The musings and misadventures of a girl unprepared

Friday, 2 August 2013

Feeling Restless

At the moment I'm finding myself feeling incredibly low at the prospect of spending three+ more years at university before I'm free to do as I please. Most people my age seem to LOVE university and are quite taken aback when I say that I'm really not a big fan and cannot wait to get away. It's not that there is anything wrong with my uni, course, tutors or friends, in fact I think I've hint the jackpot on all these fronts. Rather it's the overwhelming feeling of being trapped that seems to leak back into my life every time I return from a trip. Now I've heard of the post-travel blues before, but I can't help thinking that this is much more than that. This afternoon I've found myself debating with my best friend the reasons for staying at university, after she'd sent me a link to a youtube channel 'FunForLouis'. Unfortunately (for her I suppose, since she now has to deal with my incessant whining) she didn't watch the home page video before sending it to me. For context, here's the link:

I think we'd all agree that this dude is pretty inspirational. He'd achieved an incredible amount before he'd even turned 21 and I've found myself re-evaluating my life considering my 21st birthday is only a month away. Stupid quarter life crisis rearing it's ugly head again. Although it may seem silly, this video initially brought me down rather than elevated me, for reasons only evident to myself and those who know me pretty well. 

I've always been someone who has been ahead of my age with regards to ideologies and certain ways of thinking. For example: when I was 16, two of my older friends decided they wanted to live in tents for a few months to experience life free from the modern dependence on man-made technology, such as electricity and TVs and unnecessary material possessions in general. I went to stay with them a few times but was too young to be allowed to join them full time. At this point my beliefs were leaning towards the more radical end of the modern Christianity spectrum, so the idea of selling all my possessions and living off the absolute minimum was something that really appealed to me. Throughout my teenage years I also took part in a lot of events for various charities, always being the youngest and often being too young to help out for the first few years that I applied. Throughout this entire time I had an internal struggle between what I wanted to be able to achieve with my life and what my age restricted me from doing. I decided that as soon as I was old enough, I'd start doing all the things I'd wanted to do before but couldn't.

However the world and life had different ideas. I fell out of love with Christianity for various reasons around the age of 18, which ended up pushing me away from my group of 'radical thinking' friends completely. Although I did and still do have a very close knit group of incredible friends around me to this day, most of them tend to label me as the 'crazy hippy' and mostly I keep my ideas to myself. Not being able to voice or discuss certain topics has in turn pushed a lot of my youthful ideologies to the side lines, as I decided that whilst I'd still keep them close to my heart, sometimes it's easier just to get on with things and fit in for the time being. The time being. How long even is that? It's been nearly three years and I'm still living in the time being, becoming more and more materialistic and immersed in ways of thinking that I wholeheartedly disagree with. I've started swearing, eating meat and drinking excessively, forgetting the reasons why I used to be against all three.

Watching this video brought up a whole host of emotions for me. As a person who is extremely disillusioned with society in it's current state, I'm finding it very difficult to live within the average bill-paying, wage-earning, every-man-for-himself lifestyle that we are conditioned to believe is the only way to live and this video proves to me that a) that isn't the case and b) some lucky dude is managing to live it! I'm both angry at myself for being sucked into a lifestyle I never wanted and in awe of the fact that the alternative seems to come so naturally to some people. I think it's hit me that I can't just be hanging around in the time being any longer, as it is finally becoming difficult for me to continue to suppress these aspects of my personality. But now I'm so far immersed in my current lifestyle that it is going to be a slow transition between the two.

Despite my doubts however, I think I'm going to be sticking out the duration of my university course. I vividly remember a conversation I had with my mum during my gap year about applying to university. Now a few years older, my struggle had developed from being too young to achieve what I wanted, to simply having to be patient about it. I remember tears streaming down my face as I said that I wasn't sure if I wanted to go to university because whilst I was studying, people would still be dying and homeless and starving and I wasn't exactly much use to them whilst cooped up in a classroom for another four years. I can't remember exactly what my mum said in reply, but between herself and my hero Mr Nelson Mandela, somehow I was convinced to go.

'Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world' - Nelson Mandela

I hope you're right Nelson and that this new found zeal for the future persists. I might feel trapped and restricted and hungry for things that I can't achieve right now, but if I look back just a few years I can learn a lot from my younger self on doing as much as I can within my means. And even though my emotions at the beginning of writing this post weren't particularly pleasant, I'm hoping I'll eventually reap the benefits of harvesting and allowing these mixed feelings to push me forwards towards greater things.

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