Saturday, August 21, 2004

Caffeine and Nicotine Talking

Seated here in my corner in a posh coffee house, drinking my overpriced cafe latte and smoking my kreteks, I am reminded of this conversation I had with Luis, in another cafe of the humbler type. I suppose many people our age, suffering or about to suffer quarter life crisis, have had similar conversations. We were talking about, among other things both mundane and not, the insecurity of employment. He, an artist, and I an educator, were worried about the future. He said he was flirting with the idea of going back to school for further studies. And I, well, I was wondering whether I could independently live off of teaching younger people how to think.

What went unspoken, although we skimmed on this topic before under the rubric of "making a difference", was whether we could make something more of ourselves and make a "mark." Oh the unspoken arrogance of it. Is there a place for people like us? Maybe we made a mistake in pursuing our passions and walking on the path our talents have shown us. If money is the only concern, maybe getting an MBA would get us better financial rewards. I don't know. Perhaps, but for me it would mean selling my sould to the devil.

Strange thing is, in this society, people like him and I are not usually well-rewarded for the things we like doing. Those of you who know him (and even those who do not) would probably peg Luis as a person of considerable talents and capabilities. Should this equate to "success" then? And along with it the moolah? Who knows? What went unspoken was, "We should become successful in whatever it is we choose to do because we are 'more able' than most." Sadly, in this society, one cannot rely on the comforts of having more "capacities" than others. Would that our degrees could assure us of "making a difference."

So the future hangs over our heads, all us young people, a nebulous dream of greatness and prosperity of equal value as our "gifts." The fear of failure is very real. I asked him something like "Do you think you can make it?" and he said something like "With hard work, sure." Would that it be as simple as plucking a ripe fruit from a tree.

No comments: