At 23, I realize I have a fair number of friends and acquaintances who are married or almost married. They have jobs and houses and really cute cats. And for a split second each time I'm reminded, I fight the feeling of being horribly unsettled. I'm a single girl with a really only a bedroom to call my own for now and a lot of socks that don't match.
Three of my closest friends are are scattered across the Western states, each of them with a grown-up job and an apartment and a couple of them with serious boyfriends. They have car payments and salaries and can eat cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner without someone so much as batting an eyelash. Sometimes, I envy that security, that freedom and that perceived independence.
And then I remember that I'm really exactly where I'm supposed to be. Because those freedoms come with a price I don't yet have to pay, literally and figuratively. Because I essentially work for my room and board, I can work short hours at my three OTHER jobs and not have to worry about making rent. My scrappy little Honda is paid for. My debt is minimal at best, and I can go on weekend climbing trips as often as my schedule and pocketbook will allow (which still isn't as often as I'd like). I make just enough to support the odd weekend at the dropzone, pay for most of my food so I don't eat my amazing “family” out of house and home, and get the few bills and expenses I do have out of the way.
At 23, sometimes I have the desire to be a little more settled (don't tell my mom or I'd totally ruin my free-spirit reputation that drives her crazy), to have a reason to browse used furniture for pieces to turn into projects or to experience the odd satisfaction in choosing matching barstools or curtains. I'm pretty normal--I sometimes want those things. But MORE than that, right now I love that I don't feel like I have to be anyone in particular just yet. I don't have to confront the reality that I might NOT be a expedition leader in the Himalayas or live as a writer in a studio apartment in the heart of New York City--two dreams that have occupied my focus for more than their fair share these last several years. I can enjoy being mismatched, and not just with regards to my socks.
On the best days, I feel like I could be anyone I'd like to be. On the not-so-good days, I consider that in all reality I may spend some time in a job I don't love but take because it's the best offer I've got. On most days, however, I remember that I'm an innately happy individual with a knack for being pretty content most anywhere. I try to keep this in mind especially on the days when I'm feeling pressure to decide who it is I want to be, or that I feel like I'm not meeting expectations, set either by me or someone else.
Of course, this all sounds very good on paper, er, on the screen, especially to an impulsive idealist like myself. And even though I eschew resolutions for the new year, I decided upon waking up today that I was going to make a few changes to the way I look at things. I've been so anxiety-ridden the last few months that I didn't realize what a toll it was taking on me. I feel badly for the folks who've been gracious enough to stand by on my angsty days and share each meltdown-du-jour. On my exceptionallly beautiful drive into town this morning, I couldn't help but smile, and about halfway there I found the words I was looking for.
I'd like to choose peace. To practice it, to seek it, to listen for it, and to encourage it. In myself, and in others. I've already got the enthusiasm thing down pretty solidly, so I think I'd be well served to learn to temper that just a little with some well-executed peace. By no means do I contend that I will tone down my energy, just learn to use it as constructively (emotionally, mentally, physically) as I can.
For my part, day one went pretty well, save for the fact that it's
Goodnight, dear friends! May your 2010 be full of blessings and hugs.