So yesterday was my birthday...
It was one of those birthdays which passed relatively uneventfully.
I did have a little time spent in reflection on the day, and it was kind of a mixed bag. I thought about my place in life at the moment... I hate the city where I live, but I love my apartment. I like my job but hate my cases. So on the whole, I am claiming little victories instead of being joyful about the big picture.
It was one of those birthdays where I thought about the changes that come with the new number... My insurance is lower now than it was in years past, but I again realized I lost a part of my childhood when I came to the realization that I have three kinds of insurance and as a result I have a multi-line discount. Whether I feel like it or not, I am slowly becoming a grownup.
About a week ago I resolved a debt which came as a result of my many months of unemployment... Once again, reminding me of my transition into responsible adulthood. I know that 60% of Americans are in debt, and yeah, I've still got my student loans to pay off, but that aside, I am now financially solvent. My credit record is still a wreck as a result of that long stint of unemployment, but I'm working on it... The fact that I care about what is on my credit report is another indicator to me that I'm losing my childhood.
When I was a kid my biggest concerns were things like spelling homework or what color I was going to use on whatever it was that I was painting in art class. Back then, I spent my time worried about making it out to play at the park, or making it to soccer practice on time so I didn't have to run extra laps. Now it's been replaced with, "Did I mail my payments for my electricity, and my cell phone? I don't want to get late fees or a shutoff notice." or "Do I need to go to the grocery tonight, or do I have enough nutritious stuff to get me through one more day, or will I get stuck eating whatever crap that's left in the fridge?" or "Where's my skillet? Is it clean or did I forget to run the dishwasher?"
I don't think I have to tell any of you that I am not excited about the prospect of being an adult. I mean yeah, there are certain parts of adulthood that I'm all for, like driving, and being able to order a drink without being carded, and being able to afford the things I want without having to ask someone else for the money because 30 hours a week of lifeguarding after school and on weekends didn't leave me with enough money once I paid for car insurance and gas. But I miss the days when I had no bigger concern than what color my prom dress was going to be.
I drive past the local universities and see the undergrads walking around, laughing without a care in the world... Part of me pities them because they have no idea what awaits them, and part of me admittedly envies them because of the carefree attitude that comes with no real immediate expenses (student loans are a wonder when you're still in school!) and that delayed collision with the real world, and as a direct result, the delay of the realization of how shitty the real world can be.
I mean, if someone were to come into my home now, without any knowledge of the circumstances which have shaped my current position, one would think that I'm doing well for myself, and that I live pretty high on the hog... and in the grand scheme of things, I suppose I am doing pretty well for myself. Things certainly have been, and could be a whole lot worse. I'm not where I want to be, but I'm not living in a drug-ridden, slum of an apartment complex on the state dole either. I don't have to worry about how I'm going to pay for my next meal or whether or not I'm going to be able to make rent next month. I know that from the company founder on down, they love me at my office, and that as a result I have a whole lot of job security. No, it's not totally the life that I wanted for myself at this point, but it could always be worse, so there's no real use in complaining... Well, there's a use in it, because it does make me feel a little better, but again, in the grand scheme of things, I know it doesn't really do any good.
For those of you who are interested in the events of the birthday proper, I spent much of it cursing my clients because they frustrate the ever-living shit out of me, and they test my patience almost every waking moment of the day. The rest of it was spent fielding a few birthday calls and well wishes, and I rounded it out by meeting up with one of my friends (who shares my birthday) at the bar for a couple of rounds, where she complained that she had a shitty birthday too.
I'm hoping tomorrow will be better...