August 10, 2017
I’ve had a lot of people asking how life’s going up here in Minnesota. You might get to the end of this–if you make it to the end–and regret asking. 😜
I’m living life fairly quietly these days and often taking things one day at a time.
I’m falling into routine–but trying not to get too swept up in it–and learning a lot about myself. This on-your-own-far-away-from-literally-everyone-previously-in-your-life lifestyle is teaching me a thing or two.
I’ve had a lot of time and space to think. And that’s dangerous and uncomfortable.
There’s a reason why most people opt out of living totally alone. I’ve learned that very quickly.
Since moving here, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on where I am in life, on how weird this post-grad stage of life is for some of us.
Molly Sprayregen sums it up so well in The Brain on 23:
“We are the 23-year-olds. We are the ones squirming in our chairs at the office because we still feel awkward in our grown-up clothes. We strut through city streets with eyes cast toward our screens, desperately seeking any source that will tell us the decisions we’ve made are valid. We work hard in jobs we aren’t sure we want to make those fancy degrees feel worth it, and we date people we aren’t sure we love to make everything feel less lonely.
We spend hours drinking wine on apartment floors, promising one another that those who broke our hearts will not own us forever. We zone out in grad school classrooms or type away in junior offices or teach English in Rwanda, all the while wondering if we are supposed to be somewhere else.
We are 23, and hangovers hurt now. Most of our conversations these days center on assuring one another we are going to be okay. We are proud of each other but hard on ourselves. When a friend does something as simple as cooking a food more complex than pasta, we applaud her, yet we berate ourselves for not yet having a corner office or a bestselling memoir or a thriving startup…
We have few obligations, yet we are always stressed, wondering if life will ever be more certain…
We are 23, and we constantly try to tell ourselves to stop complaining and enjoy our youth. Life isn’t really that bad. We have our families, our friends and our health. We are young and vibrant and the world is ours. We are closer to our parents than the 23-year-olds who came before us, and many of us are lucky enough to still have their support. We have the time to go to bars and be with friends. We get to party and work and not worry about others depending on us. Yet all this fear remains, and it melts us into pessimists. Because life is pretty good, and still we can’t stop worrying. So we worry even more about what will happen to us when there are real things to worry about.”
OK, I have to stop before I copy and paste her entire article because RELEVANT.
But this age really is this total limbo for some of us. We’re not kids anymore and we’re not college students anymore–and yet just three months ago we were. Nothing about us has really changed in those three months. Yet we’re expected to put on our big girl pants everyday and go to work like adults who have everything figured out. But PLOT TWIST, we don’t.
And everyday we come home from work and try to figure out what the hell it is that single adults do everyday after work. We can’t stay out too long because we’ve got that whole adult job thing waiting for us in the morning, but we’re certainly too young to sit at home every night.
We’re too old to go hang out on college campuses but far too young to be friends with the coworkers we overhear in the break room talking about buying new cars and getting their kids to sleep at night. My car is duct taped together and I do well to keep myself and my cat alive, thank you.
We think that college makes us who we are and spits us out into adulthood, ready to go. But it doesn’t. Post-grad life is messy and makes us question everything. I don’t even know what clothes to put on most mornings because I’m living a life that doesn’t feel like its mine yet.
We have to intentionally go out and meet people because we don’t have set-up opportunities to meet new people anymore. This is the age when I truly understand the concept of online dating like I never have before. This is the age when I swipe through Facebook events weekly to find places to go to meet new friends because my seven hours each day in a cubicle at work isn’t too conducive to meeting people and making friends.
So for now, I’ll go about my new routine until all this rambling reflection hopefully leads to some sort of understanding. I’ll continue to put on those foreign-feeling Banana Republic slacks each morning and march into my massive office building like I have a clue what I’m doing.
I’ll continue to battle anxiety about every single little aspect of life. Because as much as people tell me to take a step back and a breath, I know that I can’t sit idly every single day and wait for things to fall into place.
Yes, some days I’ll sit in my apartment and binge 57 episodes of Friends in a row because life is overwhelming. But on the days I feel a little braver, I’ll seek out opportunities.
And I apologize if I seem like a downer these days. Because as blessed as I know I am and no matter how much I know life could be harder and no matter how many times people tell me things are going to work out, this part’s still not easy. Plain and simple.
I’m trying to have a bit of patience with myself these days as I figure out who adult Tess is.
And I appreciate the patience that people in my life are giving me, even from afar. Your love is the reason it’s been so hard to be so far away and that’s a very sweet problem to have.
I have a long way yet to come, but I’m chugging on.
^See this is what happens when you live alone too long, smh.