Friday, November 18, 2011

The Day the Grinch Known As "30," My Landlord, & the IRS Stole Thursday

Dear Yesterday,

You were not supposed to go like that. I was not supposed to have a meltdown at work because I have hit my cap for tolerating irritating behavior. I was not supposed to have a 45-minute talk with a colleague in a superior position and at minute 40, finally let those words choke me up and spill a few tears. You know those words: "I'm 30 and I'm an assistant." I quit being an assistant when I was twenty-six. I swore off positions that were abusive, or took all of my time, or made me rip my hair out because I was paying enormous student loan payments with an enormously low paying job where I was asked to to do anything from heavy research to picking tomatoes out of a salad. But at twenty-eight a really good opportunity came my way. I could work for an awesome woman in a different setting: education. And for the last couple years, it has been a sweet gig. Winter vacation, spring vacation, and a few weeks during the summer. Jewish holidays off. Columbus day off. And my days generally end at 4:30. Life has been good. Is good. I have never felt like "the help." But with some recent turn around, some new colleagues, that old familiar feeling has come back. Being asked to staple packets is something you can be enthusiastic about when you're 22...not 30. Maybe its the age, or maybe it's that I'm being asked by people who I am not an assistant for, and that I am being asked for "my services" as if I am nothing more than a hand pressing down on a busted stapler that won't punch through too many papers, a finger pushing the word "copy" or someone who knows how to schedule an appointment between an investment banker, an art curator and a principal,  but yesterday I felt a little bit defeated, perhaps humiliated by myself and that I have let myself be content for so long. I tell myself, But I'm pursuing writing. This is the perfect day job for someone who wants to write!!  But yesterday, I could not find the silver lining.

I know, I should be grateful that I have a job. (And trust me I am!) As someone who lives paycheck to paycheck, the fact that I have a steady job is never lost on me. But I'm also a human being and sometimes, although I hate to admit it, I get disappointed in myself and the way things have rolled out the last ten years. I thought "30" would look a whole lot different.  You know, like, I'd maybe be married with maybe a baby that I only fed organic food from my garden and a huge house... with a pool and a kitchen island...or living in another country, having shirked the ancient rituals of "marriage" and "family," living with a partner that enjoyed traveling and hated our frequent run-ins with the paparazzi as much as I did...and I'd have three books published with a production currently running on Broadway. I'd be writing my Oscar speech right about now for the brilliant movie I had written last year starring Daniel Day Lewis and Meryl Streep and my brother. What I never factored in was the world changing and how difficult my twenties would be, how even though I felt very moved on from "my past," navigating the effects of it would be more challenging and paralyzing than I ever imagined.

I have been feeling a change inside me, an internal shift. Some call it "baby fever," I call it "what the fuck?" There, I said it, I am feeling very ready for the next chapter- the marriage I swore I'd never do, the baby I know I've always wanted. But I also know that financially I am not ready and there is a fear that maybe emotionally or mentally I am not ready. But when are you? I've been doing a lot of work on myself the last (almost) two years, and I have seen a big difference in my sanity. But I want to be REAL sure things are working alright inside here before being in charge of another human being who needs me all the time. So, I shifted my "baby fever" on getting a dog. Maybe that would sort of suffice or at least be good practice. We waited for a week and a half to get an answer from our landlord and the answer came yesterday: NO. I actually felt my chin quiver when I got this news after the end of my disastrous work day. Mike cheered me up and we went for a beer.  After a couple laughs we came home and there was a letter from the IRS on my doorstep about a stupid never ending mistake I made in 2009 on my taxes because I have self-diagnosed dyscalculia (I've been telling people for years that I switch numbers!). I owe them more money for another fucking fee/penalty/I don't even know what the fuck it is. Then, because I have to work a gazillion jobs, I sat down and read for 2.5 hours a book that I am writing up coverage on. It was a shitty day. . .but the thing I liked best was that I did realize that there was something I had achieved by 30. No, I am not a world famous writer. (I only just took the password off my blog a month ago) Yes, I am working a job way beneath my potential. But I AM writing and I did find that partner that I can shirk the blues with. I am not a complete failure, despite the back whipping I would love to give myself every day, despite the enormous debt, and very low amount in my checking account, despite the no-dog, no-baby, no-kitchen island truth, I found a guy who's pretty rad. So I do have that going for me.

