My ever so eminent English teacher from high school would deride the term “real world”, as previous editor of The Queen’s Business Review would strike out the word “real” for its redundancy in most applications. Perhaps this is one time when my English teacher got it wrong. I have been in the “real world” for precisely two and a half months. It has been a thoroughly difficult transition. I wrote recently that in school, there was always an obvious goal and finale. When such goals are met, there are no opportunity costs of enjoying oneself. There is an obvious delineation between work and play (the so called, “work-hard, play-hard” mentality).
This weekend, I relived the undergraduate experience through my informal participation in QFAC. I was inspired by the many youthful souls still living in the unreal world, struggling with the issues that I seem to have conquered. But they all had the brightest faces and most optimistic outlook for the future. Of the four nights I have participated in the nightlife in Toronto, three was this weekend. Needless to say, after reliving university life on the first night, I was hooked to return. Not to say that university culture was the only real experience of the weekend. The other was learning the metaphor of a certain serpent in a Nicki Minaj music video.
I have not written in this blog for a while. Now I must use the therapeutic nature of writing once again to navigate through these difficult waters. I first wrote here on my bike ride to Kingston, when I felt as though I had lost all trust I had in the world. Change is both a blessing and a curse, though it is usually a curse at the start. So we shall begin with the greatest change of all.
I deeply love my job and my work. It, and perhaps wine, have been the only refuge from the difficult transition into the “real” world. I find that I am talking to, eating with, and confiding in, on the most part, people from my work. They are an impressive group that I am proud to be identified with. But, last Tuesday, the “honeymoon” ended. I was happily finished my work Monday and took a nap before writing up some notes for a presentation. I set my alarm for 6:45, a good 45 minutes prior to the start of the meeting. I went to bed with a couple of hours to sleep. When I woke up on my own accord to find the sun shining brightly, I panicked. I reached for my phone – it said 8:00. I quickly rode to work, thinking of all the excuses I would use in my defense. Of course I would use none of them. When asked (and no one did), I would tell the truth. I had gotten a wisdom tooth removed recently and I was to take an anti-biotic every eight hours. One of these, I decided, I would take at 10am every day. But my fear was that I would have a meeting at work at 10am and have an alarm go off in the middle of it. So out of concern for work, I set the 10am alarm to silent (and left the 6pm and 2am alarm to sound). Well somehow, the way iPhones work is a new alarm will take all the settings of the previous one. I often always used old alarms, but yesterday I created one for 6:45. It was a silent alarm. It was my fault, but I certainly did not mean for it to happen. And I probably could not have prevented it from happening, except by setting a few alarms (I plan to set ~3 from now on). This is one of those poisson-like events that happen rarely but it will happen with a certain probability. I have this difficult feeling that I have lost any reputation I might have earned. I feel like I just turned back the clock. I have always been afraid of disappointing people and the one fear I have is to disappoint the people I work with. And that has been the single largest goal I have had in my new life.
The other main change that I have struggled with is my business. I cannot go into details about it but it has been difficult dealing with it. And finally, there is one large part of my life that I have not mentioned. The elephant in the room, so it is called. But that requires a fuller treatment than there is room in this article. But there will be many more posts on that topic.