A few days ago I was driving in to work at the crack of dadgum dawn, when it hit me:
THIS IS MY LIFE NOW.
It was surreal, and depressing, to face the day like that, just exactly as I’d faced the day before it and the day before that. And the same way I would be facing the next day. Every day for five days a week. For the rest of my life.
In a flash I saw those days stretched out like the long flat road before me, lined up in a row from midnight to noon, noon until midnight, over and over and over. I wake, I drive, I work, I drive, I sleep. I wake.
I think the catalyst for this particular crisis comes, if you can believe it, from finally being done with school. I never thought I’d say it (Heaven knows I never thought I’d say it), but in some ways I do actually miss it. I miss the deadlines, the goals, the lights at the end of the tunnel. The something to shoot for. I cannot remember a time I wasn’t in school or preparing to be in school. My entire conscious life has centred around it and solely it. My days, my years were broken into semester-long portions, each one its own mountain with final exams the summit and holidays the descent.
It was stressful, yes. But it was also satisfying. I was always on the brink of some great accomplishment—some exam aced, some essay nailed. School was me. I was school. Together, we worked.
But now? Now it’s different. Unsettling. Now my life is divided into those traditional eight-hour units: sleep, work, leisure (though truthfully my leisure time is more like three or four hours).
I appreciate the fact that I’m making money now instead of burning through it with tuition fees. I respect that for the first time in my life I’m doing it—I’m really doing it: I’m working the 8 to 5, holding down a job, answering to superiors, pitching my ideas.
But at the same time I can’t seem to shake this underlying belligerence toward my new reality, like I shouldn’t just meekly accept my fate; like I should fight it or something. Stand up to The Man, embrace my inner bohemian and stick it to them all. But what’s there to fight, really? This is just what everybody does, right? Go to school, graduate; get a job, make money; live, die.
What’s the point of fighting it?
I’m sure you find this all annoying. Like, can’t she ever be happy with anything? She hated school when she was in it, thought of nothing else but finally getting out of there, and now here she is just months after the conclusion of her final class waxing all sentimental about those glory days. I don’t blame you. I’m even annoying myself.