I've identified a pattern. Every October, I become critical of my life to the point that anything short of working as an Imagineer at Disneyland is unsatisfactory. My kickass apartment, my second-to-none DVD collection, my ragtag group of friends - none of it, no matter how great, seems an appropriate trade-off for working a 9 - 5 desk job on the 19th floor of a corporate-owned skyscraper in SF's Financial District.
I bike to work and try to feel different from the hundreds of cyclists, the thousands of drivers, and the tens of thousands of commuters in the buses and the underground who are all headed to the same cluster of buildings as me. I feel bad for the adventures they're sacrificing in order to make a paycheck and support a family. I think about how many days they've woken up and put on the same pair of dress socks underneath the same pair of slacks, and how many meaningless conversations they've shared in the indistinguishable lobbies that have served as empty reference points for the jobs they've skipped between and the promotions they've earned. I know it makes me sound like an asshole, but to view myself as anything other than different from is to admit defeat. And that's not something I do lightly. Ever.
Instead, I make a game out of it. "Look at me pressing the button for the elevator," I think. "This fancy lady next to me has no idea how amusing this all is. Me, an impostor, riding the elevator along with the rest of them as they think their thoughts and have their small talk. Hilarious!" And then I sit at my desk and continue: "Look at me, sitting at a desk in a fluorescent-lit office. With my big old desk phone. And my list of office numbers. And Bagel Monday. Thank God I'm in a Creative, at least. Man alive, it's going to be one hell of a story when I get out of here a few months from now. Imagine how absurd this whole situation will sound when I'm ten years older and kicking back telling it."
Look at me, up on my high horse.
The reality is - or, rather, must be, for the sanity of every one of my fellow humans whom I walk among every day of the work week - that we all must have started out thinking the way I do. And slowly, imperceptibly, the godawful mundanity of the situation must just start to beat the sense out of you.
And so I'm no different from everyone else. At all.
Unless, of course, I stick to my guns. And remember these thoughts a few months from now. And walk out of here before it becomes something I can't just wash my hands of. And never stop trying to be supremely badass. Even if it means less money. And no dress socks, ever. And a profound feeling of smugness as I continue to buy bottom-shelf vodka.
I'm 25. Nothing's final. And these are the thoughts I need to remember until I can look around and safely proclaim myself not a part of the Financial District crowd.