My Eyes are Green

“I just feel like I’m so behind!”
“Behind?” I ask.
“Well, like, so many of my friends are getting married and having kids and finding fabulous apartments or they’re dating and travelling, and I just feel like I’m…not.”
“So, what? Just because they’re doing it doesn’t mean you need to be. Besides how are you behind? You’re only 25. Your life hasn’t even started yet. Besides, them hoes will be divorced and homeless by the time you get your credit together and buy your first house.”
“La that’s not the point. I just need to get my life together.”

And there it is. The phrase continuously uttered by mid-to-late twentysomethings everywhere, at least twice a day.

I need to get my life together.

Sometimes, it is a valid assertion. That credit card that seemed like a good idea in college is now $5,000 in debt from dinners and trips you can’t return to pay it off. You got a car after graduation but you got bent over without your choice of lubricant on the payments and interest. Your entry level job is in no way equipped to pay for your 50K in loans (which is literally almost everyone I know). Life is just generally not what you expect it to be. And you know you need to get that shit right unless you wanna be the 35 year old “entrepreneur’ of a some vague variety, living at home and going on a VH-1 reality show just to get outta the house.

But other times, “I need to get my life together” is merely just an instinctual response to general small things that should in no way throw off your entire day or week.

For example…

La goes to war with her alarm clock for 30 minutes, realizing she is gonna have to haul ass (and skip makeup) to make it to work on time.
“I need to get my life together.”

No ma’am, you just need to get your lazy ass up in the morning.

Girl can’t let go of the same dumb ass she’s been fucking with for two years that cheats on her more than reality stars get tested for STDs.
“I need to get my life together.”

Wait, no. That definitely deserves getting one’s life together. But unfortunately, the young do not have a monopoly on stupid, so that has little to do with anything.

What I am finding most often in these convos between me and my quarter life crisis friends, is that more often than not, our self-worth is not only weighed heavily by where we are vs. where we think we should be, but also but where we are vs. where OTHER people we know are.

Sure, logically you know that there’s no way that your Communications degree is gonna yield you the same type of starting salary that your friend the business whiz kid whose first job out of college was at Microsoft has, but for some reason you still think that you too should be buying a house on your sad little $30K a year.

And you also recognize wholeheartedly that your friend that’s having the big, beautiful 300 person wedding because she is marrying a football player is probably gonna end up a lonely, divorced mother of 3 with no life skills in less than 5 years, but you can’t help but think that you too should be having a wedding in the Loew’s Millenium Ballrooom.

So then it makes me wonder, why do we do this to ourselves? We know better. We know that we really only have 1-3 years of real world living under our belts, and the rookie years all always the hardest. We know in our hearts we aren’t (mostly) ready (financially, emotionally, spiritually) to be anybody’s wife or husband, let alone some poor kid’s half ass together parent. We should be able to solidly recognize by now that the perfect job (in our field, doing something we love, earning enough to keep Sallie Mae from eating our young) is not going to just fall into our laps. We should also know by now, that “accomplishing” any of these things isn’t going to wave a magic wand over our lives and make our lives seem “together.” It just doesn’t work that way. Nothing in life really does. (Which pretty much blows.) But think about it really…

It’s always the rehearsal that kicks your ass. The show is what you get to enjoy.

I have spent much of the last few weeks trying to change my thinking; to be more positive, to be still and pray sometimes instead of thinking. To focus on the things that really need changing and not the things that are just getting on my nerves for the time being. Trying to accompany each negative thought with a positive one (or two).  I realize there’s a lot I have missed out on while waiting to “get my life together”.

We seem to have lost our own sense that we can map the course our lives take. Somewhere along the way, we bought into the idea that we would be alone forever if we weren’t married by 25, or that we’d never have kids if we didn’t have them by 28. I thought we had learned by now that there is no such thing as that perfect job/man/apartment/car that ties it all together? We are in a subconscious competition with our peers that seem to be “doing it all” rather than setting the pace ourselves. And doesn’t it seem like the deadlines are getting tighter? I remember a few scant years ago when getting married by 28 or so was the goal, kids by 30. Now the brides can barely legally do shots at their own bachelorette party and they’re hitting Babies R Us in a dead sprint soon thereafter.

It’s easy to trace it back to the societal influences and the dangerous (and usually false) icons of having it all. But when did we lose faith in the process?

