But it's really been too long since I last met up with Mel, and Simon. They still mean a lot to me, so I decided to get over my inertia and make concrete plans with them tonight.
And I'm so glad I did. I can't remember the last time I truly felt so relaxed like I did in those couple of hours. It's just nice to be around people who aren't in the profession, to talk about things other than this job, to talk about a past that's long since gone but which you still recall fondly, and to laugh heartily at a shared memory that doesn't involve all these things that have brought you so much angst and anxiety the past few months. It's nice to let go for a while, forget about everything, and just be a normal person, out with her normal friends, having a normal dinner, and having a normal good time.
The bubble that the profession creates is insidiously dangerous. If you don't arm yourself with the necessary protective mechanisms, you might actually fall for its pretensions and falsehoods. There's only so far a fat paycheck can take you, and when you realise that the only thing you look forward to on a work day is going home, it's quite obvious that something is definitely wrong.
And I'm not going to be resigned to this, shrug and say, "It's just what it is." Because it's not. If there's anything my obsessing over David Cook and Roger Federer has taught me, it's that you get to make your own destiny. You get to choose what you want to do, and you don't ever have to settle. I have no doubt that I'm in a good position, such that I have the luxury of characterising the fat paycheck as "settling"; but simultaneously, it doesn't mean anything when it simply doesn't mean anything. There's no goddamn point when you have to force yourself to get up for work every day, when you spend Sundays putting off the inevitable, when you feel absolutely miserable that it's the start of the work week again, and when you derive little to no joy from the things that you do when you are at work.
Having said all that, it's not a conclusion that I've reached recently. I've known this for a fact as early as August, September last year. I know I need to make a change; but I have to choose the right moment, to hang in there long enough to get from this what I sought to get in the first place when I made this choice.
I know all that, but I'm mentally weak. I live for instantaneous pleasures and I lack discipline. I'm ruled by my emotions and I hate being made to do something that I don't want to do. In other words, I'm spoiled to the core, and that makes me not want to do th
is at all. It makes me whine in circles when I know I'm not going to do anything about all this after I post this entry, at least not yet, not now.
But I just HAVE to repeat myself ad nauseum and say the same thing in 10 different ways because if I don't get it off my chest, I might explode from keeping all this in, carrying it around with me 5 days of the week. I'm lucky it hasn't ballooned to 6, 7 days; I'm also lucky I've been leaving office at 7ish on the average. It'd be a miracle if that persists throughout the rest of my time here. I'm hoping it does, but I'm not holding my breath.
Dinner was quite awesome, to say the least. Mel and I were saying in the cab back that we should meet up once a month at least. It's difficult to make time when everyone is doing their own thing, but it's certainly worth the effort.
I miss being 18. I miss having the entire world at my feet and feeling like I was on the top of the world, with so many choices laid out in front of me. I didn't see myself working in a law firm when I was 18; I didn't even contemplate the idea of going to law school. It was one of those things that just happened, kind of like how this career just happened. But I remember how I felt in my first two years of law school, and it's that feeling that reminds me why I shouldn't just give in and die and rot in a place where I don't want to be.
Still, I wish I could have that feeling of invincibility back. Maybe it's because I'm older now, but when I think of my options I keep finding myself pushing against barriers, trying to explain away or excuse factors that aren't in my favour. My choices are limited now (I tend to see my degree as limiting rather than not), I don't believe in myself the way I used to, I no longer have the luxury of naivete or the arrogance of youth. I think at the core of things I still want to write, and this human rights/international organisations thing smacks uncomfortably of a way out, rather than a way through; an exit strategy that makes sense because I do like these things, but if you ask me what it is that I love, my answer is still writing.
At 18, I would've thought I'd pursue it with no holds barred. Now I'm 2 days shy of 24 and I can't see how in the hell I'd ever start to pursue it.
18 was the perfect age. I rue a phase that has passed, faded, receded quietly into the yellowed pages of my history book, almost forgotten.
But I am tired of this bare existence. I am tired of forgetting. I just want to be myself again.