Thursday, May 22, 2008

not knowing the next

Twenty eight appears to be the year when adulthood takes its firmest hold yet. Sure, you've supported yourself for a number of years, you've made some big steps, you've been to a few weddings etc. But now your peers are having babies, and people's master's degrees and law degree's have some dust on their frames already. You're actually in this thing called "grown up." I think I'm mostly o.k. with this, especially since I'm finally taking some steps toward living a grown up life I can be comfortable in, but it never ceases to amaze me how little I really expect from it all. I look at friends and family who are having babies, and there's this sense of just knowing that this was what this stage in life called for. No question - this is the time, this is what is meant to be done. I have such a hard time relating, because when I look at my future I don't have any must-be-dones or this-will-be-the-times. I can't imagine being pregnant, don't know when that fits into my life, or if it does at all. I can't imagine running a household, or having enough money to fill one with real furniture. I live my life in the context of an individual, a shared home with only a room to fill and a single meal to prepare at the end of the evening (unless I'm cooking for my roommate too, of course).

It's not that I'm worried about this - I'm really not. It's just that it seems so different than so many people who have this clear progression of what life looks like in their heads. College, grad-school, marriage, kids, move, buy house, buy new car, take big trip, get promoted, buy new house etc. etc. etc. I just don't see any of it. I just keep making decisions as they are presented, doing my best to stay in tune with a gut-feeling of what is right for me and what is not, and trying to trust that there's a direction to it all. In my brief meeting with a career counselor I can't afford, I told her about the steps I've taken career wise, and she asked me how much money I'd like to ultimately make. ?????? Haven't given it a second thought. Would like to make more than I do now, that's for sure, but I don't really think about what a future income could mean other than knowing I want to be able to give my hypothetical kids the same opportunities that I've had. Given that this seems 99% impossible with the way of the economy and cost of living, I kind of just push the whole thing from my head and go back to my happy place of "follow your gut and it all works out."

I think to a certain extent I'm taking the same approach to love. I have a vague idea of what Mr. Right might be like, but no real concrete vision. So I base my attraction and interactions with men on the moment - is it there, or is it not? Can we laugh together right now? Do I want him to hold my hand, or more? Instant connections are nice and all - but it seems so shallow in the scheme of things. Wouldn't some sort of expectation be a better bet? And you know what? I'm not even talking about a vision of the person, but the vision of the life as a whole - it's just so damn vague. I don't really know what type of a relationship I aspire to because I can't really imagine myself in one. I don't know where I want to live because I can't really imagine a job that I will do that I might find in said place. I can't really imagine a job I might do because I have yet to find one that didn't make me want to shoot myself well over half the time.

So I plod "forward" but where am I going?

It's strange to be more or less at peace with who I am right now, but to have moments where I almost completely can discredit my entire thought process solely by looking at what others are doing and how much more they seem to have figured out than I do. Though if I'm honest with myself, it's not really about figuring anything out - it's about a sense of peace or understanding that some seem to either have, or don't. And I don't want to dismiss what they have figured out to make my path seem more mighty or prudent - just as I don't want to dismiss myself entirely in order to acknowledge their contentment with their own lives.

It's a funny and fine line, one that wandered a bit throughout this post but leaves me with plenty of food for thought.



Blogger Lisa said...

This really, really resonated with me, especially the what next and how much money and all those things people ask you when you're trying to sort things out. I'm now (finally) at a place where I'm really happy with someone and absolutely certain of a couple concrete "us" steps...but not much beyond that, at least not in terms of "me" steps, if that makes any sense.

5/23/2008 12:35 PM  
Blogger Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

You're right. That's about the age where we have to stop f'ing around. However, I'm pushing that moment back until 38.

5/24/2008 12:36 PM  
Blogger Natalie said...

I am turning 29 next week and, despite working at a place where grad school would be paid for, have no clue what I want to be when I grow up. At least I'm content with my work for now. It's completely scary.

5/27/2008 11:46 AM  
Blogger Mood Indigo said...

Lisa - per usual, it's nice to know you "feel" me. It will be fun to see what your next steps are - and in the meantime, I'd focus on having found the we - pretty exciting in itself!

Dr. Ken - cool, I think I might join you in that ;)

Natalie - here's to hoping that we both look back in a year with thankfulness for our newfound sense of purpose/direction/exploration whatever! Perhaps we won't have the official outline (maybe we never will) but at least have a sense of the next few steps!

5/27/2008 1:06 PM  

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