Lost in Transition
So I'm officially unemployed. I'm back from an exciting 3 week graduation trip in the States and joblessness is now looking at me squarely in the face. There is no way to hide or avoid it. The thing is, all university graduates (save for those who have already clinched jobs during their school terms) emerge from university uttering this sentence: "I am now jobless". And I'm now one of them. Graduating without a job is a phenomenon that happens cyclically, not just in Singapore but everywhere else in the world. And being a jobless graduate myself, it makes me wonder how so many fresh graduates actually feel being in this situation and what to make of my experience.
It's a very confusing and pretty uncomfortable time of my life of which I'm stuck between phases of transitions. It feels like I have two legs stuck in two separate sandboxes and I'm standing awkwardly. One leg is still in the school category (because I still feel like a student, just without lessons), and another is attempting to leap into the now-an-official-adult job category. I'm neither here nor there and I feel neither here nor there.
No doubt, finally graduating from school is an exciting thing. It's a form of reckoning of my 16 years of formal education, and a celebration of future and bigger life adventures waiting for me to embark on. Yet, there is this sudden feeling like a rug has been pulled out from under my feet and I'm stumbling and trying not to fall. Even as I'm happy I finally have the time and freedom to do whatever I want, I'm also afraid and uncertain of who I now am and what future I am meant to forge for myself. Dig deeper and more existential questions get thrown up: "What am I meant to do in my life. What's my calling?", "What do I want?", "What do I identify myself as?" The scary and troubling thing is, I think I know what I want to do (the keyword is 'think') and what would make me happy. But it's not practical and not encouraged, according to society's standards. There are expected roles to play and I have accorded responsibilities to fulfil as a daughter. I feel vulnerable to judgement and the fear holds me back from jumping in. Yet, I am fully cognisant that what I want now may not be what I want in the future. People change from the old and new experiences they have, how they feel about certain things change. What if I don't want this particular thing in the future? All these incessant dialogues playing in my head all the time make me feel uncomfortable and uncertain about my being and my place in society in terms of how I can contribute to it.
I've been taking a long break from my job search. The thought of needing to find a job (and maybe it's something I don't like but I force myself to deal with anyway because of 'practical reasons') saps the energy out of me and I end up wanting to take a more extended respite from finding a full-time job. I am happy because I now have time as a form of currency to freely spend, yet I am scared and jittery and insecure. I have written a list of things to do. But yesterday as I felt lost once again, I felt the urge to write up a list of tasks to anchor myself, before I remembered I already have a list and it would be kinda psycho to have so many to-do lists of the exact same tasks.
These are the things I wrote:
1. Improve my German
2. Learn Spanish
3. Learn Korean
4. Learn how to drive
5. Learn how to play the guitar
6. Read, read, read (i.e. clear the mountain of books you've bought but haven't touched)
7. Write a book (long overdue project)
8. Pick up bouldering as a new hobby
9. Blog (partial success with an average of one post per month and an overload of procrastination)
10. Find a job
And many more, like chilling in cafes reading my books and self-improvement materials and blog, or going on an impromptu solo trip to "find myself" or just to see the world.
There are so many things I can do, so many choices I can make. But I more or less make the list and stop at that. I don't proceed with my tasks. And I continue feeling lost as well as the constant itch to do something (maybe write a to-do list?).
I initially wanted to use this opportunity to find a resolution for myself. The ideal by-the-end-of-your-post-you-should-have-something happy ending. And most readers expect resolutions in the stories they read too. There has to be an ending. A sound closing. If not it's "crappy writing I wasted my time reading". But writing isn't always like that. Often, it's not perfect and it ends on cliffhangers. I'm still in a space of uncertainty and discomfort and I guess it's okay to feel this way and to remain in this feeling for a while more as I try to make sense of this. I don't yet have a solution for myself. Maybe you can advise me (just leave a comment below!). But I think what I have written here captures the sentiment of many fresh graduates, or even those who have just started working - how they might have felt before.
Thanks for listening to me. I started feeling ungrounded and I end still feeling ungrounded, but slightly better (writing has this therapeutic quality, even as it doesn't help you solve your problems). I guess it's okay to feel this way, as long as I'm aware something needs to be done. I'll try something.