Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thnks Fr Th Mmrs*

I've been insanely busy for the past week or so, averaging more than an interview a day, blowing my meagre money on people's birthdays and drunkenly falling asleep and leaving my phone on the night bus. Yup, I'm that cool.

During one of said interviews, I was given 30 minutes and an article to précis and add my own thoughts and 'commercial awareness' (one of those very management-speak phrases for 'actually reads the newspaper and isn't a socially-retarded hermit').  Not to be too immodest but I find those sorts of things fairly simple which meant after triple-checking what I had written I had some 15 minutes to play with, and after texting someone with plans to meet for lunch after, I ended up idly flipping through my old texts. This being my replacement phone due to aforementioned Sambuca aftermath, these were very old texts, ones I had received during my China trips in 2008.

This was a very surreal experience: I am not often prone to such self-indulgent delving into reminiscent revelry, least of all during an interview, but I was running at least mostly on caffeine and this was the final stage of the interview at any rate. But there were enclosed in those texts plans to meet up at our old haunts, texts from a short term flame, emotional outbursts from my homesick counterparts.

For a brief moment, if only a couple of minutes, I was back there. I wasn't a bored suit in a pokey conference room in central London, I was a fish out of water experiencing southern China.

As I mentioned at the top, I have been attending shedload of interviews, which brings as part and parcel of the process a shedload of questions about myself and my past. Now, I am not one of those interview machines: you know the type, the type of people who wouldn't get ripped into by Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross (can you tell I finally got around to watching the Oscars?), the type of people who get coffee and steak knives. I'm very realistic about my shortcomings and hesitate to emphasise my meagre strengths. So whether or not they find my honesty refreshing or endearing I told them that in real terms I am something of a blank canvas career-wise, having been in no role for longer than four months, only a handful of letters to my name and the ability to manipulate words. Which is fine, I have been through four years of higher education and taken a year out.

Some would find it depressing that at the age of twenty-three I have condensed my life into a curriculum vitae, that it so readily fits into two sides of A4. But that is not all I have been doing with my life. If by some misfortune (knock on wood a thousand times over!) my life was to end tomorrow that would not be what I remember. I would remember the people, the sensations and most importantly the memories. The time I literally laughed so hard I fell off a bar stool. That time my friend slipped over the same bit of banana peel thrice in one day. The book I read on the beach that almost drove me to tears. Sitting on a balcony with an ex as the sun rose on a morning after. A laughter of hundreds of children. Sweating with hundreds of others at a massive outdoor Muse concert.

I have not made it much of a secret that for a while now I've been hitting my quarter life, post-grad crisis stage. When you hit a wall in that x-year-plan you set for yourself it is all too easy to question things, the reasons why, the very existentialist crisis that has plagued greater minds than mine for centuries. (FYI, try a bit of Kierkegaard, it'll blow your mind hole. Screw the more depressing guys.)

To be flippant, minimalist and peppy, maybe this is the big 'Why?' The pursuit of great memories, and the creation of those instances for you and your loved ones. The creation of a flipbook of life-defining moments that exist like a imprint on our souls and that have lead us to where we are today. Not just the 'Kodak moments' mind you, 2-D photography can be manufactured, heck, make great friends with James Cameron and WETA and you might even be able to swing it in 3-D (oh yes, I'm all current and whatnot) but the memories, laden with the way the moments made you feel. If the human soul exists, intangible as it is, surely it is expressed in empathy and emotions, enhancing our experience of the present beyond recordable media and colouring our recollection of the past.

So I implore you (and myself) not to get too caught up in the long term. Obviously as mature adults it is important to always have one eye on the future, but this should not be at the risk of the present. A life not enjoyed and lived is one diminished and wasted. What will you remember when you think back on what you have done?

*Because my mind inexplicably turns phrases (all the time) and goes on tangents, when I thought of this concept, I thought of this song and the post title. And because in a really perverse way I find some of Fall Out Boy's stuff pretty catchy.

Also I'll try to write better soon when I'm not running on fumes but it's been a while since I have written 'for me'!

12 Response to Thnks Fr Th Mmrs*

11 March 2010 at 04:24

I do love your blog. You do such a great job of poking around my brain and bringing out questions and issues and manage not to have a holier-than-thou attitude about it.

