Insert the key to the keyhole. Twist the knob. Push the door open. Denny switches the light on before staring blankly at the empty table adjacent to the entrance. He dropped his keys to the foyer while reaching his right foot to remove his shoe untied. He just came from another interview. His eighth this week. He dragged the nearest chair to sit down. The creaking of the chair sounded as if his thoughts doubled his weight. Slumped, he took a deep breath after catching himself from falling into the abyss of overthinking. Across the table is a pile of mail with one on top stamped with “Notice of Disconnection.” He pulled his sleeves up and started searching the job site for an opening. “It’s okay. Let’s try again. Play on.”
Many young adults are like Denny. Without generational wealth to rely on, there is simply no other way to survive a dog-eat-dog world but to hustle. If you dare blink, you’ll miss opportunities. If you do not bother to pull a muscle, you lose chances. Many of us wake up to our routines with “another day of doing the same thing” as the only thing in mind. No matter how exhausting or repetitive our routine is, we do it anyway because no one else will. Stopping isn’t an option because the bills don’t stop. They keep on piling up regardless of whether you are keeping up or already chasing your last breath.
Another day to slay
Alarm rings. Denny picks up his phone to check the time. It’s 7:45. He noticed that the fan was off and the lamp next to his bed was not on. He got up in bed and went outside his room to get some water. His periphery caught a white piece of paper that was slipped under the door. His disconnection was served. “Another day of doing the same thing”, only this time, he will have to prepare for another interview with no lights on.
Denny represents some of us who are simply struggling to catch some break. Despite the efforts they put on, people just can’t seem to get things to work. They are often the people who come in first and go out last because they, too, believe that their hard work will eventually pay off. But in reality, to some, the payoff is still not enough to not have a disconnection notice.
Finally, positive feedback. After nine interviews, Denny managed to land a job that could pay the bills. As a force of habit, he switches the light on—forgetting that his electricity was cut. It was a party-pooper, but it wasn’t enough to rain on his parade. His heart is filled with joy and hope that he wouldn’t have to worry about taking a bath in cold water next month. There’ll be lights, there’ll be hot water, there’ll be air-conditioning, and life would be sweet again for him.
Celebrate successes but keep your eyes on the road
He let himself swim along the shallow waters of his newfound road to success like a kid playing in the rain. For him, it was all he needed. Perhaps, it was. Maybe all we need is that one break to make things work finally. But as we all know, breaks are temporary. It’s only serves to fuel us. It’s not the end game. It’s the extra juice we need to carry on and see that, breaks or no breaks, the journey will continue. Denny gets to live another day with better chances of fighting for his future. But suppose Denny never learns to prioritize things; if he continues to think that getting a job is the solution to all his problems; until Denny realizes that his attitude plays a vital role in all his struggles, successes, and failures, he is doomed to repeat the same mistakes.
Many of us are like Denny. The goal is never to take the same path Denny has taken. As an adult, we are responsible for all the things we do. How many Denny’s are there in a day? How many people do we encounter as we cross the street on our daily commute carry the same situation? But the more pressing question is, why are there Denny’s? Why are some thriving while others are struggling? Perhaps, it’s still the unanswered mystery of adulting—at least for our generation.
Do we spend so much time talking than doing? Maybe yes, maybe no. But maybe life is just that challenging, and many of us think that there is a shortcut to everything. Our generation loves to take easy paths, especially whenever it’s available. But most of the time, the most logical thing to do would require doing things the hard way. That’s just the way life is, I suppose. There is no free cut to success. There is only trying and hoping that the odds will be in our favor.
Making the right choices is important now more than ever. Some decisions we make can only give us one shot at making things right. Education prepared us to find our means of living. Maturity teaches us that life is a continuous moment of facing challenges as we move forward. Like Denny, some of us have both. Others have at least one, and some have none. Regardless of our situation, we have to choose to carry on, no matter what. It is only when we stop trying that we fail. Life eventually gets better for those who choose to fight.