Everything will be all right in the end… if it’s not all right then it’s not yet the end.- Sonny
Today I applied for jobs and had an enormous self doubt depreciation and pity party day. Also life crisis. I don’t blame my problems on anyone else- I just think I should be omniscient and get life right the first and only time around. I’ve written a lot about regretting going to business school, and yes, those feelings did surface. Tonight I don’t regret it though. It’s a shame I needed to go to business school to learn what I did about life, and a shame I didn’t enjoy my life more, but sometimes the price of wisdom is experience. Self knowledge at least is coming at me like a hurricane, though I still don’t seem to have the answer to what to do with my life.
There is no past that we can bring back by longing for it. Only a present that builds and creates itself as the past withdraws.- Evelyn
I’m beginning to think that answer doesn’t exist, at least not the way I always thought it would. I’m also beginning to realizing life has a lot of middle, not just highs and lows. Even if every date is not with the One doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it. Every thing you did that wasn’t the right thing wasn’t necessarily a mistake you should feel the need to atone for. Maybe it’s normal not to get things right the first time. And it’s not my fault that things don’t turn out as I plan, or maybe even that I’m not the person that I planned.
Sometimes I have the feeling that I should just never take advice from anyone else again. I tend to have trouble making up my mind and am too trusting of others, especially people I admire. I tend to believe that my unicorns and rainbows are always just beyond the bend. Maybe they are, but not in the way I expect. The world I’ve inherited is not like my parents or their parents. And when it comes to me, I have to believe that I do know best otherwise I’m never going to live my own life.
What it all comes down to really, is that it’s not about your career amounting to something. That you can’t control. But the person you become, the way you react, whether you choose to accept or reject yourself, that is something you can choose. And you can resist the person you are all you want- you can do everything to try to change- but your plans will come to nothing if they are not based off truth. There might be a person you wish you were out there, a person you thought you were going to be. But guess what? That person is dead. That person was never alive. She existed only in your imagination.
“The only real failure is the failure to try, and the measure of success is how we cope with disappointment.”
Yes, there are many things that you could do. And it is important to know what you want to do. But what will you do? Who are you? Can you guess what the real MJ will do? I can. Sometimes I know it like a script before it happens. And sometimes I want to rewrite it. A lot of days I think the crazy is responsible for all my troubles, and I’d give anything to lobotomize myself somehow, and just be the perfect, successful, happy little girl everyone wants me to be, or so I think. Or at least who will not be rejected, and who will be praised and validated by her dear ones and society. If only I could like sports a little bit. But the truth is I don’t, and the more I try to be that person, the more i eat destructively, the more I want to dye my hair blue, the more I want to abscond somewhere and never return. But who am I, really?
I am a lot more creative, a lot more messy, a lot more discombobulated than I ever intended to be. Also more interesting and funny. And so much braver. It’s not easy for me to follow orders, stay in one place, or stick to the plan. It’s not easy to stay focused and not get distracted. And it’s not easy to stop wanting to be someone different. But I am a dilettante, a Renaissance woman, not a subject matter expert. Maybe someday but not yet.
I could just conform. I could go with the group, worry about dressing and acting like other people, and going with the flow. But that is a fucking cowardly way to live life, it is inauthentic and honestly I hate people like that. Much as I find myself surrounded with them because I am just like that. Not all the time, but a good amount of the time. Sure, we are all social mammals and want to fit in, in fact all my meanderings can be seen as searching for belonging, but truly, at least I have the balls to try not to care so much about what other people think. And at least I’m galled that conscientiousness that’s really just cowardliness is the currency of success. Or so it appears to me. Whether it’s just another hipster reading a trendy book upside down or a housewife who tries to be on trend and not too loud with what she wears, I fucking hate that about humankind. I don’t want to be around those people. Yet what do I do, but try to buy validation and praise and belonging by jumping through hoops. Guilty, the one in a glass house throwing stones. But I won’t deny that my house has a little more frame than a lot of people, and I disdain them.
Maybe I lack compassion. Or just have too much of a backbone.
That’s what I hated about business school, and the one job I had that I really hated. I also just hate the fact that it just seems necessary to crush the human spirit for so many “real” jobs. But then, a lot of people don’t have a ton of what I’d call human spirit to begin with and hey, some people actually claim to like corporate finance. Wow this is turning out to be an angry post, isn’t it?
I can’t quite quit the world, and all its games. Some are more fun to play than others. But what I can do is stop hating myself for playing, that is, living. Living and learning and moving.
So as mentioned in the title, I watched the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel tonight. The first time I watched the movie, I went to the theater alone because I had no one to watch it with. The second time I watched it with my best friend from business school, who I haven’t really talked to much since because she’s busy living her life I’m sure, and she made fun of me for it and fell asleep. This time I watched with my mom, who is always trying to convince me that life is about conforming and more or less accepting that things kind of suck and are a means to an end, and she also enjoyed it.
“Things don’t ever turn out the way we expect. But that’s when some of the best things happen.”
So I will see what happens. I have no other choice but to be where I am. I am 20 pounds heavier, many thousand dollars more in debt, a little cynical, and older. I’ve seen the world, lost and broken my heart, more than once, fallen in love, with a man and with a city and most of all with a possibility, gotten a tattoo, seen a hundred once in a lifetime sites, missed a home I still haven’t built yet, felt like kidnapping a few asian babies, and realized that I don’t really want my life to turn out the way I always expected. In fact, I’m glad i didn’t. I don’t know what was missing from my best laid, grandiose plans, but maybe it was just the mystery, the change, the humility in the face of the tides, the Hand of God.
And maybe if I just let the building my career thing go a little bit, I can actually build a life. Not around a viable career, although that must be part of it, but around the person that I actually am, today, and not what I wanted a year ago or ten years ago. Maybe I’ll find that thing that makes me stop wondering what’s next- in fact, in a way I think I have. Something that captivates my sense of wonder for a while. I’m all worried about settling and building, and there are a lot of ways to look at that. I’ve actually been building myself, rather than a cage or a tank to grow into. I’ve outgrown fitting in with my surroundings, but learned to be more satisfied, and to realize I’ve only just begun. I know there’s no one life that will capture all of my human potential, except the one I’m living. There will be thousands of caves to explore, museums to see, and things to love, even men, maybe. Maybe I will catch and be forced to release a dozen “the ones” before life let’s me hold on to one. Maybe I’m just correct in thinking that stability is an illusion and a stupid thing to try to create, much as I feel like I’ve been caving to the rat race in order to have more company. Maybe that’s not the company I really want to keep though.
I’ve been trying so hard to figure things out, and the truth is that there is not much to figure out. There’s just accepting what is, which has to be an emotional process as much as a rational one. My brain can’t think me out of a situation that doesn’t actually exist, and I’m just going to have to admit I’m not where I thought I would be. Maybe I am somewhere better.
Do I know myself? No, because life is a process of becoming yourself, and I think for the brave that’s more true. Creating yourself isn’t easy, and no matter what you do, how many mistakes you make, if you are still here, the dream isn’t over. And maybe the dream isn’t what you thought it was. Maybe it expresses itself more simply and elegantly than you anticipated. Maybe that desire for a straight line rather than a zigzag was just that. And maybe there’s not an explanation, there’s just a whole lot of randomness we overthink and analyze on top of. Becuase we are humans. And the more important thing is to take the ride, for real. Ask the real questions and get the real answers. Admit the things you are not sure about. And most importantly, love yourself through it rather than hating. That will make all the difference in the world, and only you can do it for yourself. There’s no prize you can win that will make up for real self love. And maybe it’s not as far away as you think.