January 21st, is a weird day for me.
Today, I am curled up with my phone, watching footage of thousands of women marching in New York and D.C. in protest of the presidency of Donald Trump, and in solidarity with the idea of “justice for all”.
Four years ago, I was purchasing my first ball gown. In a stroke of amazingly good luck, one of my friends had been given tickets to the Obama Inaugural Ball. Later that night, I would see Michelle and Barack for the first time, and I would dare to believe in magic.
And seventeen years ago, in this moment, I was hours away from getting into a car with my mother for what would be the last time. Hours away from attempting to make a left turn that instead of delivering us home as we thought it would, delivered me into a new world in which I would have to learn to exist without the woman who brought me into it.
Let me get this out of the way first: I am NOT ready to get married yet.
I don’t know if I want kids.
Sometimes I think I’d prefer the ring over the husband.
I’m open to the idea that I might “change my mind about all of this in a bit,” but right now, I’m good!
Previously, when I have drifted away from my normal subject matter of life and freedom towards the rocky road of writing about relationship stuff, my posts have been directed at just the ladies.
But can I just say out loud that I don’t care if you are rocking a set of testes or a pair of ovaries, thinking about all of that “LIFE” stuff is kinda scary?
Guys, today, just for me, can you step up and say that despite your lack of biological clock, this LIFE shit gets scary to you too?
Okay, phew. Thanks. Continuing on…
First, a story:
Two Gen Y’ers are having a drink at a local restaurant. Well, one Gen Y’er is. The other one was lured in by the smell of fried chicken. While munching on crispy, fried goodness and sipping a cool ale, respectively, the two twenty-somethings strike up a friendly conversation which (naturally) turns into a discussion about careers.
Gen Y’er #1: I work in finance, but I love to snow board. I wish I lived in California where I can snowboard all of the time. I know I wouldn’t make a ton of money, but I think I would be happy.
Gen Y’er #2: Really? Well, why don’t you move and go snowboard since you know that’s what you want to do?
Gen Y’er #1: Well, how would I explain that to my family? All of my life they told me to get a good job. They won’t understand that I want to snowboard. I’m thinking about applying for grad school in California. My family will support me getting an MBA. Then I can snowboard too!
Gen Y’er #2: You want to go into major debt so that you can justify your decision? Ummm…whose life are you living, here?
This was my Friday night, and I am sure I am not the only twenty-something that had this discussion. In fact, I’m sure this is a conversation between young adults that regularly takes place at bars and restaurants all over the world. I often wonder which is stronger, our fear of personal failure? Or our fear of disappointing our families?
You are replaceable.
I mean this in the very best way possible.
When you realize just how replaceable you really are, it will be liberating. It will free your mind to think of ways to create epic coolness that makes you happy. The kind of stuff you can’t create in a relationship (work or otherwise) that should have ended a long, long, time ago.
Let’s imagine that you work as a receptionist for a company that stocks furniture in offices. You arrive every morning at nine, make sure there is plenty of milk in the kitchen, then proceed to waste the rest of your day trying to make it look like you are “busy”.
You hate this job.
I used to think happiness was this elusive thing that you needed to search for. In my mind, it was right up there with the rumored pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or the fountain of youth.
I spent way too much time defining happiness in the wrong way. I focused on how I didn’t have it, cursing it for not “coming” to me, and thinking that happiness is something that just “happens” instead of thinking of it as a tangible thing that I can build for myself. I actually had to reach the bottom floor of a personal breakdown before I figured out that happiness really can’t be bought in any form and that is not just something that appears randomly one day.
For me, reaching the bottom allowed me to see how I could create happiness for myself. If you are starting to feel as if a tumble down might be necessary before you can really get started building the life you want, I have some ideas for you: