Epistolary #1: Fighting Dust Bunnies and Trying not to Hate Everything I Write

Y’know I recently realized that the main reason why I keep neglecting this blog of mine is because… I’ve lost the spirit of what it means to blog. No joke, I really think that, along the way of trying to improve my content, I may have forgotten what got me into blogging in the first place. Way, way back (as far back as my Livejournal days), I used to be able to write without a care. Sure, I may have overshared a little bit and, yeah, my writing was garbage (more so than now, I mean), but blogging was actually fun back in the day. It was enjoyable and cathartic. Nobody read what I wrote – thank god! – but I loved opening an empty text box and just going all out.

Now on my quest to be a better writer, I may have put too much unnecessary pressure on myself and, as a result, spoiled what was once a very enjoyable hobby. Crap.

So! To reignite the spark I once had with blogging, I’ve decided to start this, uh, let’s call it a series of sorts. The “Epistolary” series is going to be just me writing as casually as I can, trying to go back my LJ roots where I wrote personal anecdotes or whatever came to mind without caring if my post would be interesting or worthwhile to anybody but myself. Not like I have actual readers now but for this series I’m not even going to pretend that someone might give a damn about my blog.

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What’s So Special About Turning 23?

Nothing. There’s absolutely nothing special about turning 23. You’ve already surpassed the legal age. The novelty of being in your twenties has long worn off. There isn’t even a Taylor Swift song about it.

23 is an uninteresting, insignificant, dull, unspecial age that’s not even close enough to 25 to fall under the realm of “mid-twenties.” It’s an age no one looks forward to because nothing interesting happens when you turn 23. I should know. I turned 23 last week and, honestly, I have to keep reminding myself that I’m a year older now because, damn, 23 is a forgettable number. I already miss being 22.

Some time ago, a friend of mine shared something interesting about growing older. She told me that once you reach a certain age, you stop specifying exactly how old you are and instead just go with vague approximations like ‘late twenties’ or ‘early thirties’. Counting by tens is just easier, less painful. Once you’re officially off the teenage demographic, things kind of get murky and complicated. Everyone assumes that you already know – or  already should know – everything there is to know about the world and leave you to fend for yourself. Nobody’s around to give you any hints or tips on how to survive adulthood. We all just have to stumble around in the dark until eventually things start to fall into place.

When you stop counting your age, societal expectations start weighing much heavier on your mind. Getting a high-end job at an early age or getting married before thirty or even just getting your life together as early in your twenties as possible feel like requirements that you’re pressured to achieve or else. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like if I don’t achieve everything before I turn 25 someone might just pull a gun on me. And I’d deserve it. It’s dumb and ridiculous but that’s how weirdly pressured I feel. Like if I don’t accomplish literally all of what I assumed I was supposed to have achieved when I reach adulthood, I’d feel like a total failure. I’m 23 and I already feel like my teenage years was a decade ago and often look back on it wistfully… even though my teenage years were just awful and I wouldn’t want to actually go back to when I was an uncontrollably moody, angsty, confused teen even if someone paid me.

Anyway, I know that it’s all bullshit of course. I may be clueless as hell but I’ve come to realize that at least. There is no deadline for achieving anything, least of all your goals in life. Shows and movies might have led us to believe that adults should have their life together as early as their twenties (in some cases, even earlier than that) but reality isn’t anywhere near as pretty or as easy as Hollywood would have you believe. Fictional experiences are not a reflection of what it’s really like to start out as a fully functioning adult. If FRIENDS or How I Met Your Mother was accurate, living in New York must be a breeze and it’s not at all impossible to find an insanely spacious apartment in the middle of a bustling city.

Still… even though I’ve accepted that society’s pressure on fledgling adults is grossly disproportionate to reality’s standards – and inconsiderate of a heck ton of factors such as financial stability, cultural background, resources, etc. – I still can’t help but feel like I’ve already failed something. I’m not anywhere near my dream job. Hell, I don’t even know what my dream job is. I’m still shamefully dependent on my parents on almost everything. I have no direction in life at all. I’m just passively waiting for, I don’t know, something to happen. I’m just a teeny tiny step above a social recluse, which isn’t really all that impressive.

Maybe I’m being too hard on myself. But if I don’t rag on myself every now and again, I might just accept the passivity of my current state of affairs. It’s a trap that I’m terrified of falling into – being so complacent with my mediocre life that I’ll eventually stop trying and even dreaming of doing more, of actually challenging myself. I’ve never been much of a headstrong person. In fact, as a child, all I ever really wanted was to be left alone to my own devices. I still kind of do but now I’m more determined to make something of myself. The only problem is I have no idea where to begin.

I don’t really know what this blog post is for. Honestly, I just wanted to make this so I could bemoan the lack of a contemporary song celebrating turning or just being 23. I wholly blame Taylor Swift for this aimless post.

something-something life update -something

You know, deciding where to post an update gets pretty confusing when you have several blogs. The obvious solution would be to get rid of the dormant ones – the five-ish blogs spread across at least 3 different platforms – but, and this is where it gets annoying, I’ve already posted enough on each of them to make their loss slightly meaningful. And I thrive on the tiniest flicker of sentimentality. My Tumblr has more than four thousand posts, easily making it my most prosperous blog. But I think I may finally be outgrowing it. And say what you will about Tumblr but if it did anything, it helped me fall in love with blogging. And, yes, four thousand posts because I was a fairly prolific little fool back in the day.

