The best thing about autumn is the finite changing. Leaves curl and slide their color scheme to the warm side of the palette. There's a tangible melancholy in the brisk and refreshing air. The Smiths are somehow constantly playing, although I never consciously put them on. I feel more awake than I did during the summer's humid daze, and more at ease than with spring's back-and-forth, hot-and-cold. Fall has an inevitability that is unparalleled in the seasons.
Perhaps I'm attached to autumn because I was born in October. (Welcoming birthday gifts as soon as tomorrow. Please email for details.) In astrology, there are three major signs that each person is assigned based on the month, day, time and location of their birth. Each essentially predicts your personality in various circumstances. I'm a Libra sun sign and moon sign, and a Sagittarius rising. To let you in on what that means: I'm artistic, diplomatic and nostalgic with a taste for the finer things in life. Those characteristics are prescribed and actually true. Apparently, and according solely to the book Sexual Astrology by Martine I found on the rim of a trashcan at the Uptown bus station, I also am incapable of deep emotional connections, and am incredibly frank. (Only one of those attributes relates to me. I’ll let you guess which one…)
Some people believe in the ability to predict one's path in life through a made-up science based on planet alignments and movement. Some people scoff at it. It seems likely that the time of year you were born affects your personality. When you begin to create memory probably makes the time of year nostalgic, or at least pleasant. Perhaps because I've always liked birthdays –the celebration, the cake, the gifts –that I associate positive feelings toward fall time, when I was birthed. With my love for changing leaves and butternut squash soup comes a seasonally melancholic reassessment of my life.
This year, I'm turning 25. This year I'm set for my quarter-life crisis.
I'm at a point in my life where every day, I ask myself the same question:
I ask myself for so many reasons. I ask myself because I don't yet have a "real" job, a career job, work that is relevant to the career I apparently chose for myself by picking a college major at 19.
You know what else happened when I was 19? I once got so drunk that I puked in the flower beds of Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland, waiting for Max to give me a ride home. (Max is the light rail system in Portland. It's not The Max; just Max.)
When I was 19, I also peed outside frequently because I thought it was hilarious. I wouldn't trust 19 year old me to do anything big or important. I just wanted to get tattoos and smoke cigarettes and drink with friends and find drugs. Ugh, talk about life goals.
Being young means you have time to grow and learn from the poor decisions you’ve made. (e.g. Don't eat oysters if there is a remote possibility that they've gone bad.) Being 19 is a fine way to kill a few brain cells, and learn from your mistakes. It is not, however, smart for 19 year olds to be charged with the responsibility of life-altering decisions.
Hey kid, make a plan for the rest of your life. That plan starts right now. BAM.
Before I knew it, I was like every sap that wanted to go to school to be a writer, or a journalist. They teach you all the ways you should and shouldn't write, the way to be successful. They include footnotes on the trail blazers, the people that didn't follow the rules and are now known for their own groundbreaking styles. Why literary academic dickholes have to be so skeptical of change is beyond me. Scientists thrive of the new and unusual.
So I find myself here at my computer, on a Friday night no less, philosophizing the choices I made as a growing teenager obsessed with words and music, fashion and art. The good comes with the bad, etc. There aren't enough "words of wisdom" to wipe away my latter day sins; not enough chicken soup for this soul.
Now there are folks across the internet writing about how millenials can't find jobs with liberal arts degrees. I’ve quietly waited in my own desperation for adults over the age of 35 to understand the struggle I’ve faced, the emptiness I’ve felt when searching Indeed.com for jobs. All I’ve gotten is a bunch of twenty-something writers bitching right along with me.
I should feel comforted that my comrades share my grief. Finally, a voice like mine in the public discourse! But instead of accepting my angsty online peers, I roll my eyes at their logical explanations for my privileged unemployment.
These bloggers and online personalities do have jobs. They get to write bullshit about my generation that is deemed credible based on the rest of their host site's somewhat justifiable content. Most pieces about millenials are garbage because they're so overgeneralizing and self-aggrandizing. (Am I a pot calling the kettle black?)
Please, random millenial on the internet, tell me why no person under the age of 35 has a creative job like the one you have right now.
There’s only so much “I’m-a-unicorn-AND-judgey” attitude I can swallow. Those writers probably made rash decisions at the age of 19 like I did.
All I know for sure is that I need to keep changing, and I need to keep creating. Even if my liberal arts degree has given me nothing but grief, at least now I know I’m not a journalist in the archetypal sense. Even if I’m not always diplomatic, or straightforward, I’ve learned that it’s good to be multifaceted, and that ultimately, I am the maker of my destiny (and the master of my domain).
Folks moving, folks starting or restarting school, folks getting married: this is the time you knew was going to happen and now, surprise, it is.
If you ain't a Virgo, you're a Libra. And if you ain't a Libra, you're a Scorpio. And after summer comes fall.
This program was brought to you in part by Tom Cruise and Mariah Carey.