I’m officially at that age.
My close friends are starting to get engaged and married.
I received an email from one of my dear old friends this week, and as soon as I read the subject “a little bit of news,” I knew immediately that the contents would tell me he had proposed to his (lovely) long-time girlfriend.
They’re a great pair and I’m truly and wonderfully happy for them.
However for some reason, it’s thrust me into an existential crisis. I know that it may seem fairly narcissistic to turn someone else’s exciting life event into something about me and my cornucopia of neuroses, (and it is), but that’s the way this cookie crumbles.
When things like this happen, it makes me feel like I’m only a half-grownup. I can’t seem to get a decent credit card limit, I only cook for myself about a third of the time, and I get nervous about renewing a meager 6 month lease.
I’m absolutely crazy about my honey, but even after 5+ years together, the thought of being someone’s wife completely and totally freaks my shit out. My peers have careers and post-graduate degrees and fiancés. They own houses and businesses and pets. They get loans and understand how credit points work.
I have a blog, a shopping problem, and a half-written stand-up routine that I’m too scared to perform. Why do I feel SO not ready for big life decisions? I’m a baby! Instead of paying off my credit card this month, I ordered a nameplate necklace. I have two garbage bags filled with clean laundry (THAT I DID AT MY PARENTS HOUSE), that have been sitting on my floor for a week, still not put away.
I’m desperate to have a fabulous wedding but not 100% sure that traditional marriage is something I want. Not any time soon, any way. I know I want kids (someday, in a galaxy far far away) but I haven’t even been able to successfully keep a plant alive. I’ve even killed a cactus.
I have lots of skills, a degree, and some general wherewithal, but at 25 I can’t really tell you what I specifically want to do with any aspect of my life. I can give you vague answers and hypothetical dream ideas, which to some extent is fantastic, but should I be further along? I look at peers of mine in the blogosphere who are my age or just a little bit older and how much they’ve accomplished, and I can’t help but wonder should I be where they’re at?
And where did that pesky idea of should come from anyway?
That word is like a ghost of pressure lurking around every corner. As soon as the idea of what should be happening enters my brain, that is when the anxiety really kicks in.
F**k you, SHOULD.
Paralyzed with options, overwhelmed with interests, and no closer to making any big decisions, what’s a gal to do when put upon the brink of a spiraling anxiety attack?
When I expressed this anxiety to my sweetheart, he, being the ever-clever zen master said:
“A) Nobody’s got it figured out, and B) Why would you want to have your life figured out? Figuring things out is half the fun.”
And I couldn’t argue with that.
So here’s what I do know:
- I want to write and/or perform as a living somehow
- I want to have enough money for consistent travel and someday a swimming pool
- I’m really happy not being married right now, and that’s OK
- I’d like to eat cake and drink champagne all the time
Now that I’m looking at it, that list looks pretty darn good. It’s just so hard not to fall into the depths of comparison. Even though I’m calmer, I’m still stressing out about airfare to all these weddings…
By Tarreyn Van Slyke