And Fall Out Boy did have their moments.

11 March 2010 at 04:47

I try not to think too much in the future and live in the present. It's hard! Oh, and I love Fall Out Boy... I've actually recently listened to this album after haven't listening to it in years. Listened to it while I was listening to Panic (which I posted on my blog). I can never listen to one band and not the other!

11 March 2010 at 13:58

Have I told you lately what a fabulous writer you are? And how I wish we were RL friends? Because I'm sure we'd have infinite discussions on bar stools (possibly even falling off) about this sort of thing. I definitely think there's something to be said for "quarter life crises" - I feel this way sometimes, heck, more often lately with the vast chasm of uncertainty ahead of me regarding work, wondering what there really is to life, at the end of the day. It's not the possessions nor the job you did for 2 years sitting behind a screen entering numbers. It's the memories, you're entirely right, and I guess there's something to be said for having a certain amount of control over what you want your life to look like in retrospect. Which kind of made me feel like getting my arse in gear this morning - not going to lie, I've been a miserable cow since Monday when I was told about my job. But I have another 3 weeks to and I don't want to look back and think Christ, there's a month I'm never going to get back. So thank you for inspiring me this morning :)

11 March 2010 at 19:18

As a generally nostalgic person, I can definitely jump on the bandwagon of appreciating where we've been. I agree that it's important not to get too wrapped up in the future and the 'what could be' because things change so quickly. We could get bogged down on a path that we don't even like anymore if we don't seriously evaluate where we've been while simultaneously living in the moment as much as possible. I loved this post! Keep it up :)

12 March 2010 at 02:46

Stephen K,

I absolutely love this. Way to make me think!! You are so right, I need to stop worrying so much about the long term and focus on the people that I have in my life.. This is great.


Hannah Katy

13 March 2010 at 00:04

I love the way you write. I didnt even know you were in your twenties, you look so young. I really wish you the best in whatever you choose to do :)

P.S I changed my blogs URL recently, just thought I'd let you know

15 March 2010 at 18:59

I totally understand and have recently been wise and passed around the line - "you have to take care of yourself first." Future - schumuster...

Live it now, and enjoy yourself.

Good luck with the interviews

16 March 2010 at 12:25

As a constant daydreamer, I always dive back to my own past and reminisce good memories. It's a good feeling to be had. The reason why I blog is to share my memories to everyone. They all have a meaning for me and each of them are timeless. :)

17 March 2010 at 14:21

@Crystal - Ta :) And FOB did have a fair few moments but it's a shame that it was overshadowed by that Wentz being an asshat!

@Sam - Ooh Panic! Rare swing and a miss for you, Sam? ;)

@EJ - Haha, must we do it in bars? I'm finding out of late that drinking leads FIRST to erudite conversation but then embarrassing silliness and the optional losing of phones.

@Alex - Too right! Carpe diem and all that :)

@HK - Haha well you make me think all the time, so it's nice to occasionally return the favour!

TSG - I DO care, I've just been really behind on my blog reading. I think my Google Reader's now on about 600. I wish I was kidding!

Patti - Haha I wish schumuster was a real word!

Faker - Isn't reminisce a wonderful word? I think I'm of the same opinion.

22 March 2010 at 08:00

I'm very glad I saved your posts for last to catch up on, because they're always such a pleasure and inspiration to read. You're all sorts of fabulous.

I love this post because it is a nice reminder. When I was let go from my job and had to move back home, I had one of these moments where I realized the "now" holds much more than the "soon" or "future". Now gets to have the good memories, the laughs and smiles and learned tears and heartaches of the past, whereas the future has the horrid unknown and the ever-so-flaky maybes and could bes that create such a crack in our spirits. I'm very lucky to be able to look back and be happy with my life--and really, that's what it's about at the end of the day, right?

I hope those interviews went well!

14 May 2010 at 02:13

I love the way you write. I just found your blog and your way with words is fantastic. I love your style and how well you weave words. It's fantastic.

16 June 2010 at 00:25

Thanks Ania! I happen to think I have some ways to go, but it's nice of you to say so :)