I am scared out of my mind right now (and I understand that it’s just for right now). The future is this terrifying thing looming over me. The future has always been some abstract to me. Being in high school, the future was almost unimaginable. I could barely think beyond the next day and any idea about the next 10 years was as outlandish as a fairy tale.
After graduating from high school, I decided playing music would be more fun than college. Maybe I was right, but it also provides even less stability than an art degree. Being a drummer is about the most useless position for a musician. Yes, we’re necessary but try to tour as a singer/songwriter sitting behind a drumset (actually might be interesting but difficult to bring in a healthy crowd). So when my joke of a band broke up, the future finally showed it’s ugly head for the first time in concrete terms. I had no hope and no future and was maybe more scared than I am now. (though you might chalk that up to being in a terrible depression that had lasted for about two years and was frequently suggesting suicide as a viable solution to life’s woes.) but even then I was never really scared of day to day life. I was still young, barely out of the teens and had a long time to figure my little head out. I knew this, even as I was deciding the best way to kill myself and send a good message. I still lived at home and had at least one meal a day covered by my parents, and I’m not a fan of eating anyway, as long as I had enough to live. As worried as I was about the future I could still occupy my mind with relationships, both romantic and nonfucking types. (Sorry is fuck to harsh after reading about suicide?) Pretty girls still distracted me enough that my worries could be put to the side while I worked my nerdy-loser magic. The smile from an interested girl was enough to get me to tomorrow and make me forget about how I’d be able to consistently obtain food as a 37 year old. The answer wasn’t drumming. And it seemed like I was a little late for the Beat Generation. A shame because I thought hitchhiking and sexually promiscuity was my speciality. And I couldn’t wait for the drugs!
But all that fell away. I aged gracefully. Sorted myself out and went to school. Nothing like being 4 years older than everyone around you to feel like an exceptional fuck up. Too many years later, here I emerge with a degree somewhere in the mail or at the administrative offices or whatever, wondering what the fuck I should do now. I actually have to sort out some details at my university and see if they’ll give me an additional minor degree. I think I deserve it, but you know administrative people. Bunch of soulless assholes. (Apologies if you work in the field, I’m sure you’re an exception, naturally.)
The plan is simple enough. Take a year off to work in a lab. Any lab, really. Doing anything. I just need some experience and some references for when I apply to grad school. Then I can put off being an adult for another 5+ years. And whatever being an adult means, if it was measured by the amount of stress and work you do, every kid majoring in a science or engineering or mathematics should be considered an adult. But I use it to mean, being a member of the world outside the walls of academia. That’s what I am right now. Wandering aimlessly through the halls of society. Curious as to how all these things work. Does a term with over 12 hours of lab work a week count for anything here? Nope. What about three such terms? Didn’t think so.
But that’s alright. I just need to get used to the idea of not having classes to attend everyday. Not having term papers and midterms. No lab reports or research. And no finals. The first time in 5 years. Of course it’ll be hard to adjust. But facing this real world head on is more overwhelming than I anticipated. I’m not sure I had admitted it to myself until now. Sure, I knew how scared I was and why, but I hadn’t verbalized (does that include writing? Writalized) it.
I haven’t filled out in as many applications as I should have done. I haven’t been as active looking for a lab position as I should. I know. I don’t want to be old. And that’s it really. Maybe. I don’t know. But the longer I stall the more time I have to feel like I’m still a kid. I still have all sorts of possibilities even though I’m not interested in most of them. I just want them to be there like comforting little stuffed animals. Or if I was more grown up, comfortable pillows. The longer I stall the more time I get to be the person I’m used to being.
It’s just another step and there will be plenty more, if I’m lucky. But I can barely lift my foot right now. Hopefully just for right now.