Sunday, March 20, 2011

I Should Be Sleeping

I really should be sleeping, but I feel way too restless...
...not just in a "I can't sleep!" sort of way, but also a "what should I do with my life?" sort of sense.

Things have changed a lot.

For one, I am most likely not returning to college.
Before you judge me and label me as a college dropout, that's really not the case.
Originally, I left college because of my anemia and planned to return once I got better. It took about a month for me to realize that I really didn't want to go back. It wasn't that I wanted to laze around at home all day and leech off of my parents. It was that I really wasn't me anymore, and I wasn't truly happy.
Let's face it... School is one extremely long journey that ultimately leads to a college degree.
Not a job... a degree. The degree is a tool that is used to get a job, and usually you get a degree so you can get the job of your choosing.
The thing is, college only complicated my ideas of the future instead of condensing it into a decision.
I really became lost in all the possibilities, and though some classes were incredibly enjoyable, others were pain-staking and annoying. All of the work and stress really made me wonder what I was really working for.

The truth is, I don't know what I want to major in.
I don't know what kind of job I want.
I don't know what I'd like to train to become, and I don't know what I want to spend the rest of my life doing.
Stress to do well, stress due to my health, stress of the future... it all adds up.
It also really detracted from my life.

Without college, I realized, I was nothing.
I was nothing but a student, but when that's stripped away, I'm nobody.
I don't have any real hobbies, goals, ambitions, or anything else.
My one goal in life was only to graduate college for a degree... but that's an empty goal, and that's really no way to live.

Taking this time to recover from my health issues has really helped me realize what in life I actually value.
With all the stress from college gone, I've gotten a lot more in tune with what I actually want in life as well... not just what is wanted from me.
I've come to the conclusion that I want to get a real job. I want to have something to be proud of, I want to bring home a paycheck. I want the satisfaction of knowing that I am capable of doing something out in the real world.
I want to further expand my art. Since my recovery from depression almost 3 years back, I've barely drawn anything, let alone actually worked on art. Of course, I've done some polymer clay work for Etsy, but definitely not enough. I want to try to get back into drawing, digital art, maybe even perler beads... those look like a lot of fun. Either way, I want to produce. I want to share my work, sell my work, whatever. As long as it isn't just sitting in my mind somewhere, that's fine with me.

Do I really want to never go back to college?
No, not really.
I'd like to go back someday. My credits are good for the next 8 years, so there's always the option to go back.
For now though, I feel like I need to prove to myself that I can self-provide and that I'm capable of... well, living.
I need the success that I stressed so much over... because honestly, it's 4 years to get a degree, and that's kind of disheartening and discouraging at times. But a week for a paycheck... that's almost instant gratification in comparison, and right now I need that.

So why am I so restless?
I'm brainstorming all of these things I should do.
I want to try out perler bead art.
I'm thinking of all the things I can draw when I get my new tablet.
I'm planning new things to make out of clay.
I'm mulling over job possibilities.

Now that I've written this though, I'm finally getting sleepy...
That's a good thing, I think.


  1. For where and when we grew up, college tends to be something that we are assuming we "should" do. You go to high school, you go to college, you get an entry level job, two or three years later you get a slightly better job. Maybe five more years down the line, you're steadily on your way to a six-figure paycheck. Maybe another ten years later you're there. Work another thirty years and maybe you can retire.

    It's not very invigorating to look at, but it's the reality that a lot of folks agreed to face upon graduating high school. One of my regrets in high school is that I never considered alternative means of living.

    My stepmother, back then, suggested I take classes at a community college for a year or two while working part-time so I could really figure out what it is I want to do with my life. Post-school, your career can become the main thing that defines you. So its worth figuring out what you want to do.

    On the other hand, a degree is just a piece of paper that proves you are capable of a certain amount of work. And many majors are flexible enough that the skills you learn in your classes can be transferred into many different jobs. You don't have to pick a career straight out of school.

