When I graduated from university over a year and a half ago, I became quite intrigued by Buddhism. I gradually started to incorporate some of its principles into my everyday life. I interpreted certain things in my own way, which the teachings encourage you to do. I unlearnt the notion of regret. I stopped complaining about people, I even learnt to detach myself from material objects. I meditated. I was practically a Buddha. I felt ineffably good. But then the real world started to creep in, and a year later I've aged five years.
"These are hard times for dreamers"
I find myself craving the way I felt when I made stress and tension the enemy. I'm sure many graduates will agree, however, it's not easy to remain calm. Okay, so comparatively we haven't got it that bad. But lack of experience, debt and the gradual and reluctant comedown from university is not a pleasant equation sometimes. This is a world where HBO's Girls is being said to 'define a generation' and is being praised for being so honest, raw and accurate. What generation of job-hopping graduates can afford to live in a far-from-crack-den-like Brooklyn apartment?
I live in a grotty flat where monthly rent costs more than my nail polish collection (and that's not cheap). I've been threatened with a fine by my estate agent for leaving a dirty plate overnight in the kitchen, but my toothless flatmate has driven me to barricading the bedroom door with a duvet to stop me choking to sleep on her cigarette smoke.
My overdraft is like a legless mole. It saw daylight once, but it was a fleeting and once-in-a-lifetime treat. I've spent approximately 500,000 hours applying for jobs over the past six months. Living a life high on meditation just isn't feasible. That's the irony behind Buddhism - the more stressed you are, the harder it is. So here are my top tips for incorporating Buddhism principles for graduates.
Remember the transience of life
Remind yourself that one day, you will die. And your overdraft won't be a problem anymore.
Don't fantasize about pouring custard over every employer that doesn't hire you.
Enjoy that meal out, because it's back to the beans on toast.
This can be quite a precarious activity if you live with someone who likes to think of herself as a 'DJ' (or any other noisy environment). Instead, focus on the sirens, arguing drunks, gang noise or whatever other delights your limited income allows for. Meditate to the sounds of life letting you down and see how long it takes before you devote your time to more useful activities.
Remember: your mental attitude is the key to happiness
Fake happiness. They say that if you smile, you can trick your body into thinking it's happy.
Avoid idle gossip
Tell your friend to his\her face that you hate him\her for having a well-paid, decent job.
Remember that all sentient beings are alike in that they want to be happy and avoid suffering
There is a forgivable explanation for getting you to travel to three interviews to then tell you you've not got enough experience. Let go and forgive...
Honesty is good for your karma. Tell that employer why you really want the job. I'm sure he'll appreciate that you had no idea who the company was until this morning.
Remove any jealousy, craving, hatred and greed to free yourself from suffering
Sometime there's no graduate alternative