So, I'm stuck in this blizzard hitting the East Coast right now. I'm alone in the house, as my mother is staying at the nursing home she works at.
I've got some beef stew roasting, thoughts of brownie-making in the future, and a belief that I will likely chase some shots of rum with hard cider while I watch some movies.
Alone with my thoughts, I thought I'd go over where I'm at right now, as a newly-minted 30-nothing, and where I want to be, and the general confusion I still have.
First of all, I feel closer to myself than I have in a long time. I got hit with such devastatingly depressing things in a very short time period- unable to get a job for all of 2013, my very close friend dying at the end of 2013, the humiliation of my failed internship in summer 2014, the turmoil of the weekend where I went to my friend's memorial in August 2014, and watching a hospice get set up in my house while my mother's elderly live-in boyfriend died of cancer at the beginning of 2015. (And then watching as my mother realized that he left absolutely nothing for her and didn't do anything to help her get past it.)
That took A LOT out of me. I'm still not the happy-go-lucky, cheerful guy thrilled at all the new life experiences that I used to be, but I'm getting a lot closer to him than I was for a solid year and a half of my life. I joke around again. I'm able to be silly again. And though I still get these little grief attacks, when I get sad thinking about lost friends and lost opportunities, I'm able to get past it after a few hours as opposed to just staying in my house refusing to go out or live. I feel so much more like me than I have in a long time- a little wiser, a little more weary- but still me. It's a relief after feeling like Pod Jeremy for the past year or two.
As for my current state of life, working in a movie theater retail job kind of sucks. I'm being bossed around by teenaged managers, and when I'm cleaning up some garbage spill, I just think to myself, "I'm using my 80k education for THIS?" On the other hand, it is steady work, and I'm keeping up with my bills. It's also kind of fun, in some ways, to be around so many young people. I get a kick out of being the "old guy" to a bunch of those whippersnappers who were born in the mid/late 1990's, and I love getting to see so many movies for free. I also think it's been great "social training", because on some days you have to deal with a big mass of people and you need to make pretty quick judgements about reading their mannerisms and facial expressions in case one might be a bit testy.
I'm making some tentative plans for employment that actually fits a grown-up, but eh. I don't know. That's where my confusion is. I still really want to work in a museum, but I know that in order to do that, I need to leave Delaware. And I'm thinking a lot about what alternative plans I might be able to make.
Right now, I'm thinking about two paths- either finally deciding to go for the PhD in history and going on the professor track, or perhaps considering a career in something like urban planning, a topic that has always interested me. I don't think I can bring myself to go for another bachelor's degree- it'll be either a master degree or finally going for that PhD.
I'm just not sure yet. And I feel like I should have this figured out at 30, but I don't. I look at my old high school and college friends who are settled down, with careers and families and houses and mortgages...I don't know. Some ways I envy that, but in other ways, I'm glad that my life path is still kind of a big unknown at this point.
Sometimes I feel like a dried up, old man who is stuck in some dead-end life because of so many things that he screwed up, but other times, I feel like a young man still with a lot of his life ahead of him, even though his 20's are now in his past. A little while back, I had this really great conversation with a random stranger at the bar who basically told me, "You don't know what you want to do with your life yet, but you're young and that's okay. At 45, you won't be, but for now, you're still young and you've got a lot ahead of you."
I do know the life I want for myself- I'd love to live in some efficiency apartment in some city, maybe a microcondo, I actually love the idea of living in something like the Arcade in Providence:
Not sure what else...I just know that I'm not really jonsing for some kind of happy suburban existence with a husband and 2 kids and a dog. Not really my bag. I want something difference...just not sure yet.
I think it's okay that I'm not sure yet, despite a lot of people who tell me that I need to have a "real job" and "real life" now that I'm 30. I'll figure it out.
I think, anyway. In the meantime, I just want to enjoy where I'm at and do what I can, in little ways, to prepare for whatever's next. I've got a whole new decade ahead of, you know?