I really thought I would be in a relationship by now. But here I am, still trying to figure out how to cook meals for one. Lean Cuisine? Yes please.
I made friends who I thought would be my friends forever – friends I lived with, traveled the world with – but now I don’t even have their phone numbers.
When I was 18 I thought I’d be an actress, at 21 I planned to move to India, at 24 I was certain I’d get into Teach for America. This time last year I was filling out applications to be an au pair in Italy. Or France.
Instead I find myself living in the chicken capital of the world, where they do a “chicken drop” on New Year’s Eve. I still don’t own a dresser, my clothes are stuffed in bins or cardboard boxes. My friendship circle is the smallest it’s ever been, just like all the old people said. I don’t have health insurance…or at least I don’t think I do. Obama? Anyone?
Most of my friends are married. Buying houses. Having kids. Adopting kids. Moving to Denver.
I still get nervous when I have to get an oil change.
Sometimes I wonder why I don’t run away to New York, Paris, or Australia while I still can. Why not go to the woods for 2 months to try and write a book?
The other night I pulled up the website to Sarah Lawrence College. I had to put it away because thoughts, dreams, ideas started tempting me.
I love my job and I anticipate doing it for a while. I’ve found a community where I belong and I don’t take it for granted. That’s what stops me from doing something like hitchhiking to Brazil (…also the fact that I’d probably show up unconscious in the back of someone’s trunk.)
At the end of the day, I have chosen depth of relationship over the glamour of independent travel/adventure. Because when I lock my keys in my car on Thanksgiving and want to cry, my friend’s husband waits with me for the locksmith and tells me stories about the stupid things he’s done. And when I’m sick in bed my roommate practically spoon feeds me Nyquil. And when I need advice about boys, my mentor gives it to me straight. And my boss believes in me. And I could go on and on.
Sometimes I wonder, worry, question, compare – is this what I should be doing? How much money should I have in my savings account? I still don’t know what a 401k is? By the time I get married, will I have any eggs left? Will I ever live in a city where I can walk places? Are iPhones taking over the world? – but then I look at the people around me and it’s all okay. I may not have a house or a husband, but I do have relationships that matter.
So here’s to another year of being in my 20s, of cooking by myself and having no idea what’s in store. Bring it on.