It feels weird not to know what you want to be when you grow up by the time you’re 36.
When I got out of my “extended” stay at college, I had absolutely no clue what I wanted to do or more importantly, what I was GOING to do with my life. I fell into a deep dark depression of self-loathing, and pity parties became my norm. It wasn’t until I found a couple books called “The Quarterlife Crisis” and “Roadtrip Nation” that I was able to pull myself out of my self-induced mid-twenties funk and become a “normal” human of society. It felt good to know I wasn’t the only one who felt like this, and even though I knew deep down I wasn’t alone, being the only single girl in the suburbs living with her parents, bar-tending at the local pizza shop made me feel like I was the only person on the planet that felt lost, confused and already drowning in student loan payments. Woe was me and all that self-absorbed bs that comes from the post-collegiate letdown of the century.
But it was these books (and mainly these books alone) that “saved” me. I will never forget the power that those paperbacks had on me to this day. The power of the written word to make you feel less alone.
Fast-forward 10 years, four addresses and two “real” jobs later, and I once again find myself at that bitter crossroads of “what the hell am I doing with my life” – you know the one…the “ok Universe, I’m older and wiser, yet feel more lost than ever…” The life where “shoulds” rear their ugly head and while you try to keep them at bay, you are constantly asking – this can’t be all there is to life, right?
Have you met the “shoulds?” Let me introduce you to mine:
I should know what I want to be by now.
I should be married by now.
I should have 2.5 kids and a house by now.
I should be contributing to my 401k by now*
I should have…should be…should have…
Do you ever wonder where those shoulds come from? Is it societal or familiar pressure, or is that just something we do to deflect that blame that really, it’s us who are leading ourselves down this self-induced path of self-loathing reflection?
These are things I still desire in my life, but one thing I am finding out, is even if you have the career you’ve always desired, or the 2.5 kids or the house in the suburbs with the lake house for the weekend…you are still constantly questioning, “is this it”. At least that is where I am at the moment. I do want the house, but I moved 2,000 miles away from my family to live in a one-bedroom that is twice what my mortgage payment was. (I wish I were kidding). And while the sun does shine more days than not, I am usually seeing it through my (non) rose-colored glasses while keeping my road rage at bay in bumper to bumper traffic (La La Land’s opening scene was NOT exaggerated). It’s not only hard out here for a pimp; it’s hard out here for anyone making a decent living, just trying to survive! But I don’t regret a second of it – I’m just finding that sometimes, the path that I once saw for myself – the path that I am headed down now – I am still unsure if it’s the path I want to be on.
And that’s scary. The big “unknown”. I always say to people – if I was just 10 years younger… I could totally do this. But I’m not 10 years younger, and I’m not necessarily saying I can’t do this…just that my curiosity of the human condition has taken hold and I’m wondering what else is out there!
I know some people would balk at the fact that I have a “stable” job in Hollywood, one that people would, absolutely without a doubt, kill (or slightly injure) for…so quit your bitching. And yet here I write, wondering, curious about life beyond the bubble. How dare I, right?
Which brings me back to my first loves: reading and writing. I have found a couple of books lately that are making me feel quite less alone in this self-reflective journey of universe questioning and life pondering. One of these books is called “Roadmap” – and ironically it’s written by the same authors as “Roadtrip Nation”, that very book that helped me out of my mid-twenties slump. Funny how the universe works…
And without going too much into it (but highly recommended – click on the titles to learn more) – by reading these books, I feel less alone in my now mid-thirties struggle for identity. When most of your co-workers are just cracking the 30 year old mark, it’s inspiring to know that people question their lives and their paths constantly, and it’s totally, if not beneficially, ok. Being the over-thinker I am, I, of course, think I am over-thinking and tell my overactive brain to STFU and (usually) go to bed. But it is books like these that make me feel like – hey, you are completely normal in your plight, and yes, you should be questioning everything, because without curiosity, where would we be?
All this run-on soliloquy is saying is, I am just starting to accept the fact that I don’t have all the answers to my life path and goals, and while that sometimes makes me feel like I am floundering in this life of mine, it is pleasantly obvious that I am not the only one. And that makes me feel like maybe the universe has another adventure for me that I haven’t even pondered (or over-thought) yet, and that, to me, is exciting.
*don’t worry Dad, I am contributing something to the retirement plan…