Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I've had these questions saved on my computer for a while - I think I got them through Kim's blog, but I'm not entirely sure. Regardless, they've also been occupying my mind for a couple of months.
  • What am I freakishly good at?
  • What do I geek out about?
  • If I was a horrifically superficial and shallow person, what would I really want?
  • What do I want to be known for?
  • If I had a full year off, and a stipend, how would I spend it?
  • What’s going to be carved on my hypothetical tombstone?
I've been in my job for over a year now, and I'm thinking about the next step. Don't worry, this won't be of great surprise to anyone - I'm in an entry-level role in my organisation, and my colleagues are students or recent university graduates gaining some experience on their way to their ultimate career goals, so it's not a job most people go into for the long term. That's not to say I don't enjoy it - I do, it's a great working environment, and the work itself involves typing, TV, radio, and the internet, so what's not to love? But I know I won't be there in five years time.

Anyway, my problem is that despite having gained a ton of experience in the working world (compared to peers who did go to university, at least), I'm still just as overwhelmed and indecisive as I was nearing the end of high school.

There's another, almost conflicting problem I'm faced with, before you rush in with reassurances that I'm only 22 and have my whole life in front of me. Right now, my health is pretty good and I'm perfectly capable of working a 40 hour week at an office desk. I get sick a fair bit due to my shitty immune system, and I'm often pretty tired and sore by the end of the day, but overall that doesn't impact too severely on my job. But because of my AS, I have absolutely no idea how long this good fortune will last.

Over the past five years since leaving school, I kind of figured I'd take what comes, and see where my working life ends up. But the longer I spend living like that, the less I enjoy it. I feel like I need an ultimate goal or dream to work towards, to keep me sane in this paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle. I just don't know what I want.

I don't want to go wild living out fun jobs, and being left middle aged and able bodied, but without valuable experience and qualifications. I also don't want to work my butt off climbing a corporate-or-any-other-kind-of ladder to be left crippled and exhausted.

I don't want to feel like I've wasted this indefinite healthy period I've been given. I also don't want to work myself into exhaustion and stress to be left unable to complete a career goal.

This post has been saved in my drafts for a couple of weeks, without any kind of conclusion because it's an ongoing dilemma. I had a discussion about it with Charlie's friend who has Crohn's disease - and, like me, is taking the prescription medication Humira - and he's feeling the same way. The career he studied for and started working in is something he cannot live out in the foreseeable future due to his illness, and a similar situation is something I fear. I already have a student loan from the flight attending training I couldn't complete, and I don't want to add to it without an achievable outcome. He also brought up the fact that the prospect of living overseas is far more difficult for us - in New Zealand the $2000 cost of the drug is almost entirely paid for by the Government, but that's not the case overseas, at least not long term. For as long as Humira continues to suppress my AS symptoms, I can't go without it.

More frequently I think about working enough hours to pay the bills, and spending the rest of my time improving my painting skills, and blogging. But what kind of a long-term plan is that? I know it's a modern-youth cliche and supports Michael Laws' theory of bloggers suffering from mental illness, but I have been depressed in the past, and going forward happiness is my number one priority. But I know from experience that living on the bones of your ass ain't much chop either.


pickupthepacenz said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

God I love that! That is exactly what I have been fighting myself on over the last week. Happiness is ultimate, so not happy right now! Time for a change.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Beautifully written. I think that so many of us now focus on what we are going to be, instead of focusing on who we are. I agree with the post above, if right now you are happy and you enjoy each day? Why change it? Happiness is the key to life, enjoying every moment and taking the time to appreciate those around us. Happiness is success. You're a smart girl, you will live an extraordinary life. I know people who are 40 that still don't know where they are going or what they want to do. It's all part of the ride - enjoy it!

Lauren said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I don't know exactly how you feel, since (fingers crossed) my health is going to be predictable. I do worry about having to make a choice about the type of journalism I'll go into. There aren't many jobs but I don't want to just take what I'm given for the sake of money.
I don't have any advice, just that I hope you come up with a plan x

Caitlin said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Very, very well put. I think everyone goes through this...I went to school for Russian and never had any real intention of working with it, but I'm still stumped by what I should be doing or what would make me happy. I wish you luck and hope the Humira continues to work. So awesome that your govt pays for it, I'm not sure that'd ever be the case here.

Teddi said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

so true, & yet a thing most people continue to question their whole lives, honestly. i want you to be healthy & happy. i know you can't control the healthy part, but i would like you to continue your art too. i think it's so much a part of your soul. not that you asked me.

Wallace Chapman said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Life is full of twists and turns and suprises..!


Hello! said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Hey Alice :)
I saw the photo in your post and thought "that looks familiar.." and it should be since I live in Wellington! Anyway just thought i'd say hello, and nice to meet you!