21 May, 2008


As my friend reflected to me yesterday (at least I think it was yesterday...), it's been two years now since I graduated from college. That means I'm entering my third year as a ronin...er, NEET. In other words, I'm a failure of a human being. Well, at least as far as society is concerned (and believe me, the feeling is mutual). So why is it so hard for me to "get a life"?

Supposedly, high school prepares you for college, and as far as I could tell, college prepares you for graduate school. So how do you get prepared for the real world? I would have gone to graduate school, but my aptitude for the sciences, which I had been training in, tapered off. I'm still not sure if it's simply a matter of losing interest, or if my mental faculties have in some way been compromised, but nowadays I don't even want to think about a math problem - and I used to enjoy them so much!

We could go into why this happened, but the reasons are many, and not very clear. Part of it has to do with grinding mindlessly through pages-long equations, with little perspective. Part of it has to do with the realization that studying science will not lead to finding the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. (And if you tell me the answer is forty-two, I'll smack you). And part of it has to do with meeting a girl so much smarter than me, that I figured if I was struggling through problems she could manage with ease, then there was no point in me being a scientist as long as people like her were around.

So I decided to focus on a more creative subject, where I could make contributions without being the best in the field. I turned to my hobby, playing guitar. I graduated college with no plans for the future ahead, except the vague idea that I was gonna learn to play well enough to get by. Maybe start a band, maybe join a band, but ultimately, hopefully, to play some gigs and make some money doing something I enjoy.

A year ago, I had resolved to complete my first real album of original compositions, but when the first year anniversary of my college graduation rolled around, I was far from finished writing and recording the material planned for the album. It was exciting at first, trying to record my songs, but it eventually became very dull working in the studio, and I completely lost interest in wrestling with trying to record a good track. I enjoy playing the guitar, but I don't even have the motivation to pick it up every day, which is really something I should do if I plan on being a guitarist. Put another check in the "failure" column.

The real problem here is my inability to interact with the world around me. Specifically, the human part. I feel woefully inept at wedging my way into the world, with no confidence to strike out on my own. And yet, I'm terribly fearful and generally clueless when it comes to reaching out for help. On the one hand, there seems to be a focus on independence - relying on one's own strengths to make it in the world and do what needs to be done. I do not have this quality. On the other hand, there's a concession for getting by "with a little help from my friends". Power of love and friendship, and all that. But I'm not good with people, and I don't have a support network. Think of all those tv shows and movies where the hero derives his strength from his friends to win the day. What about the lonely guy sitting in the alley? How can you expect him to be a hero?

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