What it’s like …

I wanted to title this post: What it’s like to be 27 and not settling down. I didn’t want to though because this implies that I am perhaps not in a happy relationship or that I am not on a good life path or whatever. Most days I am 100% happy with the way things are, I do not regret my decision to stay in school until I achieve the top degree from this awesome school (Penn State) in a very cool and atypical field (Acoustics). I don’t regret picking up and moving to France for 80+% of the last two years. But it does get to me sometimes to see my friends and family members moving on, building lives, dreaming, planning and here I am, somewhat stuck.

I suppose that’s what a taste of travel will give you, an insatiable need for more.

I come back to Penn State after such a long time away and a realization is that a location holds a place in your heart often times because of the people. not necessarily the buildings or anything concrete (see what I did there…) it’s the ambiance created by those around you. For me, it is no longer the same here. Talk about a reason to stick around France even more! Many of my friends have graduated or left the area. The things about this city town that made me love it (well like it a lot, haha)  have all but vanished. Makes it hard to want to stick around, to stay motivated to  work hard when there wont be any play hard since your peeps aren’t around. I was thinking, maybe that’s what it’s like to move to a new place, but no, not at all. I did that in France and I just met new people. Made memories with those people and now Marseille is what it is because of them too. But here. My memories are tied to people and now I feel empty.

On the other side of things, recently, many of my friends are having babies, getting married and I am so so very happy for them. But there is a small part of my heart that misses the way things were. Slumber parties, us time. I miss being able to call when I needed to cry. The things that I wanted to cry about today didn’t seem worthy of a call all about me when there are so many more important, perhaps pressing things going on in my “grown-up” friends’ lives. It seems so trivial for me to complain. What do I have to complain about? I don’t have a mortgage, children, etc… I am by no means ready to be one of these grown-ups but I also don’t like being left behind in this whole life thing. There are certain times where it is unbearable to think how different things are for me compared to my closest friends. I want to be there for these amazing life moments and I wasn’t and I can’t promise that I will be from here on out. I don’t know where I will eventually end up but I can’t see myself being one of those settling down girls. But such a large part of my Kentucky upbringing taught me that this is something we all do. Go to school, get a great job, get married, buy a house in a place you’ll live forever, have kids and live happily ever after 😀 Sounds fantastic! Kind of. I feel restless just thinking about it.

I want my own type of happiness but I am afraid that those closest to me will not be able to follow, that I will lose some of them along the way (friendship-wise, interest in each others lives-wise). This worries me.

When people ask me about my graduation plans, career plans I wasn’t too worried about the answers I would give … “oh, that’s far from now. I have no idea” which was okay because “you have PLENTY of time!”. Now, with perhaps just a little over 1.5 years until I could receive my final diploma and head on out to grown-up life I have to start asking myself more seriously, what do you want? What do you want to be, where do you want to be … who do you want to be? And the what-ifs are creeping in, “what if you don’t like your career”, “what if you make a wrong move somewhere” and the worst: “What if after all this time in school, all of the hours of studying, the tears and worries, stresses, achievements, moments of pride, moments of doubt, happy memories, choices … what if you still aren’t where you want to be, who you want to be, what you want to be????”

(( I definitely posted something like this recently. I just realized. wow.)

Needless to say folks, I had a rough day. None of these questions have been answered and I know they won’t be any time soon. I just needed to vent a little since, sadly and pitifully I will say, I feel like I don’t have anyone to talk to right now.

I will sort it all out. I know I will. and this little moment of self pity will pass. But it always is better to come back in and read these types of posts after it all works out, right? Well bookmark it now, Whit, see you in 1.5 years. You’ll make it.

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3 thoughts on “What it’s like …

  1. I can say I definitely know (and have known) how you feel. I’m older (42) but was 27 once and pretty much felt the same exact way. My friends such as they were moved off and got jobs and seemed to be really taking off with their lives. Me? I had several really “bad fit” nightmare jobs in my late 20s and 30s, nothing worked, and I found myself in the situation you fear, having trained for many years into an occupation that I couldn’t stand! The thing is, hindsight is always perfect. There’s no way I could have known what would work for me and what wouldn’t. I think in life you just have to plow forward with your best guesses at what you want to do and where your skills and interests are. You may make bad mistakes (probably will), life doesn’t usually play out according to the dream “plan” we all have. But life can still be very exciting and interesting and worthwhile, maybe more so for having deviated from your original plan than had you stayed on it. The key I’ve learned is its ok to make mistakes or to not be as amazing as someone else. You can always change course or try new things. It’s hard but you have to learn to see your own life path as unique and special and not somehow bonded to what everyone is doing or expecting.

    In my case, I eventually had to make changes.

    When I hit 40 I decided to retrain into a second career (dietician, because I love health). It’s going to be challenging, but I know I can get through it. Will it be a perfect fit? I doubt it, because nothing ever is. But I just hope it will be a good enough fit so that I can mostly enjoy my work and earn a living without resorting to therapy and having terrible stresses that kill my health! I’d originally spent 7 years in school for a bachelors and masters in engineering — a huge undertaking. On top of that, I recently spent 7 more years pursuing a PhD I never got! Yeah, it was a huge gamble but I’m glad I did it. I wouldn’t have known if it was right for me or not unless I tried it.

    I think some people seem to naturally glide towards their perfect life mission for career, kids, house, retirement, etc. Then there’s us. I’m not sure why some of us are in this category of searching and changing and others seem to march in lock step along a predefined (and expected) route. But that’s just the way things play out and I guess we have to make the best of our place in life and work with it. I think in the end my path has been MUCH harder than theirs, I’ve learned far more, seen a lot more, and although I always craved stability and have had the exact opposite, I’m a better person for having had all the different (and sometimes rather amazing) experiences.

    Hope that long essay helps! I know it doesn’t feel like it but you’re young. You could still have an entire first, second and third careers easily. I’d just go with the flow and have fun, don’t take any of it too seriously.

  2. Very much in a similar boat! I’m an American from Pennsylvania (I went to IUP, however) living in Marseille and also 27. Completely understand your feelings and sentiments. Just wanted to say you’re not alone in a “lifestyle” that can be confusing to some back home. Keep doing what makes you happy 🙂

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