What now?

I recently achieved yet another milestone in my life. I have hit many milestones in my life; nothing spectacular, just the usual milestones everyone hits. What is so different about this one is that there is nothing after it.

Rather than be excited or relieved, I feel empty. Emptiness brought on uncertainty about what to do next; uncertainty brought on by a lack of plans; lack of plans brought on by lack of planning; lack of planning brought on procrastination; procrastination brought on by laziness; laziness brought on by being too comfortable without even knowing it. There was simply no fire under my bum (or whatever the saying is.)

Most of life is routine and planned out in stages. For me it is primary school-secondary school- university undergrad-postgrad. Up till now there has always been something else coming up after a milestone. I never had to worry about what to do next because it was all set out for me.

Now I have reached the end of this road and all that lies before me is a wide expanse of nothing. For the first time ever, I am beginning to panic.

Further education is out of it; I have not done anything tangible with the decades of education I have acquired thus far. The obvious next step is to get a job, and maybe if I had one I would be more at ease. Having a job and earning money are the first steps to my becoming an adult. It is impossible to be independent without money. It costs money to be free.

Every time I write a cover letter, and I have sent out a lot, I start to wonder: what is this really for for? Am I really hustling and jostling for a chance to join the rat race? I am here hoping, praying, wishing that I am given the opportunity to work myself half to death for little satisfaction. Do I really want this life?

Previously, when people in films talked about finding themselves, I rolled my eyes so deeply I could taste them in my throat. What hogwash! Find yourself? But you are right there what’s else are you looking for ha ha ha.

I have lived and I have learned and I have now realised how important-necessary even-it is to find yourself: to know the person you are now and the person you would like to be; what you like and what you don’t; things you will accept and things you will not; what it is you want out of life, and how you are going to get them.

A few Sylvia Plath quotes have been in my head lately:

“If only I knew what I wanted I could try to see about getting it.”

What horrifies me most is the idea of being useless: well-educated, brilliantly promising, and fading out into an indifferent middle age.

What is my life for and what am I going to do with it? I don’t know and i am afraid.

I do not know who I am, where I am going- and I am the one who has to decide the answers to these hideous questions.

I do not know what I want from life. I have never given it much thought. When people ask about my dream man or dream wedding, I never have anything to say, because I have never pictured a dream man or wedding. I was also never bothered about this. There is no big deal in not fantasising about a wedding.

Now I realise that I have not thought about anything; I have no dream job, no dream house, no dream life, nothing. All I know is that I want to be happy, but I have not given any thought to what things will make me happy. So far my method of adulting is just taking each day as it comes and letting the universe take care of things. Unfortunately life has outgrown this.

How did I decide on what to study for my undergraduate degree? I went through the list of courses that were offered at the school I was applying to, and just picked one. Fortunately for me I ended up liking it and I did reasonably well. Let this not be mistaken for spontaneity, because boy oh girl I am so not.

Every time I apply to a job, I feel a twinge of nervousness. Not just because I know they won’t get back to me, but because I’m afraid they will. Strangely the thought of getting the job scares me a little. What if I am not qualified? Everyone else will probably be smarter than I am, with degrees from schools more prestigious than mine. What if I am unable to keep up and I am found out for the fraud that I am?

What sort of a life do I want? My perpetual answer to this question and other variations of “what do I want?” is I just want to be happy and stress free. For most of my life I have been stress-free, I don’t go looking for it and it doesn’t come looking for me. I have even bypassed all the things people get into in the normal course of life; things that bring great pleasure but also have the potential to cause great pain and distress. I have avoided the stress but by doing so also avoided the pleasure. This reminds me of Nietzsche’s assertion that pain and pleasure are twins; we cannot have one without the other.

Perhaps I need some stress in my life. I need to go out and have experiences (even as I type this I know I won’t). Maybe then I can begin to discover myself, I don’t think I will be revealed unto myself while in bed watching yet another show on Netflix {with Microsoft word open in the background, housing the skeletal outline of the stories I started ages ago and always mean to continue.} I have become aware of all that I have taken for granted and I can no longer continue to coast through life, unfortunately.

Who am I? What do I want? What do I want to do with my life?

These are the questions.

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