Rarely do I make my dad say “Wowwwww” without having made reference to some Princeton-related or -inspired incident, such as running into Forest Whittaker or the array of mouth-watering options my eating club had for dinner, but I elicited such a response from him on Saturday when I was talking about the jobs I’ve been applying to. He was shocked that it’s job-application season already, and asked whether I was just getting a head start–I had to tell him that no, I actually came into the game pretty late, and there were some deadlines that had passed before I even started looking. Then I started getting into the specifics of three places I’ve applied so far, and when I told him about how these were “real-people jobs” with salaries and benefits and vacation packages, he couldn’t handle it. Seeing my senior portraits was one thing, but considering things like health insurance and paid time off made my impending graduation seem concrete for him, finally.
I spend sooooo much time right now thinking about the future. I suppose that, on the surface, doing these job and fellowship applications isn’t incredibly different from the internship and research program applications I filled out sophomore and junior years, but symbolically, these have so much more weight. Those applications were to find something to do with my summer; these are to find something to do with my LIFE next year or (most likely) two before going to grad school. Shit’s important. And I’m putting a lot more thought into it; paying close attention to descriptions and seeing not only whether I can visualize myself in a certain environment performing certain tasks, but also whether I can visualize myself enjoying such a life. I’m cutting the bullshit and not applying to positions that don’t meet my standards. I’m searching more comprehensively and casting my net more broadly than ever before. Basically, something’s wrong if I go a day without doing something that’s ostensibly for 7 months from now, at the earliest, and I’m finding it easier to put effort into these things than into, say, my reading on ethnic antagonism in Yugoslavia for my Race and Ethnicity class.
One of my favorite blogs, The Write Curl Diary, posted the following quote today:
I must remember to be creative in my search. I must be proactive. I must keep myself open to the possibility of possibilities in unexpected places. I’m playing a grown-up version of hide and seek, and I’m not going to find anything if I keep looking only in the most obvious and/or traditional of hiding places.
|This has been my desktop background for the past week or so. Now is the latter time.|
And I’m not the only person who feels this way, it seems. I was chatting with a friend on Facebook earlier, and when I asked him what was new in his life, he said it was all about the hustle, trying to go out and get “it”. It’s another friend’s birthday, and instead of posting a status about how he’s tearing up Hong Kong, he just posted this:
“Now is the time to capture the future.”
Kudos to him, I thought. What a great thought-scape upon which to construct the next year of one’s life.
But then I remembered high school. Particularly my junior and senior years of high school, which arguably revolved almost solely around capturing the future. I remembered the clubs I participated in/ran without actually enjoying, the parties I didn’t go to, the relationships I didn’t have, all because (I’m over-simplifying here, but go with me) I was too stuck on tomorrow to remember to give a shit about today.
So while I’m chasing opportunity and sowing all these unpredictable little seeds of possibility, I must remember to concern myself with the present with as much vigor as I concern myself with the future. I can be neither fulfilled nor prepared until I find an appropriate balance.