This post has been a long time coming and I have been hinting at it for a while.
Last month, I left my very decent job to become a Philosophy student.
To some people, perhaps this will seem crazy. Quitting a job with good prospects, a salary, the opportunity to travel, throwing away the social capital of liking and trust I’d made efforts to build, to have to pinch pennies back at university exhausting savings that could better have been spent on a pension or house, all to study for an unnecessary extra degree that may well not improve my future prospects – this is not the mentality that makes one a second homeowner or a comfortable early retiree.
Why? Is this just millennial traipse, or fear of commitment and hard work?
About a year ago I started this blog. I was obviously tired of the London Young Professional vibe: the shallow pursuits, the burning through money, the illusion of ‘doing life’ that had me blindly attempting to advance ‘my career’ without evaluating whether that should be a top priority, and filling in the gaps in the pub while failing to pursue any deeper yearnings that arose. I started the blog, eventually, because I wanted a reason to read more, engage with things, keep my mind active; and a few months later, I started making my applications.
Something was obviously missing; where else, among so many advantages, could the drive for these first small and later more drastic changes come from, other than from a deep lack that bubbled along under the surface even if, many days, it didn’t make itself felt. That feeling that something is lacking is not fleeting, and it’s not laziness or entitlement that makes me think I should pursue it whole-heartedly rather than waste time wondering whether it’s normal and will go away. No matter how many books and blogs you squeeze into your (very limited) spare time, how many times you try to re-engineer your daily tasks around it, that feeling will grow and ripen until you can no longer ignore it, until the day when it has no choice but to drop from the tree. Ultimately, it became clear that I was missing Important Information About The World, and systematically catching up on this, or at least giving myself the apparatus to do so, required something more than churning out articlettes every now and then when the mind is at its least fresh.
Who cares? I hear you say. People do this all the time. Well, this certainly isn’t one of those articles on ‘How to quit your job and pursue your dream’. If nothing else, this is a note to self about decision-making and drive. When I sat down and looked at all possible outcomes, it became clear that no compromise was possible; or, that ‘what gave’ had to be advancement and money, and not time or desire. The gut wants what the gut wants!
Let us hope that the grass of pastures new will turn out to be as green as it looked from the tarmac.