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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Apps

This morning after editing some essays for inclusion into my grad school apps, I scanned the local universities’ job postings and craigslist for positions better than my current one.  While on craigslist I bumped over to the apartment/ housing listings since my house of six will soon be losing some roomies to relationships and new jobs forcing us to move, again, and then concluded with a brief stop at my okcupid profile to see if anyone had been checking me out—yes, I have one and I’m only moderately ashamed of it. 

All in all it was one of my more productive mornings and I felt quite hip taking care of business twenty-first century style, clicking away on my laptop while sipping a latte in my neighborhood coffee shop.  I was a single twenty-something spending my Sunday morning in the way that Friends and its sister sitcoms had taught me that I should in my youth.  But then a very obvious yet curdling realization hit me like discovering spoiled milk in your coffee; I had just spent the last four hours, lounging about, completing applications.  I had just spent the last four years lounging about completing applications. 

These were the guys I was taking life lessons from?
Somehow, perhaps under the guise of facebook profiles and online access to everything, my generation has been tricked into a state of perpetual application.  Everything is an application.  Everything is a test to prove our respective values to someone else.  We apply to jobs.  We apply to grad schools.  Applications for homes, cars, dates, grants, service projects, chances to win all expenses paid trips to Hawaii, they’re all just open wounds to be judged, and we’re addicted to it.  From grad schools to dating, we slap our information up on the Internet, e-mail it out, and hope to God someone thinks it’s worthy of acceptance, and we’re okay with it.  Or so it seems. 

The old Woody Allen line is, “I’d never want to belong to a club that would have me as a member".  That seems to sum up my era’s view of life.   

Anytime that I become dissatisfied with my current situation, I look to apply somewhere else.  This apartment is okay, for now.  After I get into an MFA program, I’ll have to start searching for jobs.  My car is fine, but I’m really looking for something more.  What is more?  What is enough?  What does enough even look like?  It seems like anytime I think I have enough figured out, it’s shape-shifted into something else by the time I get there.  I end up chasing the proverbial carrot at the end of the stick, looking over the fence and marveling at the greener grass, believing that one day I can eat that damn carrot in that greener-ass grass.

But isn’t that the American Dream?  To run around like a mad man, working too hard, too long, abusing yourself and looking to the horizon, so that you can one day find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?  I’m only twenty-six and not very far along my rainbow, but it makes me wonder just how long that rainbow might be?  Does it ever end?  How many clichĂ©s can I cram into one blog post?  Answer: a baker’s dozen. 

Sweep the leg, just sweep the leg...
Ambition is a good thing.  It stormed the shores of Normandy and turned Danielson into the Karate Kid.  But I think it must be horrible to never be able to reach true satisfaction in life.  There has to be a time when we can stop, a time when we can be satisfied to let ourselves stop, right?  I hope so.  Applying to everything is frick’n exhausting.  The first step might be pausing long enough to figure out what the end might look like.

Or is it simply that we know what the ends looks like and are afraid that the destination will never match the journey?

2 comments:

  1. That fight of complacency and peace vs. ambition and dissatisfaction is one that I've been wrestling with for the past few years. Funny that I keep seeing my own personal thoughts posted on this blog without me ever saying anything to you.

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  2. but haven't you? haven't you jesse... telepathically? yeah, finding the balance is a major pain. maybe one day, one day... glad someone can empathize

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