Granted, I bitch all the time about how much my 20’s have, thus far, sucked like a groupie during All Star game. But I think I recognize now, as I didn’t the first four years of my 20’s, that there is something larger at play here. Sure, it doesn’t always make it better or less irritating or even make me consume less liquor to temporarily relieve the pressure. But I recognize that there will come a time for me too when all those things I thought I couldn’t get a handle on in my younger years will seem like basic addition. I have faith that I am not going through anything unique or extraordinary that millions of thirtysomethings can now laugh about. (But seriously though; what’s that like?) But even more than that, I respect the fact that despite these quarter life crisis issues not being unique, that my life is.

And it is not required to fit anyone else’s timeline but my own.

26 thoughts on “My Eyes are Green

  1. I am FIRST? I am FIRST!<>*Lee doing the hard MC Hammer dance moves*<>And what you said in the last sentence is what’s key: that your life is UNIQUE. All that measuring your life by that of others is a quick trip to NOWHERE. Be faithful in what you are doing. Stay in and concentrate on your own lane in life. Period.I am 38, and I must admit, looking back at my 20’s- Man, those were the darkest and most traumatic years of my life. All I know is that where you are is where you should be right now: uncomfortable, and thinking about your life. Once you realize that you have your own lane, and that you need to concentrate on staying in YOUR lane, you will be alright. Really. And my saying that drives people crazy: “You don’t know NOTHING until you turn 30.”But I am glad you are making some realizations. My baby sis is your age, and going through the same thing. Thank goodness for that. I expect good things from her, and from you too!

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  2. Ladylee put it perfectly!I think it’s human nature to compare yourself to others. For the most part we do it so we can make ourselves feel better because we are doing better than them. Or bad because we don’t have their situations.But keep your head up. You are doing much better than you think. You have set where you want to be and are working towards it, YOURSELF. Also, when your feeling really dragged down, got to http://www.rbc.org for a daily bread scripture. It’s a nice mid-day shot in the arm or morning pick me up, when I walking from my apt to my car headed hell, I mean work.

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  3. *Snaps fingers* so true. You know I was hearing you with the kids by 28… Its 26 for me but I’m realizing that barring any pill mishaps thats not gnna happen. But it’ll happen some day. As far as comparing myself to others, its tiring! My current facebook status is “can’t waste the day when the night brings the hearse.” we gotta keep moving up or we’re dying inside. Or at least I am. I’m so not satisfied where I am, but that’s good.

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  4. i hate you for this post. DAAAAAAAM U FOR BEING SO RIGHT!!!!so why do my friends and I have a convo like this EVERYDAY?luckily, I tend to wake up and realize that I need to get my money right (see: pay off credit cards) before I become that commercial “I married my dream girl, I married my dream girl…”but i am jealous of the WP who travel for fun cause they can.its SOOOO a “where we are vs. others” game right now. not healthy. how does that goodie mob song go again??

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  5. I will go back and read all that shit later. But honey, let me tell you, it don’t all miraculously become clearer once you hit the magic 30 like they say it does. What does become clear, is that you spent your early 20’s fucking it up good (but having a good time, your mid 20’s realizing that childish shit aint so fun no more and what the hell you should be doing and when you hit 30 you really start trying to figure out how to do all that shit you lamented about from 25-29. Child, now even the late bloomer friends are getting married. Of course the ones who got married before 25 are all jacked up in the game. But I knew that shit when they went to the alter.The way I see it, we all got to do us, pursue are dreams, be open to love, and sharing, and wait for it. That is the way to find happiness That is where true happiness lies. Not checking some bullshit off a list of shit you ain’t ready for just so you can say you are “married”, a “homeowner” a “bullshit ass corporate job title with good benefits” that makes you miserable everyday. Of course, I wake up everyday, and say this shit to myself so that I go to the place where they pay me and not the bar…but I digress. LOL

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  6. If I could see you right now, I would hug you and probably kiss you. This was so on point and so necessary for me right now. I am forwarding this to all my friends because we are alllllllllllllllllll going through the same things. And no one is slacking on their game, but we are still falling victim to societal influences and it’s fucking up our heads. Thank Thank Thank you, for this.

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  7. La You know what you’re 30’s are for.Its used to pay for all the bullshit you did in your twenties…lol…But you’re a lot smarter than I was when I was your age…If you realise this now Imagine what you’ll know when you’re 30…“It’s always the rehearsal that kicks your ass. The show is what you get to enjoy” I think you’re the female version of myself…lol

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  8. we’ll get it together one day. the 35 year old bachelor living in his mother’s basement, going on a VH-1 reality show just to get outta the house? PLEASE DON’T BECOME THAT! lolol. first it would require you to grow some parts you don’t need and get rid of others. lol but seriously how annoying is it that we have to re-realize all this crap like every 3 mos. and sometimes more frequently than that? i’m going with very.

