“Yes, I was happy in that moment. I felt bathed in a warm sense of accomplishment. Nothing troubled me; I was a young New Yorker with the city at my feet. How soon that would change!” – The Reluctant Fundamentalist By Moshin Hamid
What comes next in this story, and many more I have recently witnessed, is for the protagonist to leave it all behind- to turn and run as far as possible in the other direction. Turn from the painfully comfortable world towards a world filled with meaning, purpose, reason.
But wait- that was precisely the life we had dreamt of- the plush high rises in the middle of Times Square, the hipster art decco shows in the heart of Soma, the fancy shoes and littleblackdresses on cobbled stone walkways, all the pretty 0’s on the ends of our paychecks, this was the world we wanted so badly to become a part of. All of a sudden, with the perfect combination of confusion, frustration, and that nagging question of, “what the hell am I doing here?”- we see an embarkation. Upon a search for a world that is broken, a world made of difficult challenges and answers only we can find. A world in which to seek truths more often than stifled laughter. A world that makes life a little more complicated, but a little more free.
Is this the common outcome of this 21 year old dream we all leave school with? That those who could not find satisfaction in the muted expectations the world had of us, have no choice but to give it the finger and go looking for something else.
“‘Tall vanilla cappuccino, please,’ I ordered from the barista I didn’t recognize at the Starbucks on 57th street. It had been nearly five months since I’d been here last, trying to balance a whole tray of coffees and snacks and get back to Miranda before she fired me for breathing. When I thought about it like that, I figured it was far better to have gotten fired for screaming “fuck you” than it was to get fired because I’d brought back two packets of Equal instead of two raw sugars. Same outcome, but totally different ballgame.” – The Devil Wears Prada By Lauren Weisberger
Although I have no idea whether the search bears delicious sweet or horribly stale fruit for all those who seek the truth, it seems to bear a gorgeous new answer to the question, “What did I wake up for today?”