Adulthood – Take 2

I had every intention of writing a New Years-y post full of nostalgia and feelings and all that bullshit. And then I worked a lot and then worked some more and now it’s the 7th and everyone is all “Over it” about New Years. And in years gone by I may have felt guilty about missing this deadline I’d made up for myself. But one of my few, carefully crafted goals for this year is to not beat myself up about shit that doesn’t matter/try to stop holding myself to arbitrary and ridiculous standards.

So there. *sticks out tongue*

Goals

  1. Let go of shit that doesn’t matter

I usually mock new years-y posts for lots of reasons, but this year I’m feeling particularly “OMG its the end of an Era!”-y.

Because on Sunday, y’all— I turn fucking 30.

No seriously. I work with a bunch of college kids at my restaurant job, and every day they say something that makes me go… yup I really am almost 30.

And it’s an odd feeling. Because on the one hand, I am gonna flip my twenties off as they sail into that good night. My twenties have been one shit storm after another. Good things happened for sure, and I made great friends and had good times and learned good lessons, but there was a lot of wading through big piles of crap too. I changed careers twice, moved a fucking ton, lost some friends, came out to super religious parents, was always broke… I mean I could go on and on and on but I won’t.

I’m not going to miss my 20s. The only good thing I can take from my 20s is that I know myself so much better now and I don’t give any fucks about what people think about me.

gaga fuck

(Okay, maybe not the only thing, but you get the idea.)

At the same time, I don’t feel like I’ve arrived anywhere.

While I watched my nephews play on Christmas this year I thought about all the dreams I had as a kid. Big dreams full of wonder and adventure. Dreams about performing for thousands of people, dreams of a comfortable life with a family and friends. Dreams of traveling the world or at least going on a fucking vacation once in a while. Having some kind of stable existence and a life that resembled a quirky indie film lesbian romantic comedy.

This is not where I thought I’d be as I approach my 30th birthday.

I had all these ideas of having life figured out and having a retirement plan and a savings account with more than $20 in it. I thought I’d be settled with a circle of people I saw every day like Friends or How I Met Your Mother or Sex in the City.

And while I never really pictured this for… like… obvious reasons:

I didn’t really picture this either:

lifebufferingBut, since another of my goals is to focus on the positive, I try to keep coming back to the fact that although I don’t have hardly any of my shit together, I have, at least, managed to put myself on a path that should lead to having my shit together. Someday. In the future. Before I’m 40. At least before I’m 40.

Goals

  1. Let go of shit that doesn’t matter
  2. Focus on the positives

Y’all know I graduated Library School in May. And then I got kind of quiet about life. It was a self preservation instinct really, because being on the job hunt is soul crushing enough without broadcasting it online. But I’m happy to announce that after applying to over 50 jobs over the course of 6 months and interviewing for 10 different positions, I finally found a library job in my top choice of locations, Chicagoland.

The upside is I’m working  as a youth librarian (yay!) in a small library where I can get great and varied experience, in an area where there are a lot of other libraries around and where I am relatively close to a few good friends/family. The downside is that it’s very part time and the pay is far from ideal, so I’m also waiting tables at a well known chain restaurant that I won’t tell you the name of so I can talk about it here and not worry as much about consequences. And as I make sure this dish has whole wheat pasta and that dish has steak that’s done just enough but not too much I sometimes think “… you know, it’s a really good thing I went to school for 27 years.”

I’m continuing to look at apply at other libraries in the area and will be on the perpetual job hunt for at least another 6 months to a year. I had to move and I’m sharing a townhouse with two roommates who are nice and everything but still… are roommates.

And sometimes, just sometimes I look around and think

This isn’t what I pictured for myself.

I didn’t think I’d be working three jobs and barely getting by and trying to live with a constant wrench in my gut from the stress of always worrying about money.

I didn’t think I’d be back at the bottom of the career totem pole struggling to make my way up.

I didn’t think I’d be starting over again.

But—

On the other hand–

I didn’t think I’d be Out and speaking to all my family.

I didn’t think I’d be so excited about my career path and the possibilities there could be for me in the future.

I didn’t think I would have the amazing friends I do- the ones who’ve stuck with me for a decade through all the shit life has thrown at us and the ones I’ve only recently met and can’t imagine my world without. The friends who let me cry with frustration at yet another rejection letter, who rejoiced with me when I mended some bridges with my family, who have been unfaltering in their support through what’s been a super shitty decade.

It strikes me as I wait tables, that this brush with poverty is actually really good for me. I realize how much I have taken for granted in my life. Even now, even as I bitch and stress and worry, I know that I have a safety net. I have parents who will not let me starve, a support system that will not allow me to completely fail. I will never be homeless. I will never be truly alone. I see people that I work with who have never had and will never have that privilege. I work with men who bus tables to support a family of 5. For whom the opportunities for education and career that I take for granted have never been an option. Who will never have a chance to retire and spend their days watching Jeopardy and reading novels.

Even as I bitch and stress and worry I know that this hectic life, as Avenue Q so poetically states, is only for now. I’ll only have to smile at rude guests for so long, I won’t have to scrape food off plates forever. I will always have to work hard, but there is a light at the end of this tunnel of financial stress that so many people I currently work with will never ever see.

And that makes me grateful.

Goals

  1. Let go of shit that doesn’t matter
  2. Focus on the positives
  3. Acknowledge my privilege/ be grateful

No, life is not a wish granting factory, but I am so lucky in so many ways.

While I’m not where I’d like to end up, I’m at least walking down the path that will take me there. I feel like I’m on a trajectory and not a free fall, and the journey is making me so much more aware of the challenges faced by the patrons I want to work with and how important my job as a public librarian is.

While I spend most of my life feeling like I don’t have a clue what the fuck is going on, I am comfortably Out to myself, to my family and friends and at both my jobs. I recently was given responsibility over the Buddy Bags at our library. The Buddy Bags are a bag for checkout with several books and media on a single topic like Trains or New Baby. When I proposed a Buddy Bag featuring gender non-conforming children, and I was a little nervous the reaction of my coworkers, my boss said, “That is a Great idea!” As opposed to the principal at the school where I taught, who stood by and let the staff bully me for being gay.

So in general my professional life is looking up.

And while I’m pretty bad at dating and sometimes I get lonely, I know what is important to me in a partner, I can recognize when it’s time to work through some issues with people (friends, family and romantic alike) and when it’s time to let relationships go. I’m not willing to compromise myself to make someone else like me. So that’s a pretty awesome feeling.

I think that Neil Gaiman was correct when he wrote

“Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.” (The Ocean at the End of the Lane)

So with that I bid goodbye to 2013, to my twenties, my time as a student, and this era of my life otherwise known as Adulthood- Take 1.

It’s been real, but I’m ready to move on.

Thanks for indulging me faithful readers and I’ll get back to blogging about life as a queer librarian in short order.

Happy New Year and all that crap.

(in case you’re interested…)

Goals

  1. Let go of shit that doesn’t matter
  2. Focus on the positives
  3. Acknowledge my privilege/ be grateful
  4. Make myself full balanced meals with vegetables and everything at least 2x a week
  5. Run a 5K by the end of the year
  6. Journal 2x a week
  7. Read more books with POC and LGBTQQIA folk
  8. Read all Illinois Youth Award books
  9. Read 1st in each series in our J Series section
  10. Be more awesome
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