Lots of inner thinking today.
I’ve reached something of a crossroads this year: not knowing my next move…nor having even an idea of what I want it to be. Even more confusingly: having no idea what it should be, but feeling more than ever a pressure to have it calculated.
At first I didn’t understand how I came to this point. Did I always really “not care” about my future? Was I never working towards some kind of dream, or aspiration? What was getting me out of bed in the morning all these years??
But wait…how many years has that actually been? Relatively, not that many. Structured education courses have paved the way most of my life, and the very few independent years I’ve had in the post-grad world have been tumultuous and ever-grasping for a foothold. Roughly 3 chapters there: Post-Grad Drinking; Post-Drinking Home; Post-Home Independence.
“Drinking” was all party, very-fucking-little responsibility. “Home” was reset, rehab, recoup, reconnect, readjust. “Independence,” when I began it, was simply employment.
The chapters that followed “Drinking” were not unexpected in my book. Unpleasant at times yes maybe, but I was prepared to go to any lengths, and was fully aware of the amount of time that might be needed to get there. What has been less obvious is…what do I do, now that I’ve arrived?
“Anything” — on paper, means limitless potential. In practice…can be suffocatingly daunting. Because does it also mean “everything?”
No. What it means is, I need to set some goals for myself. Not a terribly novel concept for me, either, but how do you know what’s important to you, in a new life?
A good starting place is to tick off of your mental list what is not. And that’s the epiphany I had today, that has been stewing in the brainpan for a minute now I think: I have no desire to stay here. Here in Stamford; here in Fairfield County. I convinced myself I liked it well enough because opportunity! city life! hustle! but this place is not me, and nor are these people. I am an outsider to this lifestyle. There are communities that exist where the outsider’s perspective is truly valued and even sought out, but in a place so motivated by bank accounts and superficial self-image?
I mean, it’s not like there is zero depth here. But the majority shareholders participate in a pissing contest that’s held at surface level, and I feel like I’m just spinning my wheels trying to compete with such a mindset. [I can’t stress enough that there is more I could do to meet these personalities halfway…but I just don’t see the point of expending the energy, y’know?] With a solid year under my belt, I can plainly tell this is not a place for me to thrive. I like the city because I like people; I like the city far less over time when I realize its residents’ favorite past-times include excess for the sake of excess.
Again this is not totally fair and there is still digging to be done on my part, as with accessing anything of substance in life. Which I will do with my remaining time here…because I have set a timetable, and it’s already giving me peace of mind.
In about 5 weeks I’ll be turning twenty-six; an incumbent birthday is as good a jumping off point as any.
So. Barring any major changes personally, or within the makeup of my destinations, here is a rough outline of where I plan to be.
By age twenty-eight, find myself landing softly in Brooklyn.
Age thirty-one, see me take flight for Denver.
…and we’ll go from there! But yes basically I think I need a minimum of two more years’ time to gather both the necessary work experience, and savings, for a personally/professionally comfortable move into New York.
Keeping my fingers crossed that Brooklyn doesn’t feel too much like the place I’ve left by the time I’m ready to leave it…because it’s certainly starting to look like it could. #gentrification
Either way, I think rounding out my 20’s in BK for 3 years has a nice ring to it. Give myself a year or so victory lap at age 30 for the East Coast life, then see what the West has to offer for my third decade on earth.
Denver will probably look very different 5 years from now, too. The cities I’ve chosen may be hot at the moment, but played out by the time I’m ready for them. I’m all for jumping ship sooner, but unless I can somehow lock down a seriously bedrock gig, I’m just not willing to head back into the world of wage labor with it so fresh in my rearview. This may simply mean conducting a little fieldwork before deciding on a true settlement path; there are cities out there aside from the ones I’ve visited, you know.
I do like the fluidity of being “early” in my professional career, though. Still sussing out what line of earning will make me happiest, but I do know I want it to allow me to creatively utilize my gift for communicative thought. Which is especially why I want to let my current job breathe, for years more even: to flesh out those skills. Which I will do with my remaining time here.
As will I not just count the hours until I’m nearing that point. Giving myself a timeline will also allow me a framework of local goals to set, that make sense and can be finite & accomplished. Just spitballing but let’s say: learn to sail a boat. Become a marathon runner. Attend yoga classes regularly. Hone my extracurriculars, both the academic (reading; writing) and the recreational (music production; graphic design). Boxing lessons? Learn a new language? If I spend the next two years focusing on even just a few of the aforementioned, that still may be too many things in too short a frame to truly excel at any of them.
Do I have the guts to adhere to this planned trajectory?
Tune in all this life to find out.
Focus on the bright side.