When my mum smacked "The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari" down in front of me, my face very aptly, in a 20 something year old way, screwed up with disdain.
My mum has landed at that age where reading self-reflective books about purposefulness and achieving meditative stasis is the main time filler. With her nose firmly in the pages of said narratives she now spouts pseudo therapy jargon at the first onset of crippling esteem.
"The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari" was a hand me down back in 2012 during my MA in Magazine Journalism during the torrid end of term deadlines. "It will teach you to not stress as much." An empty notion in my mind, gone in a poof of chalkboard dust. My initial rejection of the book was down to the fact that I had no want to read it. This cautionary tale is too ahead of time for me, I thought.
Since my MA I've ridden the crest of the joblessness wave for over a year with some very rough seas at times. Seeing your colleagues from university settle into posts when you've all come from the same stock makes you question EVERYTHNG- right back to when you didn't participate in the Model United Nations or chose not to trudge knee quaking terrains for the Duke of Edinburgh Award back at school- am I paying the price of not being driven then?
When you're 20 something and you've got too much time to think, this is a problem. Dissecting every last choice, thought and turn that life takes is a by-product of your impressionable twenties.
All that precedes the age of actually becoming a proper person has an arc, a set of expectations that momentarily eliminates the worry of the future. But once all established rights of passages are complete: loss of teeth, school, university, you're left with just open-ended adult stuff where you become something or someone-an abyss of possibilities. Both exhilarating and terrifying.
During the miserly search for a journo job I held down a nannying job as well as poking my way through different freelance gigs. I didn't get it. I was freelancing, actively applying my training and doing it but I didn't manage to get an actual in-house job. Freelance is a schizophrenic lifestyle, symptomatic of a range of highs and gutter lows. I became an idea factory, relentlessly pitching to what felt like a wall. The bad days were bad. Waking up without a purpose except to help an 8 and 6 year old with rudimentary life skills and homework was duvet day inducing. While I wasn't always buried in my bed my esteem was piled in a steam of frustrated ambition. That feeling of a commission though, orgasmic goodness.
Now that I have joined the employment party I have an urgency to not plague my mind and body with self-destructive thoughts and to keep stress at bay as much as possible. Or rather to accept stress as a thing that happens and deal with it in a way that won't make my organs slip into an early grave. The proliferation of high profile corporate sell outs turned self-help gurus has made me not want to burn out first and then pave a mindful path. Why not start from the beginning of my career before the damage is done?
And it's not going to be done via regramming a spiritual quote filtered in a coffee stained hue. The problem with the millennial generation is our want for a quick fix. We fall short of patience. We want it all overnight. Mindfulness has to be internalised, given time, not just a peripheral click. Social media has bred a clogged up feed of karmic matter falsely holding promise of life alterations in a digital second. A simple page like and a neglectful year later, nothing changes.
Herein I want to refract my weaknesses in a prism of mindfulness and share along the way, the people I meet and the things I do and hopefully not be too much of a knob about it.