It’s been quite some time since I published anything. You’ll have to excuse me, I mean, it was beer garden weather and Pokemon Go had just come out ( – sorry not sorry). If I’m to be totally honest, I’ve hit a bit of a writing block. When I first decided to broadcast my existential crisis to the very private corner of the internet that is my Facebook feed – I had a particular trilogy of things I wanted to say in mind.
I’ve droned on and on about how much I miss being at university. I told you all about the difficulties of adjusting to the adult world. Shockingly enough, I have officially survived a year in the real world and the time has come for my annual review. Yessir, it’s about time we head back to that room where I first had my interview. I’ll be a little bit less nervous this time around, now that I’m older and wiser and all ( – seriously, I even have a pension now, Scottish Widows doing bits).
I’ll sit there and articulate some sort of ‘I am incredible and you should cherish me’ shpiel like all good salespeople do. We’ll pull up a document of my results to date, all neatly organised on two A4 sheets, fresh from the printer. We can sit there and analyse them for a bit, check out my conversion rates and the gross value I have brought to the company throughout my role.
Then they’ll hit me with that question – ‘What achievement are you most proud of this year?’ That’s a tough one. What have I actually achieved this year? I finished Narcos in one glorious weekend? I’ve spent a small fortune on Uber journeys? I figured out the way to cheat the system and get as much food as possible in Chipotle? I mean, other than that last one, these don’t exactly feel like anything to brag about.
There have been some milestones after all. I moved back in with the co-founders of the ‘Sam Rabinovitz Disappointed Me’ club ( – hi mum and dad!) and within a week I had myself a payslip and a title – take that graduate unemployment statistics. I even did a half decent job of it and got myself promoted. That’s right, someone out there has actually entrusted me with management responsibilities.
Yet the question still remains. What have I done with the three-hundred and ninety-one days since my first day of employment? Somewhere between attempting to get ready while I’m still half asleep and getting convinced to stay for “just one pint” at the pub across the road, I’ve spent an enormous amount of time building someone else’s dream.
That’s the tough thing about working full-time. The hamster wheel doesn’t slow down or take a break by itself. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you might find yourself right here, wondering what the hell you’ve done with the past thirteen months. By all means, these are our years to be dumb and present-hedonistic but crawling through to Friday, drinking your way through the weekend and spending your Sundays mourning is just no way to live.
It’s so easy to wish these years away in the anticipation of getting into the faster lane. Ambition is the gift and the curse. To paraphrase Seneca ( – I know, I know, I’m cultured as fuck), it is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a tremendous amount of it being nervous about what will be. Our parents taught us to care for ourselves and to consider the consequences of our actions. They instill a sense of anxiousness in us to attain our goals and achieve this idealistic state of success. A midlife crisis just waiting to happen.
I might have an enormous ego but let’s be honest here, I’m a middle child. I’m fully aware that I’ll probably never feel like my achievements are substantial enough because there’s always going to be a higher peak. So no, I wasn’t expecting to sit here and tell you all about the year I found the cure for cancer or solved world hunger.
This was the year I learnt I need to do something meaningful with my time.
“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back, everything is different?” – C. S. Lewis