So, let me be straight. It’s been over a month since I’ve written in here and it’s probably because my job ended. I won’t go into specifics, because writing about jobs and job hunting online scares the crap outta me. I imagine the Gods of HR scouring my blog for my true career aspirations or attempting to catch me in some uncomfortable admission. (This is neurotic me speaking.)
Anyhow. Since I graduated from college in 2004, I haven’t been out of work. I’m incredibly grateful for that, but when you are suddenly unemployed, the way you view your life and yourself has a funny way of morphing. I don’t feel as valuable or as part of something as I did. I thought I’d be doing more writing, but in fact, I’m doing less. My brain is rattled with anxiety and worries about how I will pay my rent or go out to a friends’ birthday dinner without it making a serious dent in my bank account.
The joblessness aside, my 30th birthday is only a few months away and I can’t help but reflect on how far I’ve come and where I’m headed. While I think a healthy amount of reflection is necessary, I think that sometimes I do my share and half of Brooklyn’s share of analyzing.
Why is it that we put so much pressure on our 30th birthday? Why does it feel like we need to have the necessary markers in place or else we feel lacking and unsuccessful? When I talk to my friends, it seems that either means a career track job with prior established success and/or a marriage or engagement on the horizon?
Playwright Katori Hall is 30 and her play “The Mountaintop” is on Broadway. I’m 30, and I’m struggling to get into development conferences. But, I know this is a tough career, one that will take persistence and a thicker skin.
I thought I wouldn’t be that person who cared about the 30th marker. And part of me still doesn’t…wait, who’s kidding who here…I do. I want to have something solid to grasp, something that says, hey, I’ve been on this planet for 30 years, and I have this! I’m not sure what “this” would be for me either, but I think having an agent, or having sold a screenplay would act as some barometer.
But, I’ve always been the kid that rides out the last of my phases in life. My dad likes to tell me I waited to move from crib to bed until I was literally climbing up out of and back into the crib myself. Finally, my parents just had to buy me a twin bed, and say here, this is yours. Use it. Or, the fact that I used my stroller until I was five years old, and some man on 90th street and 1st avenue yelled out “Ain’t she a little big for a stroller?.” And I promptly got out, and have been walking ever since.
You could say it’s that I fear change, but I like to think of it as me savoring the final moments of a time in my life. I’ll never go back to sleeping in a crib or using my stroller, but I enjoyed that time, I waited it out till the bitter end.
And now, here I am, writing to you, unemployed and approaching thirty. I’m about to microwave some Trader Joe’s frozen meal and dive back into the job hunt (or should I just say, Craigslist?). I’m going to enjoy these final days of being able to say “I’m in my 20’s” and feel like a lot of the ambiguity I feel is understood and accepted.
So, whether this means buying dresses at Forever 21, reading YA fiction, or sitting around for a few hours on a Wednesday afternoon at Starbucks in Astoria talking silly with a friend, I’m going to savor this time. One day, the close people in my world will be juggling big, responsibility laden jobs and families with children and dogs who will need their time more than me.
Happy New Year, everyone!