My sister has got it figured out. Her first job was a summer internship at the place my dad works at. In the Fall, they asked her to stay with them, and soon offered her to be full-time. She never had to put in applications all over town, or go job hunting on a rainy day, running into every store in strip malls asking if they’re hiring. She moved out as soon as she turned eighteen. Like I could ever imagine affording that. She just got married at age twenty in March of 2010. She never had to go through a post-graduation, pre-anything-meaningful-in-life, quarter-life crisis or anything. Not only is her life fulfilling, simplistic, and everything she’d always wished it would be, it’s everything I wished my life would be.
There she is, happily married, has always had an enjoyable and rewarding job, loving being a wife and cooking and working out and trying new things, driven, and being exactly where she feels she is meant to be. And here I am. I graduated High School last summer, and then went away to a wonderful school that I loved, only to be flipped on my head. My Vocal Performance major, which had been all I had known, ended up not being what I loved or thrived doing. Linguistics, my new focus, was not offered as a degree at that school. Also, it turned out that I actually felt limited and trapped on campus rather than the “Go, be free and independent!” that freshman year of college is supposed to promise.
So I came home. I transferred to my local community college, taking some courses that will work towards my degree (nothing specialized, unfortunately – just Spanish, film, English Comp, etc.). Now, I NEVER imagined myself being here. I still kind of can’t believe I’m here. Unlike my sister, I am exactly where I never hoped or thought or imagined I would be. I’m going to community college. I’m working a part-time job, to make money, to buy gas, to drive to my part-time job. I then come home, where I live with my parents, and put up with three obnoxious, past-their-cute-prime, eat-my-favorite-articles-of-clothing dogs. I have a car that thinks going into the shop once a week is a spa treatment – seriously, it’s been in the shop three or four times in one month. I didn’t just come back home to figure out what to do next, or to work and get my degree, I came home to an unfriendly not-so-welcome into the grown-up world of court dates, used car shopping, boss issues, and realizing just how unaffordable and tedious being a grown up is.
I’ve been feeling a heck of a lack of drive. There’s no diploma I’m working for, or a career I can’t wait to start and do things with, or anything like that. The next thing in life I’m really looking forward to or excited about is getting married, starting a family, being a good housewife and mom and cooking and laughing. But it’ll be quite some time until I (or my significant other) can afford a wedding and place to live. And so it’s turned to myself. The only thing I can think to set goals with is to work out X many times a week, or tone up this or that part of my body. But even that gets old and tiring and discouraging.
My mom’s been bugging me about getting back into extracurricular activities that I loved in high school, which are not as easy or simple to get involved with or that have a point as when they’re run by your school (for example, working towards a recital or concert or opening night of the Spring musical). There is an audition for a play I’m going to do, but that’s in June (and as I’m writing this, it just hit me that maybe my week away in Georgia to see my best friend in July might hinder that involvement. I know a lot of times, they want some one who will be at every rehearsal – especially for any role bigger than “Chorus Dancer #6” or “Frightened Inmate #3”). I’ve been encouraged to call my high school voice teacher to begin lessons again – which I probably will, and I’ll enjoy it, but it’ll just be to pass the time. I know now that I don’t want a vocal arts career and so I don’t know if I’ll see much reason to it other than to just further improve my skills for… what, exactly?
When I put in a lot of job applications around town when I first transferred back home, two places were interested: a sandwich shop in the town right down the road, and the Cafe I work at now, which offered me an interview and job sooner than the former had. That being said, the sandwich shop did call me twice about an interview, but I had to tell them I just couldn’t add on another job with being in school and already working part time. However, now that school is over, I called them and asked about an interview to possibly add it on as a second job. But they seemed hesitant about reconciling my current sporadic schedule and about the number of people they already have that will discontinue their employment there in the fall when school starts up again (I’ll probably just go on with my current job and school schedule, like I did last semester), and that they would call me back. And I don’t know if I really want them to ask me to come in. I don’t know if I want a second job because I might as well make money if I have time on my hands, or if I think it could be fun or if I actually don’t want it but for some reason think it might be enough of a change in my life to make things interesting. I might have a new goal of learning how things worked and the recipes and the menu. I just don’t know.
So this is where I’m left. To all of you who have it figured out and are happy and fulfilled with your lives, congratulations. You’re very fortunate to be in your position and I hope it continues to give you many years of contentment. And for all those like me, I’m sure we’ll get through and something exciting and meaningful will happen to us eventually.
And I’m just trying to figure out where to go from here.
So, a while ago I decided to grow out my hair, which had been in a bob for a while. But we all hit that stage of being bored with our hair and wanting to do something. I couldn’t cut it short again, and I didn’t want to dye it because I’m blonde and if I had then the color would have oh-so-ungracefully faded away and left a stain. So I went and got a dyed extension. That way I could have that bit of funkiness and then take it out whenever without having to worry about permanent effects.