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  9. La..you know I see a lot of myself in you and like I’ve been told before by my friends… “you are too hard on yourself” love the today you honey you’ll get where you are aiming for!Go B.

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  10. I’ve seen this post way alot lately. I hope you don’t think just cuz you turn 30, everything is okay. There’s always some crisis around the bend. You just have to deal with them.

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  11. child, love, snap out of that shit, you are much too young for that there mess, why the rush and the fretting?? what “they ” have is not not the whole story, just outward appearances and such…take a zen-like approach to the whole thing or worse yet be like me 28, a glorified teenager, no kids, and somehow shit IS, in fact, falling into place…bit by bit

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  12. “It’s always the rehearsal that kicks your ass. The show is what you get to enjoy. (Right V?)”AHHHHH, I hate you! Can you not shout me out? Lol. But yes, you’re abso-effin-lutely right.I know I’ve also written about The Dreaded Phrase (and say it more than I’d like to admit), but I’m really, <>really<> starting to tire of it.Really.It’s becoming a crutch for people. Like you said, it’s often thrown about in circumstances that, really, <>aren’t that deep<>. But it’s almost like we see ourselves as helpless victims in the situations that life throws at us. It’s too much. We can’t handle it. <>We need to get our lives together<> (said with an especially forlorn frown). But truthfully — we really just need to grow up and handle our biz.It’s all becoming clear to me (or as clear as it can get right now) because I’ve had a LOT of V-time these last few weeks. It’s given me the chance to explore some things and assess myself. And I’ve been able to sketch out a pencil drawing of what I want in the very near future. House, kids, S-class? Nah, I’ll save those for the “big show.” But I do know I want to improve my quality and efficiency of life. I want make money (and a name for myself) by doing the things I really love to do. And I want to enjoy being young, cute and curious (not that kind of curious) in one of country’s coolest cities. No better time to do it than now. And no one can do it for me but myself.As final note, to wrap up this obscenely long comment, I’ve learned, long ago, to put on blinders when it comes to what other people are doing. I had my revelation when I found myself a bit jealous of a friend who was making serious moves in televisions news. I was happy for her, but also lamenting at the same time, whining and wondering why I hadn’t “made it” yet. And I suddenly realized…“Wait… I don’t even want to <>be<> a TV reporter.”A lot of times, the envy we feel is for stuff that, honestly, isn’t even on our personal radar.And to that I say, ’tis a wise chick who does her own funky thang. :o)

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  13. Wow…I think I've said that 7-word line too many times recently…needless to say this post is just what I needed today….10 snaps, hugs&kisses, much love, peace&blessings and all that good,good

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  14. you think too damn much…probably more than i do, lol.but i enjoyed this post anyway. the whole “waiting to get your life together” mentality is a trap i put myself in for a good while before I had to wake up and realize that life was just passing me by while I was just playing the waiting game. it’s nice to have this post as a reminder of why i’m on a new tip these days. no point in forcing yourself to play catch up. let personal growth and transition occur at the pace it’s meant to based on what works for you. the whole “i’ve got it together” thing will find it’s way in your life when the time’s right.

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  15. This post brings back memories. I used to have the same conversations with my friends…ahhhhhhh seems like yesterday. Actually…it was just the other day. Regardless of how old you are, there is always going to be something that might make you feel like you should be doing more with your life. And that’s OK…it’ll keep you striving.

