Meanwhile, In San Francisco.

Outerlands

Back in San Francisco, life has returned to normal. Which is to say, generally avoiding writing my thesis with excuses like, “it’s so pretty outside!” And lets be honest, after living in Dublin for nine months, sun really feels like a drug, one I need to soak up before returning in six (gasp!) weeks. I don’t normally procrastinate academically, I pride myself on getting my work done about as fast as its given out. The truth is, that’s because I wouldn’t want something like a term paper to dampen the possibility of jetting off to Rome with my girlfriends. Regardless of the motivation, I tend to have little academic stress these days. So, why, here in the Bay Area have I taken to staring longingly outside, with my laptop propped open and notes strewn about in the vague hope they’ll jump onto my screen and arrange themselves into a semblance of a thesis? Why don’t I just write the thing? I mean, I am. Albiet, much slower and more begrudgingly than is probably appropriate.

Aside from the obvious, it’s summer! Napa is so close, it’d be a crime not to visit! Mikkeller is opening its doors soon! We HAVE to visit! And other various activities in the hedonistic department, I’ve found that delaying my thesis delays the inevitable finishing my thesis and thus, graduating and being thrust out into the world, again. And like every other wayward millennial that’s pretty much the most frightening thing ever. I still have no idea what I want to do career wise. I have vague ideas and grandiose dreams for my general life, of course, but putting one foot in front of the other in terms of next steps has me paralyzed with fear. I know what I want out of life, but in terms of a career? No clue.

I know this: I want to work. I want to be involved in things larger than myself, and ideally contribute to society in some fashion, make some money, and find ways to occupy my overactive brain. Ideally, with my partner in crime. I kind of like having him around. Lately, that seems like a tall order. Especially since I want to stay in Dublin where the job market is more terrible than stateside (who knew that was possible). But I don’t think I have what they call “career ambition.” More like, I want to work, because I want to make money and to not be a crazy cat lady living in my house slowly loosing my mind and drinking too much wine. Or something like that. But what I do, specifically feels vague, distant. And I don’t care that much about what I feel like I ought to care about. I have zero desire to work my way up any sort of ladder, or work in a cubicle, or have a fancy title. Or really be distinguished. I don’t care about being important. If that happens, as a result, that’s great. But it isn’t my aim. I want something that blends my passions, makes me feel marginally fulfilled and ideally, pays the bills. But I can’t seem to define my life in terms of a career. I feel like I’m not what I do, so it feels impersonal, thinking about a job as an abstract thing viscerally related to my life.

All of which, of course, sounds like the ramblings of the overeducated and privileged twenty-something, whining about esoteric questions of life and fulfillment. Which, it sort of is. Let’s be honest. But that’s where my life and mind is, clearly manifesting itself in delaying a thesis, enjoying the sunny Bay Area, writing, and having skype-complain sessions with friends who are unfortunately scattered around the world, about said thesis. Like a throw back to adolescence, if I pretend it isn’t there, it’ll go away. Right?

Please?

Maybe I’ll never find my life’s mission. Maybe, there’s no such thing. Maybe, letting go of such a desire is indeed the freeing act I need. But I’ll continue, slowly, towards some unknown in the future, ramblings included. Towards a job, or a career, or something of the like. And a future that hopefully lands me back in California, involves a family, community, love, writing, traveling, food, wine, picnics, hikes, and some sense of meaning-however it decides to manifest itself.

Regardless, this thesis has become the looming cloud I desperately want to leave, but am sort of glad its there protecting me from uncertainty of the future.

That is all to say…life back in the Bay Area is pretty great. I recognize these feeling of crisis and emblematic of how lucky I am to have any sort of option in what I do with my life. It simultaneously makes me incredibly grateful, as well as having an incredible amount of pressure to do something with that privilege, in my job or otherwise.

I suppose, I could start with finishing my thesis and being a bit easier on myself. And probably stop sending hilarious pictures of the cat pretending to work on my thesis to my friends.

Sebastian Collaborates on Microbiomes.

Sebastian Collaborates on Microbiomes.

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