I graduated not too long ago, actually a day and a month ago. Since then, there’s been plenty of paradigms I had to change about the world, about myself, and about those around me. After all, it’s been 17 long years of being part of the academe, being so used to routine, and having things I need to do, just because it was assigned for me to do.
The best part about that, or so I realize only now, is that I never had to worry about where I had to go next.
Direction. Purpose. Things that come to mind slowly, but surely, creeping up bit by bit, until it seizes us at our most vulnerable selves. The progression I see was there all along:
- What story should I read and answer questions about?
- What club am I most interested in joining in?
- What responsibility should I handle in class?
- Should I try to be an officer?
- What purposes do I want to pursue, and which organizations reflect that?
- What should I major in?
- Where should I spend my internship?
- What should I study about for my thesis?
And well, here we are. The questions from start ’til now get bigger and bigger, and have greater impact on one’s life as it progresses. It has come to this:
- What do I want to do with my life?
Well, what do people who’ve graduated from school work on? Of course, making your resume, finding places to apply in, meeting people, earning a living, using that foundation to pursue interests or passions whether it be in the form of more individual desires or relational ones (lucky bloke you are if “earning a living” and “pursuing passions” are the same), and all that jazz.
However, if you’re planning to make it big in this world, you’d need friends, to garner trust, to build a reputation for being an upstanding man or woman when it comes to the things that are requested and desired of you. And how do you go on about quickly and instantaneously doing that?
By presenting the best version of yourself.
Yes. This post is basically a rant about this truth of the world. It is a truth that permeates practically all aspects of our lives. Finding friends, finding romantic interests, finding business partners — you have to show something that appeals to them, that gives them a reason to invest their thoughts and time on you.
Now, I don’t wish to say this dynamic is one that shouldn’t exist. I have both benefited and lost from this dynamic. We are all where we are now because of this dynamic. To me it’s something more intrinsic to life than say, capitalism, which is also everywhere (you could even say it complements or amplifies it).
It is just simply … frustrating that we always have to present ourselves in certain, accepted, constructed ways before we could potentially unveil the truth that is our most authentic selves. It’s tiring to always have to put up a show.
But we do it everyday, anyway.
One can only hope that there is greater success, achievement and fulfillment that lies beyond, making the strenuous task of looking good to be actually worth it. After all, it’s not presentation we’re truly working towards — it’s purpose.