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  16. @Ladelee LMFAO @ the MC Hammer dance. I think you’re absolutely right. The key of course, is figuring out your lane and where u want it to take u@V you know I am all about healthy competition but I think this is def one of those things that falls into the catagory of unrealistic expectations. People always talk about how people, women especially, have to operate under these unattainable physical goals; but why is not one really rallying against the “having it all” mystique?@Joy I think it will happen when it is meant to happen, just like everything else we try to force into place on our own timeline. Comparing yourself to others IS exhausting; especially cuz 9 times outta 10, their shit ain’t all that together either.@Adei I am SO jealous of them too, lol. I swear this convo is like THE convo to have, lol@Jonzee bwahahaha! I SO support going to the bar more than I support going to work. There has to be some way I can make money AND drink…I have no illusions that 30 is the great equalizer, lol. I have too many 30something friends for that. 40 neither (I’ve seen my mom’s friends.) I generally tend to regard 50 as the Age of Fuckit.@Torrance, you know, I think you’re right 🙂@Lady I’ll take that as a compliment, lol@Candice you’re more than welcome. The funny thing about it is that I think we are all smart enough to know that the expectation of a perfect life is absurb and ridiculous at best, but it certainly is at this age. And yet, we still want it, lol@Mr. Slish “I think you’re a female version of myself.” You know been sayin that since you started coming around here, lol. I can’t even imagine what I will know in a few years when I hit 30… I just hope it’s more than what I’m working with now because I feel like a MORON, lol@Chris BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!! *waving my church fan in the air*@Jam “first it would require you to grow some parts you don’t need and get rid of others” BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I am very attached to all my god given parts, thank you. It is SO annoying. I just keep reminding myself that I am continuously learning this over and over again because it hasn’t sunk in yet… and then I go off muttering to myself under my breath, lol.@Bytch I remember having a very revealing convo with my therapist once. She asked me, “Why are you so hard on yourself?” My answer; “It never occurred to me not to be.” I think that is the root of many of my control and perfectionist issues…I just gotta work on not being too lazy to try to change, lol@Rashan now I would hope that you of all people would recognize that I am not nearly optimistic enough to believe in that, lol@Q I had a friend tell me I needed to be less responsible. I looked at her like she had just started singing hymns to the moon in Hindu. I was SO confused, lol. You might be right, but it is not my way, lol@Duck I loved that post. I linked it up there. Did you see? I am getting SO tired of it myself. Which is prob why I have been blogging less and less; I have actually been DOING something about it. Especially considering that, like we said, most of the time it’s just straight up foolishness, not actual stuff that needs to be dealt with in order to grow as a person. People who are ridiculous in their 20s will probably still be ridiculous in their 30s-80s; they’re just ridiculous, lol. “A lot of times, the envy we feel is for stuff that, honestly, isn’t even on our personal radar.”WHERE WERE YOU WITH THAT LIKE 2 YEARS AGO?!?! lol@a.j. It’s almost like a reflex now, like when someone sneezes, you say ‘bless you’. Now, when you drop your groceries (which I did) because you’re carrying too much shit you say, “I need to get my life together.” We’re a mess, lol@your truly I am QUEEN of cerebral exercises in futility, lol. I think that’s what bothers me about many of my friends, including the one that I had this convo with. They are all missing out on so much life waiting for things to look like what they THINK everything should be.@Diva “there is always going to be something that might make you feel like you should be doing more with your life. And that’s OK…it’ll keep you striving.”I could not agree more.

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  17. Loving ur blog!!!!I would have to agree with you on mostly everything you saidI think almost everything is relative. We shouldn’t rate our happiness on someone else or what they have. You never get rich counting someone else’s treasure. Everyone’s struggle is different. I think we put too much pressure on ourselves, trying to fit into this mold of what we SHOULD be doing. It seems silly, but I know someone who doesn’t mind being broke. Well, not broke but she maintains and that’s it. She’s content with just living and enjoying what there is to enjoy. I personally don’t share the same sentiment, but I admire her humility. She’s beautiful, smart, and talented, and at 24, can have anything she wants. But she’s just happy being her… not feeling the need to conform to what’s suppoed to be normal. Normal is relative.

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  18. I try not to compare myself. It is not easy. I try to look at all the assets (positive) in my life. Then the liabilities (negatives). If I have more assets, then I am happy.

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  19. For awhile, I hated hearing that ANOTHER person was engaged. But when I honestly assessed myself, I KNOW I’m not there. I can’t lie, though…it does make me want to get my life together:)

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  20. This blog got me thinking how I've never had this problem. In fact, I tell my younger friends “hey just look at me, almost 27, no job, no money, no plans, working on my degree for the 8th year, and I'm totally fine. So you will be too”.

    I think my mom and dad's fucked up relationship and especially my dad's disappointment at his life has saved me from thinking I “need” to be married by a certain age or that I “need” to have kids or own a house. Cause none of that shit makes you happy. Trust me, I've seen it. In fact, it makes you UNhappy, because getting married and especially having kids will prevent you from doing what you actually want to do, because you need to provide for them. You can't be a totally selfish asshole when you have kids. (Provided that you're a normal human being with feelings.)

    As for having lots of money and your dream house… Yea that would be awesome. But again it doesn't make you happy. If you think that's all you need to make you happy you're probably wrong.

    Anyway I could ramble on forever. But my point is, even if you get that dream job at 38, you'll still have 30 years to work in it. That seems like 20 years too much.

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