This post comes to you courtesy of the Skype conversation I've just ended with one of my best friends, who is a great supporter of pretty much everything I do. Granted, most of my very close friends have the same attitude towards most of my endeavours. I can't for the life of me imagine why since all I seem to do these days is screw up royally, but there you go.
Essentially, I'm wondering once again about my life choices, especially graduate school. I've recently been told by yet another close friend that I don't have to do an MA if I don't want to. She's very adamant that I devise my own path in life and allow my inner (and, hopefully, outer) novelist to come out finally because that is simply what I desire most in life. She's definitely on the side of utterly giving yourself over to your own inner self and pursuing what makes you happy regardless of peer and family pressure. While I do appreciate this sentiment, I oftentimes don't trust my inner self to know its arse from its elbow.
Put even more simply than that, I make bad choices for no apparent reason.
Thoughts of what's best for me have been circling each other for some times now. I'm not working on autopilot yet, but I feel as if I am heading in that direction. This in itself is not necessarily bad due to a need I have of having my time filled with something that yields some form of result, and if I can achieve that by giving myself over to following a preconceived path, then I am all for it. On the other hand, I don't want to lose myself and become that automaton I fear I might just be if left to everyone else's devices but my own.
I've yet to find a balance. I've yet to feel balanced enough to either choose between the two or mix them up to a degree where it just works.
(On a different note, somewhat, Friend #1 from the start of this post recommended sharing my inner turmoil with the internet because of the relatable nature of what I am going through. To me it just sounds like more of my usual navel-gazing, but if this blog is about anything then it's about my penchant for navel-gazing, so let the bellybutton-inspection commence—or continue, as it were.)
Lest this turn into the bad sort of self-help nonsense one encounters on every dimly-lit corner of the internet, I'm going to turn towards the ever-present problem I'm having these days, namely graduate school.
To say this in the most candid way possible, it's just something that's expected of me, and I've actually come to expect it of myself as well, maybe more than everyone else around me (with very few exceptions, see above Friend #2). I want knowledge like I want water, and if you know me at all you'd know I desire water to an almost fetishistic degree, hence expect the same about my desire for knowledge. While attempting to justify why the entirety of my self seems to be increasingly sinking into books and websites and journals to an uncomprehending audience (i.e., my immediate family), I realised the only way I can get what I want (please please please...) is by continuing with an academic career. Hence, grad school. Hence, more applications and bureaucracy. Hence, bullshit and expectations and potentially-unfounded assumptions. Hence, all the anxiety I'm feeling right now and have been feeling for a while now with no idea when it will stop, if ever.
Will this achieve anything in the long run, except, of course, for the all-important pieces of paper with the pretty headers on embossed stationary? Your guess is as good as mine. Is this what I truly, madly, deeply want? Huh.