Holy shit I am old. 26. And I still haven’t got it figured out yet.
First of all, I’ve sold out. I work in a footnote of my industry of choice, producing content whose headlines I wouldn’t even bother to finish reading , let alone the full breadth.
Actually that’s not true. Sometimes I get to write about home renovations and interior design and that interests me, but only insofar as it is a hobby I’d like to contract (that’s right, you contract it like a virus. It’s like an epidemic. Have you seen how many TV shows there are about flipping houses? I mean … The Jennie Garth Project? You have to be fucking kidding me, Jennie.)
I may be a sell out, yes. I’ve traded global grassroots politics for local mass media. But what choice did I have? I had to move out of my parents’ basement. I had to get a car so I could get a job so I could get to my job so I could pay my student debt so I could pay the rent so I could feed myself so I could … not die.
I realize this is melodramatic. I still have 16-year old angst in my blood and sometimes I have blood clots. The point I wish to make here is that in our generation it is much harder to pursue our Dreams. Dreams with a capital D because D is for Delusion. Now I don’t compare Dreams with Delusion because Dreams are not real. (They are as real as a metaphysical ideal can be.) I associate them with Delusion because we have been severely duped about how to pursue them. We were told if we got a good (see: expensive) education, if we worked really hard (see: conform), and didn’t do drugs and didn’t drink and didn’t have too much sex and contract a virus or get pregnant or get someone pregnant (see: fun … ok pregnancy doesn’t look that fun), then we would obtain our Dreams.
“Follow your Dreams.”
I followed mine into debt, depression, and worst of all, deception. They were wrong. Thanks mom. No I don’t blame her. It was what we were all fed. In our parents’ generation those who got a higher education got a higher quality of life because they got the jobs at the top of the chain. The idea jobs. The interesting jobs. The fun jobs. And, consequently, the high-paying jobs. That may have been the case in like 1984, but not anymore.
We were a little foolish to believe them, really.
A + B = the amazingly coveted C?
School + Hard Work = Eternal Happiness?
As that wise bitch Cinderella once said, “A dream is a wish your heart makes.” Doesn’t this formula look a little too simple to be the path to the thing your heart most desires? Why did we expect it to come so easily? I mean, how hard is it to get an Arts degree? A General Science degree? Not that fucking hard if you have a coffeemaker and a frontal lobe.
I think we are headed to a conclusion soon, so please bear with me.
To make our dreams come true, we need to be willing to wander off the path that has been set for us by literally millions of other Tap Out / Ed Hardy / LuLu Lemon-wearing drones. Universities and colleges are a conveyor belt that pumps out graduate after cookie-cut graduate. You go in one end as a girlchild with stars in her eyes and a hymen in her jeans, go through a series of social gears and mental turnpikes, jump through a series of academic and fiscal hoops, eventually get your cherry shattered underneath a clammy, acne-peppered, under-performer to the sounds of his stuttery dick-puke grunts and the sounds of your own voice imitating an Asian porn orgasm/wimper so he will just stop. (No? Just my experience?) … then you come out the other side a jaded, socially attuned, optimistic and relieved young adult.
This is one of the great things about post-secondary education. It does teach you a lot — about yourself, about other people, about the world … sort of. But real knowledge and experience comes from getting out of your ivory tower and experiencing life. The dark corners as well as the bright and sunny ones.
It is only after your hope has been utterly and completely shattered, like mine, that you begin to see the true path to your dreams. And it is a hard one, wrought with mountains and gullies and various poisonous insects and fucking Jaguars and shit. But you should go for it.
Before you have to pay rent and car insurance and it’s too late.
Or do both and just shut up and stop complaining.