Disillusionment and perspective
Ever since I first read that line, almost ten years ago now, it has stayed with me. Because I also hate holidays and I always thought I was alone in this until this quote made me realise that there are others out there who feel the same way.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love not doing anything – it’s my favourite thing to do. But when I was in school I hated the holidays because my mother and I all day in each other’s company was not the greatest combination. We really didn’t get along well in those days and I painfully missed my friends every day of the holiday. There was no visiting or hanging out or calling people when I was in school. This situation gradually improved over the years until I felt that maybe holidays aren’t such a bad time after all.
Until this holiday hit me. I’ve been at home full-time for over a month now. I’m permanently done with university. It’s all over and I felt like Dr Faustus at the end of his granted time. I’ve been trying to work up the motivation to write a blog post for ages now, but everything seemed like too much trouble. Call it an existential crisis if you like.
The holiday basically started with me arriving from university for the last time and immediately having several arguments with my mother when I refused to immediately start applying for jobs. Even if I didn’t, y’know, want to have a break first, where do you find a job in the holiday season? Everything is closed down. We really didn’t see eye to eye on this and it caused a lovely atmosphere in the house.
So, as I didn’t want a job, I was given a taste of what I will have instead… housewife. But as I am no-one’s wife, nor likely to be, let’s call it “housemaid”. That I will have time to write or read all those books that have been piling up over the years… that’s only an illusion. That anything like getting a degree really matters is only an illusion. It doesn’t count anyway. All those hours spent, philosophising in old buildings, surrounded by old books, fixing the world and thinking we were making a difference… none of that is real. Not really. It doesn’t matter, because it doesn’t make a flying fox’s difference. What is real is that the dishes are dirty and I need to wash them. That’s real. That’s what my life looks like without illusions.
At university I thought I was contributing to abolish the patriarchy. It was a dream. At home, I work to reinforce it.
There are good things in my life too, but I struggle to feel happy. It hurts to have your life stripped away from you. I got to see the second Hobbit movie and I loved it and I was happy and when I got home the dishes were looking at me. I am a fangirl, but it’s time to stop living in dreams.
A little known fact about the common dish is that if you do not wash it immediately when you receive the order to do so, it will grow little legs and run away. At least I’ve only broken one mug so far with all the dishwashing and it was my own mug too, so I didn’t need to face anyone’s complaints.
My Christmas present this year is not having to do any housework. I’m not sure how long this boon is applicable. I guess as it is now New Year it will expire. So we’ll see how it goes. Get a job and the chores won’t end. It won’t ever end, but I need a job anyway. However, the faster I get a job, the sooner I can quit being a housemaid.
I make a very bad housemaid anyway. I have trouble keeping my big mouth shut.
Don’t mind what I’m saying now too much. Tonight is the night for looking back on everything that you have lost and it’s making me miserable. Extra miserable. The holiday season automatically makes me blue anyway because I hate the happiness pouring out of everything. I know. I’m a Grinch. I’ll be fine soon enough. I’m always fine! Even when no-one else is fine, I’m always fine. It’s 2014 and time to get back in gear and stop feeling sorry for myself. People are shooting fireworks outside my window that sound more like gunshots.
I’ve been defined as “student” for 16 years and during that time it felt like hundreds of people smugly said the same thing to me: “Oh, you’re complaining about your work now? Wait until you hit the ‘real world’. Then you’ll see.” To all those people, I’m sorry I didn’t believe you. I didn’t hit the real world. The real world hit me.
So… 3rd of January when everything reopens I’ll start proper job-hunting. Has anyone got any job-hunting tips for socially anxious people?
As I now officially join the legions of the unemployed, standing there with the dreaded “English major” behind my name, I look out on a new year. It has potential and pit-falls and possibility. I can’t see them clearly now, but I know this year will contain some major changes. I’ve never been this uncertain about the future at New Year’s. Not even the New Year between high school and university was this bad because I still knew where I was going, even though I was hugely stressed about “maybe I won’t be good enough” and stuff like that. I’ve no idea what happens next, but it’s 2014 and all I can do is try to make it a good one.
I hope everyone reading this has a happy, healthy and safe New Year!
PS. I’m sorry for being the wet blanket in the middle of what’s supposed to be a celebration.