Sometimes I feel like I am in post-college limbo. Or that college was an amazingly exciting and sexy affair I just can’t get over.
I feel like something is just holding me back with one thread as I’m running as fast as I can but stay in place. I feel emotionally mature enough to have a Real Life. And if I can’t have a Real Life, then can I at least just be back in college? No? Sigh.
I am a cliche it seems. Unemployed, 20something, and moving back in with family. I know I’m not this super unique person with rare problems- so many people my age are in this exact situation. That makes me feel a lot better. At least I’m part of some kind of historical event- that means something, right?
I just moved out of my adorable perfect little studio in Santa Barbara and in with my sister, which is definitely not the equivalent of moving in with my parents- but it still means that I don’t have a place of my own. Which just sucks, I’m sorry.
I am so so so lucky to have not only my sister, but my boyfriend and his amazing roommates who let me stay with them and pretend that I’m still in college (complete with a kegerator and parties where no one really cares where beer spills).
But it still sucks to not have my own place anymore. Emily reminded me of this. I always try and look at my life and remember how grateful I should be- which I am. But the other day Emily reminded me that I’m not crazy to be cranky about not having a place to call my own.
There’s that part- no space that I can decorate all girly-like and walk around in a horrendous state where no one will see me.
But there’s also the part where I don’t have a job. Which is just confusing. You forget what day it is, what time it is… you’re ready to party on a Tuesday night and everyone else thinks you’re crazy.
Then there’s the constant guilt- did I do enough today? Did I apply to enough jobs? Along with the awkward moments: “So, what have you been up to lately Steph?” “…..I did yoga last week I think. And I applied to 12 jobs. And I walked to the gas station once to get Anthony candy just for an excuse to go somewhere outside….”
The worst in my opinion, however, is the Identity Thing. At 25, I feel like I should have some kind of career path going, at least. Ideally I would have a badass title and a great salary. But I would settle for just a job that makes sense in the context of some type of career and that allows me to, I don’t know, afford a car.
I hate that in our culture our occupation defines who we are in a lot of ways. The first question you ask people when you meet them is usually “What do you do?”. This makes sense considering we spend most of our time at our workplace. But when you don’t have a job, or the job you have doesn’t mean much to you, it sucks to live in a world where people attach so much meaning to it.
I’m getting better at disregarding this stuff and remembering that I’m ONLY 25 and can switch jobs, careers, styles, religions, hair colors- whatever- as much as I want. Who I am has nothing to do with “what I do” most of the time. So I’m working on valuing my relationships and passions more and taking time to cultivate those to feel good about myself.
I also feel proud that I have been financially independent since I graduated college. Of course I have student debt and I live with my sister rent-free and eat her food off and on…. but there is something so freeing about being the only one who really cares how much is in your checking account. No one else has to know. I can spend my last 10 dollars on a six pack and it would only be my business. I don’t know, it just feels good.
There is so much that I want to do now that I have a partner that I’m ready to start a life with. It makes it hard when that partner is just as broke as I am, but it’s also nice to know I’m not alone and we’re figuring it all out together.
Hopefully I’ll look back on this time in a kind of romantic way. I always hear my parents tell stories about how they were so broke they didn’t know how they were gonna pay rent, how hard searching for jobs without the internet was, etc. At least I know I can survive on ramen and microwave quesadillas with no job and still be insanely happy.
My badass title currently: 25, Broke and Fabulous. Hmm- I should update that on LinkedIn.