Change is the only constant. I thought I had accepted those words long ago. I thought I had accepted that my life here in Washington, D.C. was only fleeting, and that whatever would happen here, I’d move on soon. However, the deep sadness I’m experiencing says otherwise.
I’m continuing onto my second year in D.C., while my roommate is around for a few more weeks before carting off to graduate school in South Korea for the next three years. I am very proud of her and her journey, and I know her spontaneity, optimism, and common sense will continue to serve her well. Strange compliments, perhaps, but those are things that I lack, and thus precisely the things I admire in her.
We met in high school and were roommates for a brief summer before our senior year. Even then, she was an amazing roommate and we quickly became best friends. Somewhat eerily, since living together, we have started to think and say the same things– at the same time. I already miss our daily interactions, however small, and our serious conversations on topics ranging from education to manga tropes. Yet, I instinctively know that this is not all there is to this sadness; I still have not cried; still waters run deep, they say.
I suppose to some my strongest point is my tireless drive and ambition, but in these times, I find it crippling. I’m always thinking about my career path, I’m scared how I stack up to my high-performing peers, both from school and work. More than anything, I fear being left behind, someone my parents can’t be proud of. Everything I do needs to be perfect, prestigious, and promising of a better tomorrow. I want to be the orthodox paragon.
I feel guilt having these (irrational) thoughts– objectively, I am a well-rounded, financially stable, and contributing member of society. Yet, I can always see the next rung of the ladder I need to grasp, deftly traversed by many of my peers– including my roommate– and I feel despair. Forever stuck on the bottom rung, forever following others in a lesser capacity.
I cannot shake this feeling of doom. I cannot shake this feeling of despair because I know I will have to return to the vicious circle. I will be again living with the struggle and despondency, just as I felt when I applied to college, when I began looking for a full-time job after college graduation. I know I’m not ready, but I cannot fully understand that I’ll never be ready.
The clock, it runs on.