When I was younger, I would watch Postman Pat back to back with every free moment I had. I wanted to be a postman when I grew up. I thought it would be the perfect life; driving round in my red van, with my black and white cat at my side, delivering the towns post. It was an utter dream of mine. 19 years later, I have the cat, but no van, and alas, no post to deliver.
My phase soon fizzled, however, when I took my first flight to a new country. My heart was sold. I wanted to be a pilot. Travelling the world and being at the wheel (control stick?) of a super big jet plane, taking hundreds of people to their chosen destinations. The whole airport experience used to excite me, and fill me with such joy. 16 years later, I have been lucky enough to visit the world and I still get sheer joy out of airports! But alas, no pilots license.
Fast forward a few more years and I had started to take an interest in drama, and the performing arts in general began taking a hold of my life. My new ambition was to be a news reader. Shuffling papers and delivering stories as they broke to the world watching became all I focused on. Years later and the only breaking news I am capable of delivering is the celebrity gossip every morning to my colleagues as we get ready to begin our shift. I did take something from this though, and that was passion to perform. For years, I was successful in my field (I sound like an old man delivering his autobiography), I scored in the top 2% of the country for one of my performing arts exam results and I always got top marks in everything I performed. It was like I had finally found my calling in life, I was born to perform, as cheesy as that sounds.
And then, in 2010, like the wind, everything changed. I will touch upon this more in another blog, I’m sure, but my fear of failure struck for the first time as I was preparing for my university auditions. I had in front of my eyes, four or five auditions set up at some of the most exclusive performing arts universities in the country. Suddenly, I panicked, I had never been told I wasn’t good at performing, and I knew that with these prestige schools came criticism and feedback that wasn’t always going to be constructive. So I panicked, I cancelled them all, scrapped my UCAS form and I tried again…but what else was I good at? I had failed maths, I had scraped through science and I hadn’t really exceeded at anything other than playing the life of somebody else. Sh*t.
So, I started exploring, I knew I wanted to remain creative and I knew that I wanted to remain somewhat in the world of living other peoples lives..so I applied for an events management degree in Leeds and I was once again, excited.
Obviously, like most things in life that are rushed and decided upon without much thought process, this came crashing down after around 7 months of study, so I ran away to Ibiza with my best friend and we fixed each other. We didn’t do the usual party in Ibiza, no, we recovered and we drank and we cried and we laughed and we healed. That week for me, was the week that gave me a lifeline, that readjusted everything and put my life back into focus, replacing what was once, a very blurry picture. I decided to leave Leeds before I had even finished my first year, and I decided to take some time to myself to recalculate my passions by listening to myself.
I am not saying you should all run away to a different country when things get tough, but you should definitely try listening to your inner self.
Anyway, I am slowly going off topic. Things came full circle when I applied for my second degree attempt, at Edge Hill University in Ormskirk. I sucked up the courage and grew some balls and I auditioned for a Dance & Drama degree..and I got it. I wasn’t entirely sure why I was doing it, and I knew that my job prospects at the end weren’t going to be as certain as other degrees might have offered…but my inner self had told me to go for it, and it made me happy, so I went for it.
Three years flew and in July of this year I graduated. I actually did it. Walking across the red carpet and shaking hands with important people, it was all a blur. I just remember that for one whole day, nothing I had done was a regret, no decision I had made up until that point had been the wrong decision.
Now, this is where we finally get to the point of todays blog. Any of my other graduates feel absolutely lost? Like you wasted three years of your life to get a piece of paper and not much else? Anybody else left absolutely downbeat because the career we strived three years of late night library trips for still hasn’t come knocking?
Life has this funny way of putting us on certain paths. No matter how you try and think about it, what will be, will be. But, still, here we all are, searching the job sites, wondering why we haven’t got the kids and the husband (or wife) and the career goals we all aspired most of our childhoods to achieve, and this is my point. When I look back on my childhood, I had three different career goals. I also fancied girls, so you know, everything seems to have a changed. And thats the prerogative of being a child, things are expected to change. Today, as 20 somethings, we stand on the parallel of being too young to care and too old not to give a sh*t. We want to travel, to explore, to meet new people and fall out of clubs at 4 in the morning. We want to make mistakes and we want to get tattoos that are impulse. But we are also starting to worry about bills, about houses and careers and lifetime achievements. If you graduated recently, stop putting pressure on yourself. So what if you work 16 hours a week selling clothes on the high street? Who cares if you want to book a one way flight to Thailand and travel for six months? The fact that we stand on this parallel should be enough to motivate us. We are young enough to do it and we are old enough to appreciate it.
In 30 years, we will all look back on our twenties as the time in our lives where we could make mistakes and where we could start growing up, but we should never look at them because we grew up too quickly.
Take your recently graduated self and kick some arse in your own way, in your own time, and on your own terms. Don’t let career norms and stereotypes push you into something you wont be happy with. After all, this little wannabe post man ended up selling items in a shop, writing a blog and being the happiest he could be.
Until next time;
Dan Coole Daily.