“Dans le café de la jeunesse perdue”

“Dans le café de la jeunesse perdue” or its English name “In the Cafe of Lost Youth” was the title of a novel written by 2014 Nobel Laureate Patrick Modiano. I have not read the book yet but just heard about the book for several times or happened to see the cover of the book in the bookstore. The title, as its cover I have seen in the book store, sounds gloomy and it somehow strikes a chord with the minds of many young ones who struggle to search the meaning of their own existence after all these years. I mean 16 years spending at schools (inclusive of time at university/ colleges) and a couple of years struggling to go aloft the corporate ladder. It, however, is not always the case, I mean, the fact that the feeling of getting lost happened to ones running in the rat race of big corporation. The feeling of getting lost in one’s own life can be easily found in every young one, no matter the ways they choose themselves after graduation. Then, that a young one getting lost in his own life’s uncertainty spent some of his free time doing nothing, sitting in the corner of a café and reflecting about his own life makes him easily empathize with the title of the novel.

The post, however, is not about the novel. A critic cannot make his own comments when he has not read the novel. I am not the exception. But writing about the lost youth does not necessitate reading the novel of the lost youth in the café. I have my own story about the young ones spending time in the café and it is a blessing for not reading a writing of the same theme for the sake of objectivity.

Recently, my close friends keep asking me a question: “How do you do? Have you planned to apply for higher education?” Two days ago, when we had a quick hang-out with friends from my CFA class to bid a goodbye to a member in my class, who is 2 years junior to me and about to study in Norway for the next 2 years, other members in my class asked me whether I had any plan to go anywhere.

I was not so good at telling my own plan in the public. Actually, I always tried to conceal my own plans when ones asked me about them. I did not do it on purpose. Such concealment may be rooted from my own personality, for I am not quite comfortable at showing who I am in the public. Perhaps I am not so convinced about the possibility of mine to accomplish these goals. For most of the times, I just answered: “Uhm, I am giving some thoughts on this matter and I don’t know.” Sometimes, I hated myself for keeping answering in such a boring way and I don’t know if my friends get bored at such vague answers or not. Sometimes I told that I planned to go to Taiwan for a course in Chinese. A friend of mine, who is about to go to Ireland this August, said to me that it was a cool idea and she kept asking me about what I had prepared for the plan so far.  A friend of mine, however, thought that it might be not worth leaving my current workplace for such a place for such a program. I know that it may come as a surprise to almost everybody who may not know about me well. And for ones who do not have a strong interest in Chinese, they cannot think of any reason of going to Taiwan for a Chinese course. And whenever ones say that, I always answered that if I lingered here for more, I would never fulfill that dream.

And I have never told them that I have not finished yet. Or I do not have enough courage to say the remaining part of my dream, which is to spend one or two years in the US or in the Europe to pursue higher education. I just wonder myself if such plan should be feasible.

This morning, when I was about to leave home for office, I received a message from a friend of mine on Facebook. We started to be friends on Facebook two years ago but we have not made any conversation so far. We knew each other through the stories told by the mutual friends shared between of us. He was quite famous among my friends and my colleagues for his tenacity, his commitment to success and his academic and career achievements so far. I remember a long time ago, he sent me an inbox on LinkedIn and told me that my writing was interesting and encouraged me to keep up my writing. And today he asked me whether I figured out the next steps to take in my journey. His message came to me as a surprise, and I must admit that such surprise was cool somehow and kept me thinking a lot during the working hours. It reminded me about me 3 years ago when I was so eager to search everything about MBA programs in the US. Even now, after a long time without reading about all these information, it is no big deal for me to catch up in the conversations with ones who are applying to the US. I honestly answered him: “I have already taken some steps towards the goal I set 3 years ago but I am not as convinced or certain about it as I was 3 years ago.” It is my honest answer and it should be my own paradigm. When I was inexperienced, I did think that finding the answer for the question “Why MBA” was just a cup of tea. When I get more experiences, I am not convinced about any answer of mine for the same questions. Or my mind gets more perplexed and makes things more complicating than needed. (By the way, making things become more complicating has been the remark given to me by everybody since I was a ten-year-old kid and I have not figured the way to fix this shortcoming yet.) Sometimes I wish I could be less sophisticated.

Coming back to the hang-out at the coffee shop the day before tomorrow, when being asked about the career track taken after graduating from BI in Norway, that little girl told us that she wanted to work in the private equity. I wish I could be that easy-going and assertive. Sometimes I wish I could be that naïve or filled with the confidence partly brought by an ignorant mind and I could be that composed to share about the craziest dreams of mine. As one friend of mine once said, I was good but I need a lot of motivation to have all that good things fully activated. It, however, came as a relief to me when that young girl could not think of any pastime or what to do when she got bored. Or she just did not want to reveal her own pastimes. At least, that ones cannot be assertive at every topic may be a piece of good news to me.

Should I keep rambling on about the lost youth in this post anymore, you may think that the writer or me actually a typical youth wasting her time which should be devoted to studying for her upcoming IELTS exam or preparing for the application essays for universities. I want to spare some lines for another youth I happened to be acquainted with for the last six months. A young one, who is two years senior to me, graduated from a well-ranked institution abroad and currently worked for a big local bank. He is intelligent, humorous, a little bit satirical and he is quite confident about all these things. However, I sometimes feel that he got lost too. For a while, he may get excited at some ideas but you may find him lose enthusiasm when talking about that same topic a couple of weeks later. I find him sharing some common ideas or beliefs towards everything with me but sometimes I find him too sophisticated to understand. And I wonder if I were also the same person, who gets difficulty in being understood and how I was in the eyes of the ones that surround.

I do not fret about the state of getting lost. It is sometimes troublesome but thinking that the state of getting lost is an entitlement specifically and exclusively given to the young hearts may do a great relief.

As I have mentioned somewhere in this blog, I do not has a flair for closing the deal. The same thing happens when it comes to the closing part of the writing. Perhaps, a song may help. As what was written in a famous song, we are just specks of dust within the galaxy, trying to search for the meaning of our own existence or we are lost stars trying to light up the dark.

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