Saturday, December 31, 2011

Float on.

"We'll all float on all right..."

So, there went 2011.

2011 has been as crazy as it can be. I had a very good spring and a mediocre summer (dampened by the game that shan't be mentioned and the resulting shenanigans). And then everything just sort of spiraled downwards from then on. My last semester at SFU featured -- of all things -- a science class, and that fact alone was enough to strike down my year like a Messerschmitt in a dogfight. Starting mid-November, I've even been so caught up between school and work that it's left me gasping for sleep, let alone much else that even mildly resembled fun.

Nevertheless it has been interesting year -- not good, not bad, just... well, interesting. An eventful one for sure. To use the old, tired cliche, it's been a roller-coaster ride. Like a roller-coaster ride however, I seemed to have found myself back at where I started.

Oh sure, I found a job at Sport Chek and have done fairly well since (at least I hope so anyway... ahem). And yeah, I am officially finished at SFU as well so my 4-and-a-half-year campaign at Burnaby mountain / Harbour Centre / Surrey Central is officially over. What I found myself silently debating though, is what I managed to accomplish these couple years.

In the most simplistic terms, with work I get money. I get experience and a job title so I can put it in print to show other future possible employers how much of a winner (or a loser) I am. With school I get a piece of paper that verifies me as a student who sat / slept / facebooked through Communication and Political Science lectures for 4 and a half years. With that I can tell you in confidence who Theodor Adorno, Noam Chomsky or Antonio Gramsci are without consulting Wikipedia. They are, in fact, erm... Never mind.

But really, accomplishment?

What have I achieved the past couple years, let alone this year? I gained knowledge. I feel like I am a more knowledgeable, smarter person than I was 4 years ago (although the jury is still out on that one). At the end of the day -- or perhaps more appropriately, year -- it isn't accomplishment until I went out and did something with it. Right now, all I've done is securing a blank piece of paper to be printed with a thousand others before a ceremony six months from now.

And, because I am Asian, it'll probably be mocked mercilessly by my Asian relatives whose kids study at UBC.

There's no denying that upon finishing at SFU, it has left me feeling a bit empty. For one thing, I'll probably miss SFU alright. One of them is likely to manifest itself starting January 1, 2012, in the form of a U-Pass, which I am no longer allowed to carry.

The bottom line is though, knowledge isn't simply exhibited on a piece of paper. Experience even less so -- and considering my wealth of experience as a bus boy / camera salesman / bubble tea server / cashier, I can't even say that I have much in the first place. Both takes time to build. If you have it, people will know.

One of the dreaded questions when I was in University were something along the lines of: "What are you going to do after you graduate?" Well, to be frank, I don't have a clue. We're talking about a future that seemed so distant to me not so long ago, and one that I am now suddenly facing.

I know what I DON'T want to do. I don't want to go back to Hong Kong. I don't want to stay broke forever. I don't want to be alone all the time (which will be tough since I live alone... although my aunt is here so I may as well live alone). I don't want to be absolutely clueless about the future.

I guess it's one of my many quiet frustrations that's been irking me for a while now -- the future. These past couple years I haven't achieved much. That comes later, when I go out and skinny-dip into the real world of 9-5 jobs, saving up for stuff and getting my shit together. And now that I am out of University, the time is now to get out and actually do something.

With the future as unclear as it is now, however, I don't even know where to start. It is rather overwhelming. I guess that will be one of the reasons why 2011 has been a resounding meh for me: 2011 is like that moment when the teacher yells "time's up, pencils down." I'm that kid in class who is unsure about his answers on the scantron and desperately wants to change it. Oh well, too late. 2012 is coming.

Life, to me right now, seems more like a boat without its sails up. For now, I just go wherever the tides take me.

Lately I've been finding myself listening to this song a lot. It really is a fantastic song -- one that creeps up on you and stays inside your head. I've recently paid a lot more attention to their lyrics though, and really -- perhaps I am just worrying too much. You can't plan for everything anyway. People's who's got plans are schemers. And bad things happen to schemers.

Maybe, as Modest Mouse would put it -- life's okay, and we'll all float on all right.

Here's to 2012. Please take me somewhere good this time.