Hello August, your arrival means that summer is going to start winding down in my part of the world. Not that I have had a fun summer to be honest – we did have one family beach day that left me with a painful sunburn and a cough that has not fully subsided (five weeks later). I was hoping for more adventure but due to conflicting schedules and tight funds, it was hard to really have the kind of idyllic summer I have always wanted to have, but of course there is always next year and the hope that an unknown relative leaves an inheritance to me with the condition that I use it all for fun.
It’s a perfect time to return to filling up this space with some of my thoughts and experiences. I’ve been in a weird mental space for the last few months, finding myself feeling like things should be a million times better but remembering that things have been worse than this.
It all started during my last semester where I took this class that was unexpectedly (and weirdly) self-reflective. It left me feeling like there is so much out there I have not experienced and made me feel caged in by my own self-imposed limitations. These thoughts made me long for my youth and for the opportunity to do things “right” which of course is bullshit because I am sure even if I did things “right” there would be things I would still find wrong and want a do-over for.
Exploring many of the topics that came up during the course made me turn even more inward and realize how small and lonely my world is. Besides my parents, husband, and kids, I do not have friends that I see or talk to on a regular basis. I started wondering if it is something about me… am I the asshole friend who doesn’t realize that I am the asshole friend and this is how I ended up feeling like I have no friends? I don’t know – I am still working on that answer.
What I did come to terms with a while ago is the fact that I need to stop picking the wrong people (e.g., people who do not reciprocate or are energy vampires) to be friends with.
My friends did not overlap too much in terms of knowing each other, which I liked because there would be no group drama (been there, did not want to relive that), but I also had friends that were okay with not seeing or hearing from you much because they were doing their own thing. I used to think that was an awesome thing, not to have to be always meshed into someone else’s space to mean something to them, but over time I realized that the low frequency of interaction is exactly what eventually wears down whatever bond existed. If you aren’t making new memories together, how much can the past keep you connected?
In the past, I would be okay with being the friend that people leaned on as they went through crisis mode but when things went back to normal – silence. Or I was the friend who was randomly ghosted and would always try to reconnect based on the sentimental feelings of past shared memories. In the last two years, I have had two long term friendships fade away without explanation or drama – and while I know people outgrow each other, it still cut deep to be so optional to two people I cared so much for and thought they felt the same.
Now I know that I want my future friends to be interactive and be a constant presence. I guess once I figure how to make new friends at 40, I will put that into practice.
Career wise, I am feeling stuck. I am almost at the two-year mark at my part-time gig and while I did finally graduate from college a couple of months ago, I have no clue what to do next. While I actually like the people I work with (they are an interesting group), and the tasks I do, realistically it is not a position that can morph into a full-time spot. I am caught between wishing I had the means to go to graduate school full-time for the next two-years to really pursue what I want to do (because of course my field requires at least a Master’s and a state license) and being scared of being trapped in the wrong position for years.
Realistically, I need to get over the fear and find a full-time position because I need to get my finances back under control. I have been discretely job hunting but it is stressful and confusing because people want you to be so qualified but do not want to compensate you accordingly. Seeing these job postings that seem fake because how many companies can be realistically hiring (specific position) at (specific salary range) every month when that posting goes up by the same recruiter or the jobs that catch my eye, don’t pay the minimum I need to make to cover my bills and the future student loan payments that will become due in a few months.
I am sure it will eventually work itself out or I will make my circumstances work as best as I can because that’s what I have been doing.