    Think of it like a "choose your own adventure" story. There are benefits to either side in terms of self-assurance, confidence, paychecks, and fulfillment (just to name a few). Luckily, neither will end up in you being eaten by a wild dog while climbing a 200-ft cliff in a hunt for big foot!

    Just one thing to remember: setting out a path for yourself is a huge commitment. And the enemy of progress is being lax and passive. Especially if you pursue artistic endeavors, it's easy to lose track of goals or a schedule when left your own devices. Your restlessness is good, don't let that go. Surround yourself with artists of varying styles and let their energy feed you. I'm fortunate that my housemates are also musicians, it keeps us all exhausted (lots of late nights!), but on our toes. If you ever need inspiration, feel free to come to our little artist commune - it's only a city away.

    tl;dr: No matter what you choose to do with your life, you probably won't get eaten by a rabid dog

  2. Wow, thank you for your comment, it's really appreciated :]
    You've summed up my thoughts exactly... College hasn't given me the sense of fulfillment that I feel I need to be happy and satisfied with my life. Though it does have its benefits, I feel like my motivation to get a degree has run dry. I think I need a taste of the real world to get a better sense of where I want to go in life.

    I'm not exactly sure what I want to start with. I know I would love to start being more serious about art, but I know that as a career path, it's extremely tough... the expression "starving artist" exists for a reason. :P I've been looking at some job listings and have been really interested in quite a few of them. I know that I'm far away from choosing a concrete career path, but I think it's important to get a job and be able to explore my options.

    I guess what's most important to me right now is enjoying my life and being happy with what I am accomplishing. It's a feeling that was definitely hard to come by in college, so I'm hoping that I'll find it elsewhere. :]

  3. I think you'll be able to find something that suits you! Recently, I'm starting to think that "happiness" is not the thing to seek. Rather, look for the thing that you are so committed to that you will be willing to push on despite any sucky times.

    True story about the "starving artist" thing. Luckily, my "regular" jobs afford me enough time to make music. As it is for my housemates as well. Whether or not we actually make money off of music isn't really important to us so we can really enjoy it for - what I see - the "right" reasons.

    "Explore your options" is a great way to put it and exactly what I'm doing now. If you look at my recent post, I have three jobs now and am looking for a fourth for the summer. I don't know if I will stay with any of them permanently, but I am enjoying all of them and testing the water for what I'd like to continue with in the future.

  4. Yeah I didn't mean that happiness is the only thing I'm seeking... more a sense of fulfillment and contentment with my place in the world. Even if that means job hopping, I'm fine with that.

    I've definitely come to realize that art isn't something to quit your day job over, haha. I'm not giving it up, rather keeping it as a hobby. It's fun and makes me feel productive, and if I can sell a few pieces then that's even better. Selling them isn't my main goal though, it's the process of creation that I really like. :]

    I agree with that idea. I don't want to be stuck in a "career" mindset. Maybe someday I'll find something to stick to, but I want to try out a lot of different jobs and see what I really love and would like to continue in the future.
    And wow, you're going vegan? That's a tough commitment!
    Does the alarm 3 hours before you wake up thing really work? I find it frustrating that I don't remember my dreams very well in the morning.

  5. Job hopping can actually be very fun. For me, it's great because I don't end up getting burned out on any of my jobs. And I get to experience a lot in a short amount of time and see what I do and do not like.

    Creation is probably my favorite part of making music. And recently, I've started to realize how great it is to look back on stuff I've made and see how it reflected how I felt at a certain point in my life. Which is very cool.

    I am going to _try_ going vegan. Right now I'm doing half the week vegan and half vegetarian and hopefully I'll incorporate it more and more into my life as my body adjusts. And after I do some research on the vitamins/nutrients I'm going to need to supplement.

    And yes! The alarm thing has actually been working amazingly! I have remembered at least parts of my dreams every night for the past few weeks actually. Some more vividly than others. Just be sure to write them down-- for the most part the dreams still fade from your memory pretty fast after waking up, so keep a pen and paper next to your bed so you can jot down what you remember immediately.