It's the middle of december. I haven't bought Christmas presents yet and I'm banking on overnight shipping to get it done. I always say that I'm going to be the early bird, but in reality, even though I plan very well, I don't have enough time to actually put those plans into motion. Take for instance, this past week. I finished up at my internship, I worked at my part-time office job and then I freelance for 5 days. And while those five days were fun, I was on my feet for fourteen hour days taking lunch orders and being treated like a minion. I know that I shouldn't complain. I have very little experience and any opportunity to learn is amazing. I'm willing to work my way from the bottom to the top, my only question is what do I see at the top? I feel like I ended up in production when my real goal was acting. Now I'm on the track to becoming a producer, which is still one of my goals, but I'm not getting any closer to becoming an actor (or director or writer). Sometimes I feel so lost.
I'm starting to realize that this feeling isn't exactly unique to me. I saw my bestie Josephine this weekend and we ended up on the topic of our immeadiate futures. She's in production too and landed herself a full-time job as an office PA. Jo and I probably have similar goals. She has such a bubbly, vivacious personality and people are just immeadiatly drawn to her. Sometimes I think that she should be in front of the camera instead of behind it. She would be an amazing on-air interviewer or even a entertainment journalist (as proven by her short-lived college radio show called E-buzz). But instead she's milling along the office trail like me. At least she's getting paid for it.
During the talk about our futures, she brought up an interesting note. She said to me "I'm so impressed by your optimism". Optimism? I've always considered myself a pessimist and I'm never surprised when shit hits the fan. The universe has a tricky way of fucking with me, so I'm rarely surprised by the dilemmas that I deal with on a regular basis. When Jo referred to my optimism, I had to ask her what she meant by that. She said that she knows so many people whose lives aren't going the way that they intended and have become so depressed, but somehow, I've managed to keep it from getting me down. It was in that moment that I realized two things. 1. Every postgraduate feels a sense of darkness. Whether it's because you're unemployed or you have the job of your dreams, becoming an adult has this looming sense of finality. It's as if we're supposed to be adults overnight.
My friend Jason, whom I've become serious texting buddies with, sent me a bbm that read "ive been struggling with the whole thing, i feel like my whole existence is a big joke". This was after I made fun of him for contemplating becoming on the enemy: a banker. But I see why he would consider it. Why not work a soul-less job and make lots of cash, when you feel empty inside now and aren't making the big bucks. If money can't buy you happiness, then what can? We're all struggling with the reality of ourselves and the dream of ourselves. When they don't align, the sense of failure is almost unbearable.
The other thing I learned was that I was unhappy. I hadn't really realized it until Jo pointed it out, but there's a definite sense of unhappiness that is flooding through my veins. I think I hadn't realized earlier was because of the immense fatigue I've been experiencing. Without time to actually sit and gather my thoughts, I never realized that I was on a course that wasn't going to lead me to the Emerald City. This is how it happens. THis is how someone remains an office assistant for forty years. This is how a college graduate with a Ph.D ends up being a personal assistant to some big name executive. When you don't have the time to reflect, you never see what's really there.
This thought has terrified me since leaving Jo. I'm starting to see the cracks in everyone's life. One of our friends just moved to China because she needed a break from the post-college depression. It can be overwhelming at times. Although I don't think I'll go that far, I can see the temptation. Running away from my problems sounds amazing right now. The only real issue is that I'll have to run back to them at one point. I can't run away from growing up.
And now I've been offered this job and I'm hesitant to take it. It would be a wonderful opportunity for me to the side the business side of production and to be more hands-on in the process, but if I do this, will it be me giving up on my other goals? Will I be settling and just following the structured path? I want it all, I just don't know how to get there. That's probably the root of all depression. The acknowledgment that you don't know how to save yourself.