Solanin, by Inio Asano, is about Meiko Inoue, a recent college grad working a 9-5 that she hates. Sound like anyone you know? She fears she’ll end up a faceless employee, so she quits. Her boyfriend, Taneda Naruo is a freelance illustrator and doesn’t make enough to support himself so he permanently crashes at her apartment.
Meiko, like many of us twentysomethings, is in that transitory stage where she’ll have to make critical decisions that may affect the rest of her life. She struggles with figuring out her place in society, which causes her to question if she’s even cut out for the real world.
With our thirties tapping us Millennials on the shoulder, we are left with this nagging feeling to search for purpose before we get trapped in a passionless routine. (Queue existential crisis.) Like a remixed version of Joan Didion’s essays, a lot of us are “Slouching Towards Adulthood”. It’s a splinter we try to ignore. We hope it goes away, or that we’ll get used to the pain. But there will come a day when we’ll have to either do something about it, or decide to live with that splinter. To quote my favorite anime Cowboy Bebop, “You’re gonna carry that weight.”
Meiko’s first step was quitting a job that wasn’t fulfilling. But what’s next? What do you do, when you don’t know what to do?
You live. You make mistakes. You get to know yourself. Find out what you like and what you don’t like. You cling to your passions like Teneda clung to music and his band. You do what you want to do.
I know I’m dangerously flirting with the age where I have to start acting like a self-sustaining adult. These are the years where I’m sculpting my future and I wasn’t happy with the shape it was taking. So I did something about it. Just like Meiko, I don’t want to end up spending 9+ hours of my day feeling empty.
I know nothing good can come by waiting for good to come. You have to take risks. It’s scary, but also exhilarating. If you’re a recent grad, or feeling lost about life and your place in it, I suggest reading Solanin.
Life’s too short to be anything but happy.
Always follow your happy.