I just came across a post called “Are you where you thought you’d be?” from Hello, I’m Flawed. After describing how her life, in many ways, makes her happy, writer Caroline admits “But I can’t escape the fact that it looks nothing like I imagined.”
Aaaannnd that was like a splash of cold water to my face. I sat up straighter, took a breath, and and thought about where I was and where I might be.
I’m nearly thirty (Caroline is thirty…something about that number causes reflection, for better or worse) and I live in an apartment. I love my apartment and my neighborhood. Over the past year, as friend and Facebook friends alike have started to buy homes, I have come to the slow and painful realization that I will never be able to afford to buy a home in the area where I currently live. Hell, I can’t really imagine affording a home anywhere. I am still a student and I make my living doing a combination of teaching, bartending, and consulting. My schedule is flexible and I know that I am lucky in that way, but I hate the jealous feeling that creeps in when my friends with office jobs mention vacation time, benefits, or sick days. I have yucky bitter feeling when I hear about people who travel a lot (and I do travel! I have no reason for that bitter feeling!). I feel like I am thirty and still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up; I sometimes fantasize about where I would be if I didn’t make the choice to go back to school (in the humanities! why oh why did no one stop me!?) in my mid-20s; my undergrad loans are like a monster lurking in the closet. Sometimes when I think about the fact that when my mom was my age, she had one child and another on the way, I get a feeling of “what am I doing?” but honestly, that feeling goes away. My main “I’m-almost-thirty-commence-stereotypical-freak-out” is career related. In the sense that I don’t have one.
I am fully aware how “first world problems” this post is, and how all of these things stem from my own choices and my own values. Reminding myself of that is good, and I thinking writing it out is good too. I’d like to thank Caroline for the motivation to take stock of all this. Though thinking all this through sometimes causes full-fledged panicky feelings, it also reminds me of how my choices have led me to a city I love and introduced me to people I am so grateful to have in my life.
I’m gonna continue to nurse a slight bitterness towards people who seem to be on vacation every other week. I mean, that’s why they post those pictures, right?