28 Mar 2011

twenty-something success

The hardest part about being in my twenties is trying to figure out if I’m doing things right.

I mean, it’s pretty clear when I’m doing things wrong. Usually, failing-at-life is accompanied by some kind of daily dread, a feeling of imbalance, self-doubt, stress, and other objective measures of things-are-just-not-right.

See: last semester.

But it gets confusing when I start feeling good about myself only to realize I’m REALLY not paying attention to all the balls in the air.

Case in point:

This semester, I am doing a REALLY good job on…

  • Not being such a basket case.I am not-so-stressed out all the time, I seem to have enough hours in the day to do most of the things I want/need to do, I have time for relaxing and playing with friends, I am not crying a lot, et cetera. Mood, on most days, is high.
  • Academics. I have caught a Good Grade Wave this semester. Part of the time, I’m thinking, “Damn, my professors are on crack this semester,” and part of the time I’m thinking, “Hey, Jessica, you are finally catching on here!”
  • Keeping the apartment from being completely filthy. My living quarters are still messy most days, but I don’t walk around feeling like a live in a hell-hole, so we’ll call it a win.
  • Keeping in touch with friends and family at home. Maybe because everyone just had babies, but I’m hearing from my friends with some regularity, which makes me happy. Maybe because my sister just got a job with a commute, but I talk to her a few times a week, and my mom.
  • Feeling on top of things at work. I’ve been at one job for almost 2 years now and the other for over 6 months. I feel comfortable and confident with my abilities and don’t ever dread showing up to make my 12/hour.

So I live most days feeling like a successful human being. I’m twenty-six now, isn’t it nice to feel so in control?

Until something happens – something small, something large – that reminds me that I’ve been too busy feeling great about myself to notice the balls that are dropping.

  • Fitness/Health. Remember that Holiday Weight? Still there. Remember that giant bag of barbecue chips you bought on Saturday? And the one you bought last Saturday? And all that cheese you keep throwing all over your eggs every morning? And running, whatever happened to that?
  • Money. Savings haven’t been great this year, we stopped putting extra $$ toward Lance’s loans for some reason, my personal spending coffers seem to always be running dry…. and don’t get me started on what happens next year with financial aid/potentially losing a job/living situation. I have a 300 dollar plane ticket on a credit card with no immediate 300 dollars to pay for it… that kind of thing keeps popping up.
  • Planning for the future. Speaking of which, what are we doing when, in a year, we are done in Boston? And do we have enough money to make whatever-it-is happen? And why haven’t I thought about that at all in the past six months?
  • Having some kind of meaningful chats with your boyfriend. Sure, we eat dinner together, but now that we aren’t Two People Trapped in a Tiny Apartment with nothing better to do than spill our guts, shouldn’t we be having some scheduled gut spilling? Or at least a date once in awhile?
  • Sleep. Remember when I used to go to bed by 10 and wake up refreshed without caffeine at 6? Yeaaaah, about that….
  • Immune System. I think you’ve heard enough about that lately.

I know that it’s impossible to juggle everything all the time. Most of the time, it’s nearly impossible to do anything other than Finish My Schoolwork, Show up to my Places of Employment, and Not Kill Myself or Anyone Else. And I know that, in a way, focusing on my academics is also a way of focusing on future plans (I need a degree so I can get a job), which will help the financial situation (Job = money!), and planning for the future.

But it’s still shocking to feel so on top of the heap in some ways

and then, when I least expect it,

so buried.

Leave a Comment