Monday, November 14, 2011

Occupy Ourselves

I apologize in advance for this being lengthy, hadn't updated in awhile...

The past 2 years, I've been living a life full of highs and lows (quite literally), and until recently I pretty much had been sticking to the high points when it came to updating this blog and more or less bragging about this wonderful life I've been living. Well this past week I hit probably the lowest point I've reached since moving to Austin, and ever since then I've been trying to find some semblance of sanity, a clear picture of clarity, an answer to this arrogance I have seemingly created in my on-the-surface Polaroid perfect life.

24 is a strange age, trying to balance that feeling of still being a young and dumb college kid, with the responsibilities and hardships of being an adult living in the so-called "real world." Instead of "what are you studying?" or "what do you want to be?" it's "what are you doing these days?" Well, truth be told, I've been living life centered more or less around one thing... myself. And although at times I have felt completely justified in that venture (see older blog posts for proof), claiming that I will only be this young with such little responsibility for so long, the truth is, I've been hiding the painful truth. The truth I've been either too stubborn or naive to look at, but one that reared its glaring and ugly face at me recently, and that is the fact that I am not entirely satisfied with the life I'm living or the way I've been living it.

Do I regret everything I have done the past 2 years? Not in the least. I have seen more concerts then just about anyone I know, met some incredible people, made friendships that will last a lifetime, found a wonderful girl who is patiently putting up with me and my constant mistakes, and accomplished many things on my bucket list. So I can't say the past 2 years have been a complete failure. But it dawned on my recently that I've been hiding behind my rock-n-roll lifestyle to mask some of my insecurities and deficiencies. I have slowly but surely been trying to numb myself, self medicating, and justifying it anyway I could.

I am the Occupy Wall Street generation. We have been taught our entire lives that if we did good in school, got into a good college, studied and worked hard, that we would graduate and find ourselves working jobs we could be proud of. That the transition from college to the real world would be as simple as the one from high school to college was. That we could have our cake and eat it too. Well reality is upon us, and the truth is we are struggling to get blue-collar jobs as much as we are to get white-collar ones. The man who sits behind me at work listens to conservative talk radio all day everyday, and I hear all these older right-wingers screaming how we all hold this feeling of entitlement, that they worked for everything they earned and we shouldn't be upset with where we are at right now, we should just suck it up and deal with it. Well its true, we may have this feeling of entitlement, but its because it was what we were raised to believe. What we were taught since birth, from that older generation, the ones who weren't too proud to flip burgers. They taught us that we should get an education, that unlike them we shouldn't have to start at the bottom and work our way up. They worked hard so that we could get that education, and not fight to make it just to get by.

Well here I am, 24, a college graduate, struggling to get by. Working a job I needed no education for, at the only place who would even give me an interview. I have numerous times flooded the job market, applying to hundreds (literally) of companies, sending my resume out to anyone who would read it, and don't even get contacted to be informed that I wouldn't be receiving an interview. The few employers who did all said the same thing, I lacked the work experience. Well duh, because I went to school the past 18+ years of my life, like I was told to do my entire life.

Growing up, I believed by 25 I'd have a firm grasp on my future. I'd have something concrete to cling to, a job to be proud of, a nice car, a fancy apartment or condo or house even. Possibly be engaged or even married, contemplating baby names and working towards my first million. The reality is; at 25, I hope that my nearly 10 year old car will still run, that my crummy apartment won't be entirely caved in as the foundation has slowly begun to sink in, that I make enough money to afford to pay all my bills and still afford to have any amount of fun and eat meals more complex then Ramen Noodles and spaghetti. As far as marriage and babies go, despite seeing a growing number of Facebook statuses changing and baby pictures being posted, I would never even consider looking at an engagement ring until I could not only afford one, but could afford to get married. And at the rate I'm going, that might happen when I'm... 40?

So I've numbed myself to the reality of my situation, I go out and party just to forget that in all honesty I'm pissed off with what I've worked so hard to achieve. The older generation looks down at me, scoffs at me, because they think I don't know what hard work is, that I haven't gone through hardships or been through what they've been through. Well I've got news for them, for the past 20 months I have missed exactly 1 day of work that wasn't a vacation day asked for months in advance (which was this past Friday). I've worked 50+ hour weeks for a majority of that time. I've supported myself, paid my own bills, and managed to stay completely debt free. I don't owe anyone anything, I don't have a credit card or student loans to pay off, and I am proud of the fact that I can look at myself in the mirror and say I am self-reliant. So this so-called sense of entitlement you claim I am so naively crying about is a bunch of bull shit, because I work hard and all I want is what I was promised my entire life. I want a return on my investment.

I may not be able to control the economy, or what companies will or wont hire me, but there are a few things I can control. Namely, my lifestyle and the type of person I'm striving to be. So instead of pretending that my reality isn't in fact my reality, I've decided its time for me to grow up a little bit. That at 24, maybe getting wasted all the time and spending most of my hard earned money on booze and concerts isn't necessarily justifiable just because I'm not satisfied with the job I've fallen into. So instead of that beer, tonight I'll pick up a book. Instead of watching that unrealistic TV show about the perfect family or deadbeat love-able "hero" who always manages to get by despite being a dumb-ass, I'll write, and go to bed earlier so I can wake up earlier to work even longer hours. Instead of self-medicating and trying to escape reality, I'll go for a run and try to improve my physical well-being even if I can't improve my financial one.

Friday morning, 11-11-11, I woke up with a new take on life. Thankful to be alive, with a feeling I had been given a second chance that I might not have even deserved, and I'm going to try hard not to waste it. I want to be an example that people from my generation are not worthless hippies who want hand-outs, we are capable, hardworking, educated 20-somethings who will change the world when someone finally gives us the chance. It starts with self-improvement, and I encourage all of my friends to do the same. Am I saying I will never have another drink or see another concert? Hell no, I moved to this city to enjoy it and I fully intend to keep doing it. But that doesn't mean I can't be smarter or more mature about it. And maybe, if I keep my head high and a firm grip on my reality, I can be the change I want to see not only in myself but in this fucked up world we live in right now.

I worked over 11 hours today. I grocery shopped to save money. I put gas in my 10 year old car. I ran 3 miles. I did laundry at the apartment I pay for. I ate healthy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I wrote this long blog that no one but myself will probably read. I will read a good book till I fall asleep. I told the people I care about how much they mean to me... And I will get up tomorrow and do it all over again. Life is a daily struggle, but its all about making choices. I'm here, taking it one day at a time, but in the end the only person I need to impress is myself. And today, for the first time in awhile, I am proud.

1 comment:

  1. good post...always appreciate brutal honesty over any dressed up impostor fantasy bullshit...people need to tell the truth until it hurts...mostly to themselves ... Cody