So yesterday, can we try this again, today?

Gratefully,
Lindsey

15 comments:

Just Me said...

We have way more in common than you will ever know...I felt like you wrote this about ME just two years ago. SO much can happen --- in just two years.

Lindsey said...

Thanks for posting! Do you have a blog? I'm looking for that change. Feel ready for that change. But just trying to take it one day a time without losing it! Thanks again!

Carrie said...

I can totally relate to being raised by a dad. My mom was there, but she wasn't, due to a severe mental illness. For 5 years I was a social worker/therpaist and just recently quit for my sanity. I'm now 30 and back to being a receptionist. Woo hoo! But honestly social work was hell so I'm ok just answering phones for a while. Loved your writing, keep going!


I blog at http://bloggingvanities.blogspot.com

jaguwar said...

AW! I feel your pain! I am your worst nightmare: 40, and in a very similar situation. I'm a slow mover (no duh!) and I did start off a little faster, perhaps, than you did (I have three kids, the oldest of which turned 17 yesterday, and the youngest will be 9 in a few months) but I'm twice divorced. I do what amounts to menial part-time labor for wages that do not add up to enough to keep up with rent and utilities on a regular basis, let alone treat myself (or my kids). I had a moment of clarity last year that culminated in divorce (one that was better than the resignation I thought I was ready for), but I've stalled out.

Again.

So thanks for the post. It might inspire tomorrow's post. It will also turn into a link from my blog to yours. Just because it's nice to know I'm not alone.

*HUGS*

Rose said...

Visualize it and it will come.

Rose said...

Visualize it and it will come. If only you could see yourself through my eyes. You would see a stunning Lady in Paris wearing a big rabbit coat pushing a Baby carriage.

Lindsey said...

Thanks for posting! I can't tell you how much it means to have people respond to this one! Carrie, thanks for the support and for being awesome by leaving a job that made you unhappy. I was okay with being a receptionist and an assistant, but yesterday was not. Today its okay cause I'm writing and connecting with people like yourself. Looking forward to your blog!
And jaguwar, thank you for sharing and for being so courageous! The moment of clarity sounds very inspiring. Looking forward to your blog as well. Hugs to you,too! I take solace in a saying my friend once said to me: "Life is long, you can get it all in." We are each on our own path and its nice to meet some folks more on my speed : )

Lindsey said...

Thanks, Rose! I'm working on that visualizing! Really trying to focus on the positive and be more fearless. Be more trusting in the universe : )

S. Stauss said...

I love your writing. This made me cry a little, for you and for a younger me. Keep writing, it touches something big.

Lindsey said...

Thank you so much! These comments have truly lifted me today. And thanks for reading. It means the world, literally!

Summer said...

Tony, I love reading your stuff. This last post was so honest and vulnerable, it made me tear up. As far as baby fever goes, there's never the right time, never enough money, never the perfect situation...it doesn't matter if you're the best parent in the world, or if you still have issues that need to be worked out - all that matters to your baby is that you love them. Everything else will work itself out. And as far as career goes, I fear everyday that I will never get back in the game after taking 2 years off to stay home with the wee ones. But I'm happy, so that's what really counts. Hope you're day is a little better today than yesterday! xoxo

Lindsey said...

Thanks, Summer! It means a lot coming from you. I'm terrified of "it" and that I'm going to screw it up either with not enough money, stability, sanity, whatever the case! But hearing you say that really puts things into perspective. Thanks for reading and commenting! xo

Colleen said...

I love your writing too! You are doing everything right. I understand "that feeling"...we need that feeling sometimes to urge us on to something new... But don't be too hard on yourself. You're right when you say that we all have our own paths.
Sometimes I regret not doing anything 'career-wise' with my 20s (I'm 38 with no savings, married with a 3 year old and a 11 month old), but most of the time I'm happy that I traveled and studied and learned so much about myself.
You're only 30! You are so young. Your best years are still ahead. Hang in there.

Nicole said...

You are a great writer. I had a mini-breakdown at 30. Life never quite goes how we expect does it? Keep writing. I love to read it!

Lindsey said...

Thanks for the comments and sharing. Definitely feeling like I'm at my breaking point but its great to hear people who made it to the other side and to hear that I'm young! Thanks! I keep telling myself just one day at a time, one foot in front of the other. Thanks for the encouragement!