I didn’t get my job. Sustainability storyteller, would have been perfect for me. And when he phoned me I almost believed I might get it– who’s actually nice enough to phone the person they’ve rejected?– but it does all kind-of makes sense. I don’t have experience. I don’t have contacts. I just have a bunch of papers and A grades that in the end become a couple lines on the top of the words. As usual.
But I’m not angry or particularly despondent– at least, it doesn’t feel like it right now. Yes, these stone towers are beginning to get to me, so’s the stress; I miss my Mom and the comfort of being able to just sit for once, to not have to worry about being wrong or not working hard enough– to play video games and add a chapter to a novel no one’ll ever see. But I know that wouldn’t make me happy. I know from last summer that standing still– and worse, sitting down– feels so much worse than stress. Because it’s the stress of powerlessness: you know something’s wrong but you can’t do anything– you bike around a dead city throwing resumes at anyone who will take them, waiting for the phone calls that never get through. So I give up and sit on that couch. The video games: they’re just there to pretend I’m doing anything at all.
I’m beginning to realize that one of my most admirable traits is being able to learn from my mistakes. Get a B on that math test? Didn’t get RA? Have psycho-killer roommates? All good: you’ll do better next time. As usual, I place the blame on myself and rarely accept that this problem might be beyond my control. But maybe that’s the greatest thing about me. As life gets larger and the stakes get higher, failure becomes extraordinarily painful. I realize that “learning from my mistakes” isn’t so much a nice pat on the back– “hey there’s always next time!”– so much as it’s clenching my fists, forcing myself to go on. And as those stakes get higher, I have to do it more on my own.
My life gains meaning when I make it have meaning. Learning from mistakes also means making something out of every moment. This term hasn’t been the easiest for me; after five months in Europe– feeling like I’m exactly where I need to be, that everything I’d ever done built up to it– coming back to Vancouver was pretty tough. And the aimlessness set in this term harder than it ever has while I’ve been at University. In the past four months I’ve learned so much and had so many great times, but at the end of the day it never really meant anything to me. But I didn’t let it have meaning– didn’t make these moments count somehow for the rest of my life. There were so many times this term when I could have worked towards something bigger. Most significantly, I could have worked for the Ubyssey and started to move towards a career in writing– paid writing, wow! Or I might have hated it, and that would have been valuable too. What good was it to lock myself in these rooms-resembling-boulders that we call Gage? What was the point in hating Vancouver and what my life had “become”? I fell in love with Vancouver three years ago, and there’s nothing stopping me from loving it again.
There’s nothing stopping me from making the most of this summer. So I didn’t get the jobs that could have helped my career as a writer. Maybe it’s time I started looking at what I’m missing. Maybe it’s time I apply for internships (which I kind-of hate on principle, but what can I do?). Maybe it’s time I wrote a blog that wasn’t about drooling over Paris (though I’m sure if I keep this going there’ll be a couple nostalgia posts here-n-there).
What does it meanto be a Canadian? What does it mean to be a first-worlder in the twenty-first century when everything feels like it’s falling apart? What does it mean to be a writer on the internet? Maybe I’ll tackle some of these questions and others this summer. Maybe I won’t. But hey, I like to write, and maybe someone out there might like to read my stuff.
The rain’s certainly coming down hard: those kind of days you’re crazy enough to wander through a forest and pretend there’s cougars after you. Kind-of cleansing, eh?