March 19, 2011 –
Lexapro. That was the name of the first anti-anxiety drug I was ever prescribed. That resulted in me having the most horribly vivid dreams of suicide you could ever imagine. The experience scared me so much that it was years before I was willing to try another one. And once I did. It resulted in me pretty much going crazy. I started acting entirely out of character, so I decided that maybe pills we’re the solution to my anxiety. And to be honest with you, I still haven’t located the solution. Now it’s getting worse. I’m constantly tired and nauseated. I feel overwhelmed and out of nowhere my heart will start racing. I can’t sleep through the night and I’m constantly concerned about all types of matters that are entirely out of my control. Today as I sat in my room alone feeling sorry for myself. I called my mother who calmly reminded me that worrying about things that are out of your control is unhealthy and unhelpful. She was right of course as mothers always are.
That’s when I started thinking, or remembering rather. Of a time when I wasn’t anxious. Which was pretty much anytime before college. What happened? What Changed? It didn’t take long to figure out the answer. Life. Adulthood. Responsibilities. All really big words that mean Money. It was now up to me to figure out how to pay the bills as well as pave the way for my future. Which I needed to decide on right away. Personally I find the mere idea of having to know how you want to spend the rest of you life when your 18 to be rather bothersome. Seriously. That may have worked well in the 70′s but now and days people switch jobs 10 or 12 times before settling on one. And in this completely unpredictable job market it’s even more than that. The idea of know who you wanted to be at a young age worked so much better when we were dying earlier or marrying younger. Now I don’t expect to even consider getting married till I’m at least 29. I want to see the world and travel. I want to leave my mark.
But that is such as hard thing to do with the world breathing down your throat demanding that you make a decision right away. I am a huge activist for education. I believe that people should be educated around the world, but I believe that it should be free and free flowing. For some strange reason, we have equated success with education. Despite the historical knowledge that suggest that the most influential people educated themselves. We are pouring money into Universities because it is “common knowledge” that in order to get a good job now and days you need a degree. Well I have one and I make 9 bucks and hour. While my friends who never went to college or dropped out make 13 or 14. Why? Because they have experience in a field. What do I have? A plethora of information of various subjects, a huge student loan debt, and a barely above minimum wage job. And when I ask people what I did wrong the answer is: “Well you quit to soon. You need a masters.” My response: “Are you serious?!” Why do I need a masters?
I have every intention to eventually get my masters. What I don’t understand is why my time table just got bumped up by several years. The reason college graduates don’t have amazing jobs fresh out is honestly because of two very important things. First experience as i mentioned earlier. Second, and listen extra closely, because everyone else has a Bachelors. Wow. I said it. The reason so many college graduates are fresh out of work is because there are so many college graduates. Of course grad could get a job fresh out of college 20 years ago. Only 25% of the populations actually went to college. Now any body can get in. I am in no way suggesting that college stop admitting so many students. That would be entirely counter productive.
What I am suggesting is revolutionary. “Stop putting so much emphasis on college.” I know hold the presses. Stop demanding that children. And I’m sorry to say but 18 year old are children. I know it hurts but turning 18 doesn’t make you an adult it just makes possible cannon fodder legally. What makes you an adult is life experience and at 18 normally you don’t have much. Some people are meant to go to college straight out of school while others are meant to go into the military or join the Peace Corps. Now being educated is very important. Crucial honestly, but if we continue on this rate in order to get a job to kind of pay of you student loans your going to need a triple masters and five B.A.’s. Every time the general public begins to excel. They raise the bar. Which makes sense is a business sort of a way. If everyone has something then make it so that only people who have that plus something else can proceed. This society that we live in is not one of fairness and equality. It’s capitalist. Which means we have to have winners and losers.
Now don’t get me wrong. I want everyone to excel. I want everyone to go to college. And I want everyone to have a job they like. But I’m also a realist and that isn’t always possible. So I’ll settle for two out of three like the rest of the country. But what I don’t want is to see the bar set so high for my grandchildren that it becomes inaccessible. I want to stop being so stressed out all the time, and I want that for everyone else. And I found a way to handle my stress or at least attempt to. I graduated college and decided that I needed a break. I needed time away from the constant test and ever demanding strain of having to write papers all the time. I wanted to experience life so after I graduated. I signed up for the Peace Corps. And God willing, I will be shipping out for somewhere in Asia in a few months. And it was the best decision I’ve every made. Now I’ve made some dumb mistakes in the down time before I leave, but that’s for another time. In the meantime, the best cure for anxiety, at least mine. Was/Is to look at what is causing the constant worry and deal with it or accept that it’s out of your control. Like in the Serenity Prayer, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.” Knowing the difference is difficult, but living in a foggy haze of anxiety, fear, and regret is worse. Choose wisely.