Anyway, I just re-dyed it. The purple color the lady at the salon had done had faded a lot. I just got a drug store hair dyeing kit and the color is even more the shade I originally wanted it than ever. Aaaand it makes me want to dye my whole head that purple. Really.
Even though I’m only eighteen, I’ve been struggling lately with grown-up things – particularly since I just got my first speeding ticket. Things like points on my driver’s license, court hearings, living to work/working to live, and being generally dissatisfied and discontent with my life all around have been sitting heavily in my head. Just sloshing around in there. And I just absentee voted for my city’s school board because I’ll be out of town next week.
Overall, I have a really great life. But when compared to how I want my life to be, it’s not close at all. I know this is how life tends to be, but I think it’s even more poignant because I’m eighteen and am now legally an “adult.” But I still feel like a teenager or kid just pretending to be grown up. And what really frustrates me the most is that it’s never going to change. I don’t see a way my life will ever be what I want it to be. I’m going to school full-time and working part-time (soon to be full-time in the summer). All just to have enough money to buy gas so I can drive to work and go to school.
Back to the hair-dyeing thing, my main reason to not just do whatever with my hair I like is my boss. Or any boss, really. Where on earth could I work with purple hair? And I love painting my nails and doing my hair and dressing nice, but I can only paint my nails a neutral shade for work. I have to have my hair up and in a hat for work (which makes it difficult to recover into a good hair day if I go anywhere after), and I have to wear just a too-big black t-shirt and jeans and sneakers. For work.
And you know what? I don’t ever see it getting better. Because I’ll eventually graduate and then I’ll just be working. And having to worry about a house payment or rent. Or kids. and their school. Which means I’ll probably have to get a career job and have quotas and clients. And a cable bill. And of course a credit card bill, which I’ll probably have to apply for pretty soon. And I just don’t understand how NOT having a credit card doesn’t equal having good credit. I mean, if you don’t even put yourself in situations where you need a credit card and just be responsible and pay with cash or debit, then shouldn’t you get a default A+ or whatever? But no. Sadly, society isn’t that sensible.
I feel like I’m having a mid-life crisis. Which is really bad, because if it is mid-life, then I won’t even live to be forty. Mid-teen crisis? Whatever. And I need to fix it, but I don’t see how except to keep playing Zelda on my gameboy advance in my spare time, and holding onto that harmless shred of my childhood.
…is still TWO WEEKS AWAY. And I’m already seeing all these anti-Valentine’s Day posts and graphs and links. And, I’m sorry, but I really think it’s obnoxious.
Now, because I do happen to be in a relationship, I know a lot of readers will not consider my opinion valid on this topic. But I have been through Valentine’s Days single before, too.
It annoys me when people freak out about anti-Valentine’s things. No amount of “boycotting” is going to make the holiday go away. Sure, it’s Hallmark’s favorite money-making holiday, but that doesn’t make it evil. Don’t get anything from Hallmark, then.
I guess my point is that, if you don’t plan on celebrating V-Day this year, why ruin it for everyone else? Why give a normal day with a label for the sake of tradition have the power over you to ruin your day? Or even week? (Or, in the case of the links and blog posts I’ve been seeing, every day of February until Valentine’s.) There’s no real harm in Valentine’s Day. Why act like it’s the worst thing to happen to you?
You know that quote, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent?” This holiday is the exact same way. This day is not “ruining your life.” You are the one making yourself feel depressed or angry.
And, in my opinion, the worst part is that most of these very protesters of Valentine’s will abandon their claimed stance on the topic one they are in relationships. It’d at least be much better to hold your opinions of V-Day regardless of your romantic status.
1. I know this is something that’s on every newspaper’s list of obsolete things, but it really makes me sad: Hand-written letters. Yes, I know they’re pretty much obsolete, but their rarity only enhances their sentimental and romantic value. Not much puts a bigger smile on my face for as long as receiving a hand-written letter does. I write them to many of my friends all the time, and I wish more people would do so. Of course, they’re not every efficient for catching up on things quickly – especially if they’re a friend you talk to or see often online anyway – but they’re perfect for encouragement, love letters, and I-miss-yous.
2. “I-was-just-thinking-about-yous.” Whether from some one you know romantically or are simply friends with, these short, little messages are just sweet and encouraging. I know a lot of people – myself included – feel very out-of-sight-out-of-mind. It is so encouraging and ego-boosting to know some one was thinking of you and wanted to see how you are doing.
