The most profound thoughts tend to come when there is no one around to tell them too and nothing to write them down on. In the past, I sometimes woke up in the middle of the night with what (in my delusional state) I considered a genuine stroke of genius. I would get out of bed, tumble towards a piece of paper and scribble down the thought; only to wake up to an illegible mess the next morning. You can’t win.
Thanks to modern technology, though, the dilemma might be on the brink of resolution. The present-day equivalent to the piece of paper happens to be the iPhone, which – despite of my best intentions – has become a repository of unmarked, unordered things I found somewhere and jotted down. The beauty of the digital age is that there’s no morning when you rub your eyes over illegible writing and throw it out. Instead you shrug your shoulders and let the note linger around, void of any context, until you rediscover it and it starts making sense.
What I am talking about is an idea that came to me while running (another moment entirely unfit for permanent remembrance) but got stuck in my head and recently resurfaced. At the time, I was being constantly rejected for the jobs I had applied for and so I was drowning out the disappointment with perpetual breakfast meals, grocery shopping away from peak times and running in the park on Tuesday afternoons. Yet what bothered me the most was the question of how to tackle the void left behind by graduating from university and no longer constantly being challenged to think. I went from writing my thesis to nothing, analogous of binge eating and fasting. How could I recreate an environment in which I would learn news things, encounter challenging thoughts and speak foreign languages. Sometimes one needs to be pushed towards these things – I have found that learning requires at least a small element of necessity: Put me on a plane to Barcelona and I’ll realize that it is time to learn Spanish if I want to have a roof over my head. Simple. Is it paranoid, then, to believe that working anywhere that doesn’t require all of these things will result in stagnation? Which brings us to the little note I found on my phone, buried deep in a pile of digital text snippets and overheard during a conversation back in November. It reads:
“I want to challenge my logic and see life from a different perspective.”
Could that be the ultimate rule for a life post university? And how does one weave it into daily life? In the ideal world, there’s a job out there, which does exactly that. Time to find it.