It’s been a weird couple of days.
This period, I never saw it coming, the nothingness that lies between the end of exams, results and graduation. I thought it would just pass by in a blur of parties and dinners and happiness (I failed to account for how much all of these things cost), but it hasn’t. Instead it’s been a slow, protracted, maudlin trudge through saying goodbye to my friends and realising that I actually have to start thinking about life after university.
It’s been the highs of Gradball followed by the lulls of wasting days watching shit on youtube and eating far more egg custard tarts than is healthy, the joys of seeing old friends tempered by the sad knowledge that I genuinely don’t know when I’ll see them again.
It’s gotten to the stage where I am now; sitting on a sofa in an empty house in Selly Oak, the rain pouring down outside, Godspeed You! Black Emperor playing in the background, sipping a glass of Johnnie Walker Black on the rocks and staring out of the window like I’m in some sort of sad black and white French film.
It fucking sucks.
But, and as with everything that sucks, it is something that is necessary. And so in the grand Angry Indian tradition, in a style honed and gratingly overused over the past few years, let us delve long, deep, hard, and aimlessly into the depths. Onwards.
What does the future hold? What do I want to become? Where do I see myself in five years? What is it that makes me me?
I hate those questions, I hate them. They aren’t just questions, they’re almost philosophical treatises, and they come laden with so much baggage that they’ve inspired countless books and films, fiction and non-fiction, with and without Julia Roberts. I hate them because they are so inextricably linked to all those stories of people travelling abroad to somewhere exotic and “finding themselves,” of a chance encounter that has led to some amazing career that provides a whole instagram feed’s worth of food porn, of those annoyingly chipper blonde girls you meet on a night out who went to Bali for a year and “it like totally” changed their perspective on everything, of those Facebook posts your relatives share with a caption that is almost achingly cliched in its description of the world as some amazing beautiful place that is just waiting to be discovered and wants to give you everything.
That isn’t to say that the world isn’t amazing and beautiful and offers you a lot, it does, every person will find beauty and opportunity in something, so don’t take that previous ramble as some pessimistic diatribe about how nothing has any meaning and everything is pointless (though Morty may beg to differ: Rick and Morty being super on point).
It is however a thought that has been playing on my mind more and more as these post-uni days go by, what is my amazing beautiful opportunity? Where is it? When will I find it? Which school of thought is right, the idea that opportunity will find you when the time is right or the idea that you have to go out and find it?
The answer is obvious of course, to me anyway, you have to go out and find it. Opportunities, as they say, are for the taking, so you have to go out there and take them. I was at an event in London recently, City Law for Ethnic Minorities, and the first speaker of the day was a partner at the host firm who went into full on Jordan Belfort mode, standing in front of a room full of aspiring lawyers and proclaiming without a trace of irony or cynicism that “If there’s an opening for one position, and there are a hundred applicants, say to yourself ‘Why can’t I be that one person?'”
At any other point in my life up until now I would have laughed, I would have shaken my head and called him a fucking moron under my breath and pocketed as many free pens as I could. But strangely I didn’t, in fact I found myself almost drawn in by his pseudo-motivational speaker routine. Why can’t I be that person?
Also I only took one free pen.
Realistically of course, and I do consider myself a realist instead of a pessimist (there is some water in a glass guys, stop fighting), there are many factors at play. When it comes time to apply for masters or jobs I am going to be competing with a great many others, and it is up to the people sorting the applications to deem whether my grades are as good as someone else’s, or my work experience, or my letter of motivation, whether the answers I gave to the interviewer made me stand out, all of those things and many more can, and I imagine will, at some point keep me from being that one candidate.
But in my mind, and for me and others like me, this isn’t a question of capability or merit, I believe it stems from something deeper. I think you don’t just have to think of yourself as that one candidate, you have to want it. You have to truly want something in order to push yourself enough to achieve it.
I’ve wanted things in the past, I wanted to be a good guitar player so I pushed myself to drive to my Grade 8 exam the morning after our Year 13 Prom and played my heart out, and it paid off. I wanted to go to a good university, so I worked as hard as a I could at A level, and it paid off. But now? Now it feels a bit different.
If I subscribe to my own theory that you have to truly want something to attain it, then current Srikar is in a bit of a pickle. He doesn’t seem to want anything. Sure there are material things I want, I still want to own a Gibson someday, I want a nice watch, I’d love a fast German car of some sort, I want to keep growing my vinyl collection, but these are all surface level things.
The real issue is what I want to do and achieve long term in order to get to the stage where I can feasibly attain those things, and it’s something that a lot of people in this post-uni phase will surely be thinking about.
What do we truly want? There’s a lot of talk these days about “millennials” (another term I despise) and how they’re destined to be forever bouncing between jobs, always renting and never owning, doomed to ride out the tech bubble until it either bursts or someone fucks up and creates Skynet at which point it won’t really matter what your hopes and dreams are because you gon’ get blasted to shreds by a T-800. Then again I know a fair few people, and statistically speaking there will be quite a lot, who know exactly what they want to do and know exactly how to get there. These are, as I wrote in my New Years resolutions post a couple of years ago (for my long term fans), people I truly admire, with a single minded focus and drive to go after what they want and get it.
Now, as for me and the rest of us who don’t really know what they want to do? Are we forever fated to walk the Earth as layabout millennials? Are we going to pretend like “blogger” or “vlogger” or “social media consultant” are genuine occupations? Have the dreams of being a barrister been slowly replaced by the reality of being a barista? Sorry, I thought of that line at the start and just had to shoehorn it in somewhere. Badum tshhhhhhh.
Or have I been going about this completely the wrong way. Maybe, now isn’t the time to be figuring out what you want and who you are and all the rest, maybe that time comes later. Maybe that time never comes at all, when you truly know yourself and your ambitions, when you can truly claim to be content with all you have and all you’ve achieved.
We humans are creatures of want, the vast majority of us are constantly lusting after someone or something, maybe not to fill some cliched hole in the heart but to provide a temporary respite from the grind of the day to day. In this cycle of constant want can we ever really claim to know what we want and how to get it when what we want is always changing, always being replaced by something else, forever beyond our reach.
Sorry, this is exactly what I feared would happen. As I wrote at the start, I’m sitting in a house in Selly Oak, alone, as it rains outside, listening to Godspeed You! Black Emperor and imagining myself in a sad, black and white French movie.
I know it isn’t exactly The 400 Blows, hell it’s barely Taxi 2, but this is absolutely, unironically, uncynically, unprickishly what I think.
I don’t know who I am right now, I don’t really know what I want, but I can’t wait to find out.
xoxo, The Angry “I Don’t Know If I’m Even Angry or Indian Anymore” Indian