3. Appreciation of some one being well-dressed. Specifically, men appreciating women’s wardrobe. “You make that dress look remarkable” and “I love that color on you” is never heard nowadays. I went out running around in grey, corduroy skinny jeans and black leather boots and some one asked me why I was so dressed up and proceeded to look at me as if I were grocery shopping in a prom dress. Now, I’m not looking for compliments everyday, and I appreciate that the (awesome) people I know don’t judge me on how I dress. I just think that appreciation of being conscientious about how you present yourself has been lost a little. (Or, perhaps, appreciation in general has been lost a little.)
4. The value of knowing how to cook. Personally, my mother and grandmother are two of the women I’d love to be most like, especially for their ability to cook anything. My grandmother knows everything you could use to substitute for anything else, what oleo is, and the best methods for keeping things tidy. My mother knows what goes with what, can whip up the most delicious meals in no time, the best ways to cook things, and exactly what to do when you make a minor mistake – like putting a cup of sugar into the mixing bowl rather than a tablespoon. I know not everyone really cares about how dinner comes to be as long as they get food, but especially in this economy, it’s invaluable to be able to make French fries and pizza as well as actual dinners and entrées – on your own instead of paying for them every day.
5. Being just friends. Especially this past school year, I’ve experienced example after example – and even been straight-up told – that when guys first meet you, they’re friendly and interactive, but when they find out you’re not on the dating market, they aren’t so much interested in pursuing any kind of friendship with you. That, or that guys aren’t really friends with girls they wouldn’t date. I am NOT generalizing guys in any way; I know several men that don’t do this and I would never say men are all the same. However, I have simply encountered more men that do this than I expected.
What are your thoughts? Do you have any additions?
…all these scenarios where Granddaddy never really died, and that he’s back. And they phase me so much.
We were at Grammy’s house.
She had cleared out the garage, installed a fireplace with couches surrounding it.
But she was asking if we thought Granddaddy would like it.
He died in 2004.
But he hadn’t – she was explaining.
So Deanna, Mom, and I sat on the bench of a picnic table to the side of the room (no, that doesn’t make sense. It’s a dream. Irrelevant.). Grammy’s hovering, facing the door. (the door’s to our right.)
And we’re all just waiting for him to come home.
And there he is – he just walks right through the door in his coat, smiling, and is just talking about his day like he hasn’t even been gone for the past 5 years (I’m counting it to be 2011, because it’s December).
Deanna stands up – not excitedly, just normally – and goes and helps him with his coat, and hugs him.
But I’m paralyzed.
I can’t even say hello,
or even “look how much taller I’ve grown since you last saw me.”
Or look at him, really.
All I can do is hold my hand over my face,my eyes squinted shut as tightly as possible,
One of those cries that you do in a room with thin walls that you don’t want anyone to hear.
And your mascara is in all of your tears and going into your eyes and stinging you.
And the shock that I sink into won’t let me stop.
the first snow.
I love it.
When you walk outside into this wondrous scene, everything
Even the air your lungs try to obtain seems to be far away from you,
holding its breath.
All you can hear is your own boots shuffling along on the concrete sidewalks
and a little place in your mind is sure that time really has stopped, and you don’t even need to go to class
or that you might be the only person left on this planet.
or that perhaps you’ve finally gone deaf.
But you’re walking,
and it comes to mind that you want to be walking with some one.
Now, I don’t care who it is, or what your relationship is like,
but you want them with you.
Perhaps smiling at you over a steaming mug of stupendous hot cocoa,
or speculating about the best defense strategy were you to get ambushed by snowball-throwers.
Or, even some one to there to catch you if you slip.
and you’re never sure if that electrifying jolt of adrenaline is because you nearly fell,
or from their arms protecting you
from melting away
seeping into puddles and icicles and snowflakes and trees
Whether you prefer indoors or outdoors in wintertime, walking inside is so much better this time of year.
the rush of warmth,
the heat hugging you enveloping you
it’s cozyand the white dust in everyone’s hair
and you are all left with damp, imperfect tendrils
and rosy cheeks
and cold noses
All the energy and lightness
the Christmas trees(!)
and sweet Christmas lights (!!)
and the giving and the getting and the glowing
and the loving and the lighting and the listening
and the sweets and the songs that get stuck in your head
“bury me in your quiet love
breath becomes visible
as if a reminder
that you are doing something.
that you are living.
that you are here.
and that the air you’re breathing and living on is the same air sustaining every other person
As for me,
I’m a snowfall kind of girl.
indoors, outdoors, cuddling, curled alone with a book
it’s all for me
is all for me
and better call me inside
or I will become part of the snow.
They say that art
isn’t about how it looks,
it’s about how it makes us feel.
When you called me a work of art,
this is what I thought of.
That doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would.
wash over me
i fear not
to figure out
and when you
is a choice
i want you
i can handle
gusts of wind
causing the battering
you’re a story
it was rough
i tell ya
and they marvel
out the window
via peter dewolfe