When I was filling out the “10 financial commandments for your 20s” post, one of the commandments said that you should be focusing on having fun in your 20s. That one bullet sent me into a bit of an identity crisis. I started to try to remember what I consider fun… and it was really difficult to find something. I’m struggling to find anything outside of my job that is fun in my life.
I’m turning 28 next month, and while the birthdays before this one haven’t felt significant, I am starting to feel, well, old. Now, I know some of you who read my blog are much older than I am, and I don’t mean that you’re extra old. I’m just saying that — as the world around me ages — I question not just what I’m living for, but also what I’m not living for. One thing I’ve realized lately is that I’ve died a few times so far in my life. For instance, the young me that I once was died a long time ago. She doesn’t exist any more. She might not be buried under ground, but she’s just as dead as a corpse. And although I never loved her, I still miss her and need to take the time to morn her passing. I also need to remember what made her happy, and try to bring some of that back into my life.
I don’t want to be difficult. Life in general sucks. You’re born, not by choice, you have anywhere up to 100 years to make some money, make some kids, experience some things, and then you die. But beyond that, every year the people you love get older. Hearing my father’s cane click on the floor as he wobbles around the house, likely a year away from his death due to the cancer eating away at his bones and organs, and I shudder with sadness. It’s not that I love my father, but I don’t want him to die either. I don’t like change. And all the money in the world can’t keep that same world from changing.
For what its worth, I’m a much “happier” person now than I was in the past. From the outside my life is pretty darned great. But I still feel rather empty. The one thing that kept me going previously was all the opportunity in the world. Once you’re an adult, you have to specialize. You can’t do everything. You have to pick one thing and focus on it. I miss excitement, I miss adventure, I even miss my crazy just a little bit. Life is never stable — things could all change in a heartbeat — but there’s no more steep upward climb. Not like when you’re in school and the world is at your fingertips.
I don’t even know what I want. That’s the problem. It would be nice to have a lot of money, to be financially independent, just so you can take the time to pursue your interests at any given time. The things I think I want are probably not want I want anyway. The only thing in the world that makes me happy is making people laugh, entertaining, and I’m not exactly good at that. I’m awkward around people, I spend most of my life hidden away in my reclusive coupling. I enjoy spending time with my boyfriend, he makes me feel safe and loved. And I love him too. And that’s one piece of my life.
The only part of my life that’s fun is work. But I’m also afraid I’m not good enough at my job, and that eats away at the fun of it. And I just want a hobby, something outside of work, and outside of my relationship, that provides some sort of excitement in my life. But what? There’s not enough time. I am always tired. I don’t know why I’m so tired all the time. I wake up at a reasonable hour, 8am, get to work by 9, leave around 7pm, and then I come home and I just want to sleep. If I happen to have free time on the weekends, I don’t want to do anything other than lounge around, and maybe clean a bit, do laundry. I can’t begin to understand how people work this much and have kids.
I just need some sort of goal in my life. Not just a financial goal. Yes, it’s great to have a goal to have $150k in savings and investments by December 31 this year. But the problem is that $150k is nothing. Houses in my area cost $1M — and I can’t fathom ever affording one. Retirement is a joke. The economy is dipping into yet another recession, and most people my age are out of work. I’m lucky for now, but who knows what the future holds. When I spend my money, I feel guilty. When I save my money, I worry it will be lost in the market currents. Outside of money — what are my real goals?
Do I want to have kids? Maybe. I know there are some girls that are ready to be mothers the day they pop out of their own mother’s womb, but that wasn’t me. I don’t want to “not” be a mother, but I am not obsessed with the idea of having children either. But I’m tired of living for myself. Living for myself is boring because I’m boring. I had a few exciting moments in my life — probably when I was on a manic side of my bipolar — a few flings here, poor spending choices there — but the more mellow and stable I am, the less fun I have in life. Maybe that’s just what growing up is, but overall on the grande scheme of things, I’m bored. Not at work, I mean, work is exciting. I just don’t think work should be the primarily source of happiness and excitement in my life, even though it doesn’t leave time for much else. Can I buy excitement? Maybe. What would that look like? Do I need someone who is more exciting to live the “other” part of my life with?
The other day I got so frustrated at my boyfriend because we went to dinner and he didn’t talk. He doesn’t like to talk over dinner. He doesn’t talk much at all. That’s great at home when i want peace and quiet, but I love good conversation. I love going out to dinner and talking about — well, anything. That’s fun to me, I guess. But I can’t do that with him. We can have fun watching TV, but he’s not going to go out dancing with me, or do something spur of the moment. In the long run, though, do I really want someone exciting, or do I want someone stable and calm? He says he wants to be a buddhist. I’m never going to be that mellow or quiet. I need crazy in my life. And I’m afraid that’s the only way that I’ll ever feel like I’m having fun… looking back on my life, all I remember are the moments of doing things I shouldn’t have. It’s mixing a little fantasy into the yawn-inducing life that is supposedly a successful young adulthood. But the boredom, and lack of purpose, is eating away at me. Money isn’t the destination — it just feels like right now it’s the only thing I’m living for. Not even what money buys. Just money in my bank account.