Adulting: One Year In

6 Jul 2020.

It has been 1 year, 2 months and 10 days since I’ve started my adulthood stint of working full-time. I have previously worked full-time before during my summer breaks of course, but this time it is different. The realisation that you are the Captain Nemo of your Nautilus is exciting yet so, so intimidating. Where previously you had an education system to largely dictate where you will go, the current lack of restraint feels oddly unnerving. I would say my family grew up middle class so the path I took through school was not exactly a path less travelled. Although, I did attend my higher education abroad if that counts. In school you had semi-annual examinations to keep track of your progress and looking at such progress compared next to your peer’s give you an indication of your standing. But now, the myriad of opportunities and perhaps also a small personal epiphany into enlightenment just make you think, “I have to walk my own path.” And that is a scary thought.

This thought crept up on me like an idiotic prankster and I am still trying to get a grasp of what pillars of my life are important and which can be left impotent. I used to get high from trying out all new activities. Dance, parkour, gymnastics, travelling, mountaineering, cheerleading, acrobatics, yoga. Being involved in them was my way of taking a shot; I get excited, did it for a while more, then recharge and repeat. Time commitment at work, lack of structured activities, and lack of university funding have forced me to re-evaluate what kind of activities I really want to sink myself into, if any at all. If I used to get high from action and danger, now I’m on the sidelines doing my opportunity cost analysis and not doing much, probably for my good. I’ve lived too long under the leash of Adrenaline, King of everything fun.

Next is, who would have thought houses are so expensive? My parents are property agents and I should know better. But knowing the price and actually having to work every month just to pay that downpayment hit different. And the audacity of it is, I saw this coming from a mile away but I’m still horrified by it. And renovations seem like a scam. Can I take leave for 6 months to do up my own touches like in one of those TV shows please?

Me: *watching Youtubers review penthouses in NYC while struggling towards a public housing downpayment.

Also me: “Hmm that isn’t a bad price.”

-A very delusional me

Oddly enough, there is some form of comfort to take with this knowledge. I cannot take the mindset and expectations of a institutionalised learner into the world and expect it to stick well. It’s the one advice that has been drummed into me through all sorts of delivery methods, from “motivational” posts to late night talks with friends. I guess it will take me a bit more time to truly internalise this. The pressure to always get your shit together is an antithesis to what it is supposed to encourage. Such a paradoxical paralysis. You can fly, run, walk, swim or crawl. And everyone else will also be doing their own things. Some are passively drifted by the current while there will be those who exhaustively swim towards their desired destination. Looking around, I’ve realised all the panic and frustrations can be attributed to me looking at the wrong places; I’ve been looking out too much without looking in. Another cliche dodge which I am not taking on this post is, that I have slowly learnt to count my blessings. Why let the uncertain future overpower the certain present situations. I am thankful to have a family who sticks to each other. I feel lucky to have met my girlfriend. I am blessed that my community is who they are right now. Despite a subtle wistfulness that my closest university friends are all over the world, I am glad technology has allowed us to connect still.

Tributaries lead to rivers which lead to oceans (So not letting go of the water metaphor just because I work in the navy.) Sometimes life can feel laminar and other times, turbulence strikes fear and anxiety. Once I’ve accepted that it is a “problem” that will stay, it became… a little less overwhelming. Just still learning to row, row, row my boat and enjoy the company that offer themselves as time passes.

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