26 Going on 96 (Or, How to Be Hot & Old and Stop the Rat Race)
December 1, 2016
It has come to my attention that I am 26 going on 96. Perhaps it was as I stood in line at the hostess stand, waiting for a table at my once-upon-a-time favorite bar that I realized this. I was yawning, and simultaneously complaining to the ol' man friend (PFP), that it was so late. To my dismay, it was only 8pm.
Or perhaps it was when I realized that one of the true, genuine happy moments of my week is when I realize that I actually ate all the meals I planned and the tupperware stack in my fridge has systematically gone down.
Like I said, 26 going on 96.
Last night, I grabbed drinks with two friends. And I couldn't help but notice that for all the similarities of age, education & life 'spot', we are so damned different. My one friend is a constant job seeker. The type that always has their eye out, is always self-promoting, looking five steps ahead for a challenge to add to his existing 10.
And as he was talking about fellowships and boards and nonsense, it just kind of... hit me. All around me, from friends and bloggers and social media, I hear the message screamed "more." If you look at society, it's pushing 20-somethings to always be craving "more." Not just material goods... but More. Your self-care should be More. Your workout should be More. Your vacation should not just be vacation, but a Wellness Vacation. Your hobby should be a Side-Hustle. Your interest should be a Passion. More more more more. Everything needs to be More.
Our generation does not now when More is Enough. I feel genuinely bad for this friend, and others I see in a similar spot, because there is no contentment. I think it's great to want to push your career and set goals and accomplish All The Things, but not a the risk where you're never satisfied with Now. More, More, More... but also, Now. Now is good too. And Now is part of the process.
So here I am. I do not want More. Genuinely. For the first time, I am happy to take a deep ol' breath and have a job where I can learn from a woman who has a lot to teach, and I can grow within time. But that time is not now, and I am absolutely content with that.
Several months ago, I made the choice to take myself out of the Rat Race. I cut down on volunteer obligations, networking "must-do" events, self-promotion of career moves, and even "friends." I cut it all out because I was burning out.
And if last night was anything, it was a reminder that I'm not ready to enter it back in yet. All of those things -- volunteering, connecting, friendships, personal development -- should be good things, and not another check-list. I'm happy to welcome them back into my life in a manner that accomplishes that.
But until I open the door to More's constant knocking and see it wrapped in a scarf of genuine Joy, I'm happy to sit on the couch and enjoy some quiet. Because if it's real Joy, it's not going anywhere.