I am currently trying to remember when the precise moment was that I decided to stop idealizing my future and just deal with the life-sucking reality of needing money.
Could it have been at midnight on my 30th birthday, by chance? Could it have been the day I defended my MA thesis but for some reason let the door hit my ass on the way out, because I could not spend another day of living like a damn leech?
The pull. Have you ever felt it? This fucking academic pull. The pull is the thing in my brain that teases me telling me I quit something I was somewhat good at. I quit that outlet for all of my brain energy that actually produced something tangible and real and above all, worth it (the creation of knowledge), that I now use to decide which pumps to wear to work and which lame report no one will ever read I´ll put together for some dumbass in H.R.
I know, I know. 95% of the what is produced in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences ends up in the stacks bound and never to be cracked open again until some schmuck thinking there might be a job for him in academia goes to write his thesis and finds that shit again, buried under a giant pile of "knowledge". An enormous chunk of what goes on in academia is intellectual masturbation, mutual intellectual masturbation (I´ll cite your pointless study in my next journal article that no one outside our esoteric jerk circle will read, if you do the same to mine. Aaaah. That feels good.)
I know all these things.
But I feel the pull. It´s the same one I used to feel for travel.
I feel this pull because I know that in the context of those circle jerks, some people really get off, I mean, they really create something worthwhile, that even the jack-offs all around them are contributing to or are at least contributing to the environment that allows them to do so. So maybe I don´t mind being one of the mediocre ones, if I´m part of a process that I believe has worth.
But then there is that annoying bug inside my brain that brings up the point that maybe I quit because I could not cut the mustard. Ok, those bastards in academia did scare the living hell out me when they demanded a coherent argument when I had no possible way to formulate one (ignorance is not bliss in grad school, it is called humiliation). It also scared the hell out of me that all of the professors in my department had degrees from the Ivy League, so where the hell did all the state University PhD´s go to make a living?
Thoughts about going back arise when I stop thinking about the practicalities of money, mortgage, life, kids, responsibility. I start thinking about it when none of those things fulfill me or seem to have a glimmer of hope to fully do so. But even in the crazy ivy tower world, it is a rat race. The University only lets you stick around if you are producing good shit.
And this is where I ask myself the scary question: am I capable of it? Answer to self: Oh fuck, maybe not. And then I go home, watch a stupid movie, wake up the next day and go to work. At least if I was a prostitute I wouldn´t have to get up so damn early.
Time for a change.
"Reality tag" by Scoobymoo from Flickr