Hold onto your hats, because I am about to go “millennial” all over the place.
Let me preface this by saying that these are all what would be considered “first-world” problems by any and every stretch of the imagination. I know how fortunate I am to have what I have and to be where I am in life. I am under no illusion that I “earned” the right to be here, and I for sure know that I have enormous privilege even though I am a female of color.
HOWEVER, since I can’t afford therapy, even with my awesome insurance, here goes:
First off, I work too hard to be this broke. I never thought I would say that in earnest. When I was younger I thought that cliche was particularly trite and silly because most of the adults I knew went to work for a set period of time (approximately 40 hours a week) and were in possession of ALL the money, in my mind at least.
That’s not to say that I grew up wealthy, far from it. I remember my mother and father both lamenting how broke we were and attempting to instill frugality as a character trait within me. It didn’t take.
I worked in college, but I lived with either my mother or my father and commuted to school during most of that time, since I went to a local university. The few times I didn’t live at home, I lived on campus, which was similar because I paid for the housing up-front and didn’t have to budget except food, alcohol, and other incidentals.
Immediately after college, I basically started a hippie commune with some friends, and paid about $200 a month for a room in a three bed-room apartment that I barely used.
I got my own place in August of this year, right after I began a new and improved job, and that’s when the problems started.
90% of my problems could be easily fixed with more money, but now I am a 25-year-old who doesn’t know how to budget. Oh sure, in theory I can add and subtract with the best of ’em. It’s the emotional part that’s difficult. Sure, I can cook more and eat out less, I can eliminate my useless gym membership, I can drive or carpool when I would prefer to Uber, but having a social life is not a luxury, nor is it cheap. Which is a flawless segue into my next issue.
You see, my friends and family are awesome. They like to DO things. They go to bars, go on trips, go to movies, celebrate birthdays and other milestones, as well as attend concerts and quirky events like the local Renaissance Festival. I like these things too, that’s part of the reason why we all get along. So it stands to reason that I would get invited to join in these excursions occasionally, and herein lies the rub. These things cost money, and time.
I can’t help but experience epic FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) every time I can’t attend, or when I don’t get invited at all. The anxiety I feel about drifting away from certain people, as well as how I am perceived by certain groups of friends keeps me up at night sometimes. Also it never fails that when I am actually bored and looking for interaction, nobody wants to respond to me, but the second I actually get busy, the entire world needs me.
Then there’s Dating. I’m single currently, and now that I am 25 it feels like the stakes were raised without me knowing. I meet people both on dating sites (that’s another blog post entirely) and in real life who I spend time with and communicate with for the purpose of seeing whether I would like to eventually spend the rest of my life with them. How weird is that?
WARNING: IT’S ABOUT TO GET INTIMATE
I think the problem here is a lack of guidance, for lack of a better term. I am past the point in my life, if I ever was there, where I just want to have casual sex. However, I am completely sex-positive and I don’t think that having sex with many people in many iterations makes one a bad person. NO ONE ELSE I KNOW FEELS THIS WAY! Or at least they won’t admit it. My friends and family (from whom I learned everything I know about relationships) all fall into two camps:
- Fuck -in a dismissive way- commitment! And fuck -in a sexual way- everyone who wants to fuck you! (Safely, of course)
- Your virginity is a gift bestowed upon you by GOD, and it should be given only to your husband or wife or at least only to someone you love.
I don’t judge any of them, but if anyone else is in the happy medium, please let me know, because I feel like a unicorn, in a bad way.
Keeping up appearances
So, why try? For a short time, I got rid of all social media including Facebook. I attempted to declare “social bankruptcy” like that Portlandia sketch. It worked out just as well for me as it did for Carrie Brownstein. I figured that the people who really cared about me would still be in touch, and they were.
The problem is that we all have radiating circles of people around us, starting from the most inner layer of family and best friends all the way out to acquaintances. I lost touch with the outer circles, and I like the outer circles! They’re good people for the most part, and we’re helpful to each other. I have and/or know people with skills to help them out if need be, and they do the same for me.
So now, I’m everywhere, I smile and laugh just as hard as everyone and cherry-pick the experiences to share so that it seems that my life is enviable and that I am okay. I can’t tell them, especially my parents, especially my father, just how tough it can be. Only the inner circles get that.
Did I mention that up until about two weeks ago I almost literally NEVER stopped working? When you’re at the bottom of the totem pole at a new job, in a new industry, like I was, you have to earn your stripes. THEN, when there’s three months of work for your position backlogged like there was at my place of employment AND when a co-worker resigns (another, another blog post entirely) forcing everyone to pick up slack DURING a deadline, you get very little rest for the first four months of your employment. My boss is amazing, and by no means a slave driver. She took care of us during this time, giving us a paid week off at the end of it, paying for meals, and giving us a raise. Of course, I didn’t do much during that time off, because everyone was busy.
Whew! Thanks for letting me vent!