But I digress.

As I’ve talked about in my Tumblr, I accepted a job at my family’s business about two months ago. My job isn’t particularly interesting as I work at a surplus store. Full disclosure: I’ve always hated working in a business since I would rather pull my teeth out one by one than deal with customers who could be the literal spawn of Satan  but I still need to smile and treat them decently lest I smear the company name. And I’ve heard enough retail employee horror stories to know that calling them the devil’s child would be an insult to the devil. However, despite my absolute loathing of costumers, I didn’t/don’t have any other employment prospects so I took the job. The one redeeming quality about it is the bi-monthly salary… which I guess is true for nearly every job out there. Hate the job, love the money, y’know?

Unfortunately, the stability of my employment has been a double-edged sword. On one hand, I can’t get fired no matter how badly I behave and, believe me, I can be so incredibly passive that I can probably pass off as a corpse. On the other hand, I feel imprisoned and suffocated, knowing that nothing I could do would ever lead to any major consequence. I can’t get fired so I never feel like I ought to do better. The monotony of the job is also uninspiring and stifling, not to mention severely unsatisfying. Now, I’m not one that feeds off challenges – as I’m a lazy coward content with mediocrity, for the most part – but every day at work  is so unexciting that I genuinely lose track of the days and weeks.

I can’t help but miss being a journalist. Sure, the job entails a certain kind of danger and pressure and, eventually, it too gets formulaic but at least there’s a higher chance of actually being challenged to think more and do more than what you’re currently capable of. More chance of growth.

Unfortunately, journalism isn’t my calling. I thought it was for a little while – heard an echo of the call of journalism… turned out to be just the wind playing tricks – but now I believe that it’s just not for me. I’m just not emotionally capable of surviving that profession. I’m too much of an empath, I think.

But anyway, for a while I had been just silently devastated at how my adult life was beginning. I had existential crises every few hours or so and, on more than one occasion, had to stifle a scream of pain in the middle of work. Bitter tears were suppressed, panic attacks were swerved, all the while dealing with customers who were either incredibly rude, incredibly dumb, or an unholy combination of both. (There were some polite ones, I’m sure, but I don’t remember them much.)

Eventually, with the help of some friends and a lot of introspection, I managed to crawl out of the deep hole I had kept myself in. The gaping hole is still there, I feel it trying to suck me back in every day, but I’ve been able to hold my ground, mostly by focusing on creative projects and whatnot. It’s such a simple thing that I should have thought of doing from the very beginning – though I did do it… just not seriously enough – but the impact of them, just the very idea of having something to do, is staggering.

The projects that I’ve been doing – and planning – are all writing projects, of course. The biggest and most important one is the novel that I’ve been meaning to write since the beginning of the year. Now, I’ve tried my hand at writing a novel almost every other year and, unsurprisingly, I never make it past the first chapter. I either lose interest or realize that I don’t have enough material to go on. Or it’d turn out that the ideas that I had thought were groundbreaking at the beginning would fall flat when I tried to apply them. This current idea, however, seems pretty solid. The more I brainstorm and worldbuild, the more excited I get about writing the story. A good sign that I’m actually in this for the long run, I believe.

Another project is a more general one: blog more. And by blog I mean essays about things that I’ve wanted to write about since ever. I’ve already got a few ideas listed and I’m working on one right now. Oh, and I’m also going to recap the first Maximum Ride book so that should be… fun.

I wish I could also say that I’ve been reading a lot too but, alas, I somehow keep neglecting it for some reason. It’s so annoying because I used to be able to read countless books per week when I was still in college but now that I have the time to seriously read, I keep putting it off and putting it off until I forget to completely. Reading feels like a frivolous activity compared to everything else I need to do so I tend to bump it down in my list of priorities.

Goddamn, I had to change my Goodreads Reading Challenge from a lofty 100 books to a more realistic 50 books too. It broke my heart but it had to be done. I need to read again.

Hmm… now let’s see, what else is there to write? Not much, I guess, since my life has been pretty bland. My daily routine starts with waking up at half past four in the morning to feed our many, many dogs. If I somehow wake up late, the dogs start barking, demanding for their breakfast. Then I spend the hours before I need to get ready for work trying to write or fiddling with the internet. I spend the requisite eight hours at work, trying my damnedest not to give up on life. When I get home, I feed the dogs again. After that, the rest of the day I spend trying to write or read. Key word is trying as I often procrastinate the hell out of my only time to do things or I fall asleep embarrassingly early. Very rarely do I ever get anything done. The moment I think that I can possibly survive the night, I let my guard down and give myself the luxury of lying down in my bed for a bit. Once my head hits that pillow, it’s all over for me no matter how hard I may try to fight it. I’m just not a night person. I prefer writing in the daytime which is a damn shame since I have work – real work – in the day. I need to sort that out soon.

Oh wait, I forgot to mention that I’m seriously going to do NaNoWriMo this year. I don’t know how I’ll do it since, as of now, my writing habits are awful but… I’ll find a way. I hope.

Anyway, I guess that’s it. If you read this far, wow, congrats, I guess? I tip my hat off to you, friend.