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Friday, October 8, 2010

The First Postcard

I usually love term breaks because, aside from the usual shopping, baking and catching up with friends that I do, they give me reprieve and time to vegetate. I appreciate time alone more than anyone realizes.

 As much as I enjoy the hectic schedules the school timetable presents, the challenges I face on a daily basis and laughing with friends, I sometimes wish I could remove all the trimmings. Have a completely toned-down version of my life.

Life, as it is, is beautiful. The accompanying warm, fuzzy feelings that come from spending a lazy afternoon lunch in a restaurant with my friends or family on a warm Sunday in an elusive neighbourhood- that, ironically, is usually brimming to the rafters with all kinds of customers- is wholly appreciated on my part. Working on projects can be a drag, but my friends make it seem otherwise.

At the same time, I catch myself on occasion wondering what I’m doing with my life. Being offered entry into my dream, and a highly coveted, course, felt special at the time. It still does, of course, but the initial euphoria is gradually fading away. I sometimes find myself uncertain and on the brink of breaking down. Not from the craziness of my day-to-day life, but from the decisions I’ve made.

I used to be so certain working in a magazine would be my ambition. I had already planned everything to the finest detail: The carefully cut out pictures I had stuck on to pieces of paper of different textures, sizes and colours, and later, on my bedroom wall; the articles and stories I had written by hand in leather-bound notebooks, all reminded me of what I was working towards.

I would be a deputy editor slash fashion coordinator, with runway worthy threads I’d bought on a shoestring budget- I’ve always had a thing for buying clothes from outdoor markets. It’s not just the prices; it’s the air of expectancy hanging in the air, emanating from the tiny, cramped makeshift stores.  It’s the assurance that what you’re getting is a one-off piece no one else has. Who gives a damn if you might have to put the article of clothing through the washing machine once before wearing it?  Everyone’s also usually friendly and snobs are few and far between, which is a plus. The only downside is the pickpockets that discreetly slip things into their bags and then just as discreetly slip into the crowds and away, unnoticed. Couple that with the unpredictable weather that sometimes results in inadequately attired passers-by thronging these markets, and you’ve pretty much set yourself up for the entire experience.

 Everything used to seem picture-perfect, and in a way, it still does. Even if I were to remove all the gloss, working on one of my favourite titles (Nylon, TeenVogue or Girlfriend are my ideal choices) would be a dream come to life. At the same time, however, I sometimes pause and ask myself if this is what I really intend to do for the rest of my life. The answer, the right answer, would be a resounding yes- perhaps even one shouted aloud.

 Some of my relatives used to discourage me from pursuing a career in journalism when I was younger, saying the long hours and humble pay would never stick with a person as free-spirited and headstrong as me. Plagued by such doubts, I fought back determinedly and eventually won them over. Unfortunately, I’ve found my confidence and determination waning in recent months. If I were to opt out of getting a degree in journalism, I ask myself, what would I do? I’m less interested in getting published than leading a fulfilled life. I’ve always had big dreams, and I would love for them to play out someday in my life. This is where the ‘toned-down’ life-esque part comes in: I want travel to be a part of my life, and working for causes I’m passionate about. I’m not going to lie, however: I sign petitions fighting for mistreated animals, but on occasion. I enjoy writing to a fault, but experience moments of writer’s block. That’s when doubt kicks in all over again.

I still have a good two years before I head for varsity life (the education system on this side of the world is a little different). In the meantime, I’ll just be going with the flow of life and seeing where that takes me.