As you put together yet another soya latte you realise that despite the disparaging comments, working as a barista really isn’t that bad. All this pressure to go off into a ‘high flying’ career and work yourself to death in London probably isn’t worth it when you can live a pretty alright life making cups of tea for strangers in a trendy café.
You don’t know what to talk about because the social anxiety sets in just as you open your mouth. Well it’s not so much that you don’t know what to talk about, you know exactly what you want to be saying but instead you Inevitably start recommending films about goats rather than giving any indication that you’re a properly rounded human being.
Listening through Bruce Springsteen’s back catalogue you’re starting to realise that the man is a prophet, a poet, and a philosopher. As you wonder about whether you should take a risk and step out, just remember that “you can’t start a fire worried about your little world falling apart”.
It’s better to start being more straightforward about your relationships. Just tell your ‘love interest’ that you were only in it for their dog, and that you’d much rather be their dog walker than enter some weird symbiotic relationship.
The creeping realisation that you’re not that special is something to embrace because it really takes the pressure off performing. The beautiful stranger in the library was looking out of the window at the sunset, not assessing your poorly put together outfit. You’re not that big of a deal, and that’s liberating.
As you sit up at night thinking about all the futures that are open to you, you realise that there’s so much to do, so much to see, so what’s wrong with taking the back streets? You’ll never know if you don’t go, you’ll never shine if you don’t glow. Hey, now, you’re an All Star, get your game on, go play…
As you hammer out your dissertation on the relationship between 19th century North African piracy and the misappropriation of history by right wing war mongers to justify a deeply racist foreign policy in the years since 9/11, you realise that a certain man who became famous playing alongside the E Street Band summarised your thesis in a 2009 interview with The Guardian when he paraphrased William Faulkner by suggesting that “The past is never the past. It is always present.”
This degree in English literature was meant to improve your skills as a communicator, but instead constantly criticising and evaluating the ways in which others have expressed their innermost thoughts has just left you cynical and sarcastic.
Working out your place in this changing and tumultuous world is becoming increasingly difficult and the anxiety of choosing the wrong route is driving you to despair. But you should try and focus on the big picture and pay attention to the wisdom of a certain singer songwriter from New Jersey, instead of fretting about the future you should konw that “what else can we do now? Except roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair”. And bearing in mind the spirit of social resistance intrinsic to The Great Man’s music, that surely means rolling with life whilst trying to do the best you can for the people you love.
Moving back home means going into a small village somewhere between Bath and Bristol, it’s time to think about carving out your space somewhere else in the world when you graduate with your degree in advanced cutlery carving. Or you could just turn your back on it all and hitchhike across Europe for a couple of years whilst evading the bureaucrats trying to make you pay back four years of lucrative tuition loans, after all, “tramps like us baby we were born to run [from our responsibilities and end up working in a kitsch hostel in Bratislava instead of facing up to the adult world]”
As you try and work out what went wrong in your string of failed relationships, you remember that a wise man who was responsible for such hits as “Born in the USA”, “The River”, and “Dancing in the Dark” once said that “when it comes to love there aint no doubt, you just aint gonna get what you want with one foot in bed and one foot out – you got to give it all or nothing at all”.
Your friends are worried about the way you are increasingly dependent on pop culture figures for advice on how to get through the uncertainty that characterises your early twenties. As you look in the mirror and question whether anyone could ever fall in love with you again, you remember the words of a man who though born in 2016 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and has totalled album sales of more than 120 million records worldwide: “you aint a beauty but hey you’re alright.”
Photo: Chris Lexow