There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. -- William Shakespeare

 





   +
Mark

Some people were just not built to participate in this crazy world according to the script, and I think I’m one of those people. 

Some of these sorts of people were maybe raised in a suburban home but always felt drawn to the forest and spent their time as a child learning the ways of Indians who lived here before us, and how to survive in the woods, and didn’t do well in school, and ended up becoming a mountain man. 

Or maybe some of these people couldn’t help but spend all their time growing up on the ocean, they became enthralled with the ocean, and they became obsessed over time with all the different parts of it, and learned to scuba dive and got a degree in biology and now spend all their time filming and working hard to protect the oceans. 

Me – I’m not as outdoorsy as folks like these. But I feel like my spirit has something in common – not really able to be contained in the small confines of modern society. My soul yearns for something more – more freedom. I’m not okay with living the life that most Americans live, and I don’t want to participate in their modern social games. None of it comes naturally to me, it hardly even makes sense – and trying to fit myself into their confines, trying to shape myself into a character that can play their game, is killing me inside. 

I need to forge my own path. 

 

I met up with a friend last week for dinner, I’m not sure if I already wrote about this – 

But she’s one of the most driven, most intelligent young women I’ve ever known. She asks big questions like I do, that’s sort of how we connected. But she’s way more outgoing than me. But like me – she’s not interested in participating. She’s about to graduate soon from college (she’s way younger than me – just 22) and we talked about how she’s been having a hard time find a job, and hates even looking for jobs or playing the whole job-search-interview game at all. We commiserated with her on this whole thing. She brought up that she’s been working on these ideas for side jobs she can do, but she doesn’t talk to people about them because she feels like they’ll judge her because they’re too silly or not real jobs. Like selling goods on Amazon, or starting a YouTube channel for kids (she has a 21 month old baby boy). We talked about these ideas and they all sounded great to me, I encouraged her to pursue them while she has the opportunity. She’s already completed some amazing projects while in school for film. She knows she’ll have a hard time seriously finding a job doing what she truly wants to do, so she has to figure out a way to forge her own path. I told her I’m sort of in the same spot – except I’m slightly less clear on exactly what it is I want to do. We both agreed we just don’t want to work for other people. 

 

And it seems like a lot of people feel that way in my generation. It seems like all the friends I grew up with have these really creative or independent things going on in their life now. One of my closest friends during middle school and high school is now an artist (BA in Fine Art, and started her Masters) – she has her own gallery shows sometimes and her own studio, but to make money she mostly just does painting classes – you know the ones, like Vino Van Gogh, that sort of thing. Another friend became a middle school art teacher. Another friend (BA in Religious Studies) now has her own Etsy shop where she makes her own pins and patches and sells them. Another friend went to school for photography and is doing very well shooting commercial photography in LA. Another one (went to school part-time for music production) ended up working as a bar tender for 8 years and bought herself a brand new car, bought a house with her boyfriend, etc. and just had a baby recently, now she stays at home and she seems extremely happy with her life. Another one (BS in psychology, working on a Masters now) works at a restaurant and plays in a mildly successful (and pretty good sounding if you ask me) punk band. My one friend that seems to not have done much is a friend who wasn’t very creative anyway – she started a degree in marine biology, then switched to Sociology. I’m actually not exactly sure what she’s doing at the moment, but last I knew she was working two jobs and trying to help support her family. And my only other friend I know who might not be doing as well was my best friend from 5th grade to high school, she tried modeling for a while but honestly wasn’t cut out for that, then she worked for a long time at her mom’s marketing business. I think she works a similar job at a different company now. She was always the smartest kid in class, got perfect grades, etc. and started college for mechanical engineering. I’m not sure why she never finished, but she didn’t. Probably partly because it was too much pressure and she wasn’t really following her heart – she was really smart, sure, but there’s more to a person than that. 

 

We’ve all had it rough. But my point is, this is basically the majority of the people I knew growing up. They’re all successful by my book, but their lives look different than our parent’s lives. They’re not married (except the Fine Arts major artist is getting married in August), or they don’t have a big job with a major company, or they’re struggling to make ends meet but happy, or they’re having to live with room mates just to get by. When by our age our parents had their own home and a family of their own. We aren’t doing that shit. And that’s fine. 

 

That’s fine, but it doesn’t take away the difficult parts of forging this path. We’re a new generation of Americans re-defining adulthood in America. It’s been re-defined before, but usually based on the framework from before. But we’re sort of… throwing the framework out the window, in a lot of ways. 

 

I’m just trying to make myself feel better about being where I am. The world is different. Things are shifting. And we are that shift. When things shift, stuff can get lost or confusing or whatever. I just need to stop trying to fit myself into the old mold, and be brave enough, like some of my old friends have been, to take a chance, and make a move. To make my own mark. 

 

A toast to all these brave souls… 

 

 

 

 

 
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