?

4.       [choose from the available choices] Date, Time, please.

5.       Name

6.       Yes, yes. Thank you!

God, your fingers have left sweaty imprints over your phone case, making reservations for a dentist appointment shouldn’t be so scary.

-

Work doesn't scare you.

It's how well you're doing at work that niggles at the back of your brain the moment you wake up. From your probation period uncertainties (will they keep me? am I meeting their expectations?), the trickle swirls into a hurricane even after months (should I be doing more? am I still meeting their expectations?). 

You combat this by going to work earlier. Take in the empty office. Compose yourself. Plan your day.

You deal with it.

-

Honestly, there are quiet moments.

Sometimes your brain gets tired of itself and decides to just shut off. Your spine melds to the chair, cold feet stuffed into slippers. You're at home now. The laptop is open on YouTube, distractions and action and everything you're not doing. Your email inbox sits at zero, your phone screen blessedly empty of messages. It's Friday night, and you have no plans for the next day or the day after.

Solitude.

Surprisingly terrifying.

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And that's when I realized I needed to take a step back and evaluate how I was living - if I was actively participating in my own future, or settling for whatever came my way. Clearly, something wasn't enough. 

 

a tribute: to Kim Jonghyun

a tribute: to Kim Jonghyun

#lifewriting: set adrift

#lifewriting: set adrift