“I think I’m going to pursue a graduate degree.”
“Why?” I asked
The man just got promoted. He was making all the money he needed.
“Why put yourself through all that shit just to make a few dollars more?”
I assured the man: “You’ve arrived”. There was nothing else he needed to do. But only in America, I thought…the only place where we’re conditioned to never be satisfied.
I don’t always follow the advice I dispense. I’m not immune to the disease of careerism. Along with the millions of other Americans, I have to learn how to be happy.
I have taken a step back from writing for this very reason. I enjoy it. Writing is therapeutic. But nothing is worse than coming to terms with your own mediocrity. Writing might be my ‘art’…but I don’t need to make it more than it is.
“Quarter-Life Crisis” is now a thing. I’m between “quarter-life” and “mid-life”, but I see kids not yet 30 having to come to terms with their own limitations, their decision making, the possibility of a life less than mediocre. These realizations condition us to never be content…to always value the opinions of others over the opinion of ourselves: “successful” is an adjective that others bestow. The younger we feel this existential crisis, the better greased this machine of careerism is.
I wanted to make writing a career. That ambition made me miserable. Writing should never feel ‘forced’….which is essentially what I was doing with the last several posts. As the Taoists might say (not to sound too pretentious), it’s got to be effortless. “The poem writes the poem”, as someone once said. As easy as it is to dispense this advice, applying it has caused a crisis in my own life. In order to ‘learn’ to be happy, I have to relinquish this goal.
This is the long way of saying: “sorry, but not sorry” for not keeping up with this blog.
I have a new job, and despite metaphorically flushing thousands of dollars down a toilet recently…things aren’t that bad. But it takes a lot to realize that. Things have been bad for so long.
I suppose that I’ve arrived…but I’m just not there.