Life Lessons from the 90s
Originally written October 2013
While I was in the province, my father made me watch ‘You’ve Got Mail’. I think he thought I was bored painting outside the garden or thought I’ve never watched it before. I kind of assumed he just didn’t want to see me spaced out to do much. In turn, I absorbed the philosophies brought out by the fictional (yet relatable) troubles of Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks.
Some of my favorite lines written mentioned bravery. Somehow, the theme of my life revolves on the situations that highlight the courage of letting go of what’s comfortable and breaking the mold. Already during that time, and even earlier, the anthem for most 20-somethings was to follow the beat of their own drum and carry your own tune.
This was how I remembered movies growing up. Self-actualization mixed together with mush and impending married bliss as either the rising action or denouement – basically insert before or after the main character experiences a mild case of missing sanity at a precarious time in their lives ie. 90s films and women’s obsessions with being 30.
“Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life. Well, valuable, but small. And sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around? I don’t really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So goodnight, dear void.”
– You’ve Got Mail (1998)
Photo of Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) from the Internetz.
“Birdie: So, Dearie, what did you decide to do?
Kathleen: Close. We’re going to close.
Birdie: Closing the store is the brave thing to do.
Kathleen: You are such a liar.
Birdie: You are daring to imagine a different life. Oh, I know it doesn’t feel that way to you now. You feel like a big fat failure. But you are not. You are marching into the unknown, armed with…nothing.”
– You’ve Got Mail (1998)
Years later, let’s say a decade later, those who finished college are faced with the same question. But ultimately with a whole lot more pressure bearing down on each and every one. Teenagers ultimately ask, “Will I leave a legacy?” “Will I matter by the time I’m 23?” (Of course this is somewhat a reflection of my life. Come now, dear reader!)
So how will it be? Will you watch your life unfold through a familiar path? Or write a story worth telling brought out from the unknown?
Excerpts from my notes in October 1, 2012
There are days where I am about to cross this (figurative) bridge and there are times when I know that I have actually passed it. Naturally, nothing is linear when you are human. Math might be the only thing that has the comfort and a ruler, for sure.
I have never been in a position where a singular thing would define my work and my personality. I am and will always be an ‘in between’ and a ‘dabbler’. And that’s really fine by me. But in a world where profession is measured more by ascension and ranking – what then should I do first? Specialize or experiment?
I have been blessed with different opportunities and all of them are coming at almost exactly the same time. But I can’t help but notice the questions that are begging to be answered. “Am I going anywhere with all of these decisions or am I just going around in circles?” “Is this logical” “Is this legitimate?”
These questions sit by the corner, glaring with punctuation, as I slowly navigate in my new job. A job that was in fact decided on by mere calculation and a whole lot of leaving it to chance. It was the obvious next step, I will have a lot to learn, and it’s a place unknown. Both exciting and frightful.
As you can imagine, I am holed up in my desk and typing on my laptop – taking note per note, waiting for that exact moment in the working process that will define what I will love doing in the next year or so. And here is something I think the fresh wave of employees would need to know: the more you find yourself at a position that needs improving and whole bunch of learning, means there’s more growth for you.
As much as I wanted to chronicle my decision in leaving writing as my main profession, I couldn’t. But I do have that short phrase to illustrate where I am in. I believe that I am on a journey of making mistakes (and of course learning from them) – which requires courage and bravery as currency.
God give me the strength and never-ending curiosity to pull this shit. Haha! 😀
Just so you know, I am now a Digital Producer. I am still courting Writing and you’ll see a lot more of that here. But for now, my day job makes me responsible for your Facebook apps, websites, and things on the Intarwebz…but not quite, because I am just getting the hang of things. Hold your horses, it’s only my second day. 😉
Now in 2016:
I am somehow amused at the same time observed that the problems I have in self-actualization almost three years ago have not changed at all? If I was editing a story I am not quite sure if I am in favor of my character? It is one of my greatest fears – to assume there’s multiple facets that make up my person but in reality, my character is one-dimensional. Same problems every year.
Especially now that I’ve seen the pattern, will I ever change how I approach things?