My generation was raised on Blink-182. We watched them run naked down the street in music videos. We thought it was funny when they said bad words and talked about private parts and sex in an irreverent way. I guess precursors to this (for people a little closer to 30 than I am) were things like Beavis and Butthead. Blink-182 and Beavis and Butthead both gave a similar message: “don’t grow up.” Their message changed a generation, teaching people to laugh at themselves, to get in trouble, and to stop taking life seriously. Growing up wasn’t just optional in this context – it was unallowed. However, everyone learns that growing up is means for survival, even for three naked dudes running down the street in Los Angeles singing about prank calling your Mom.
I sometimes get uncomfortable when I see so many of my peers moving to the later stages of life. To be clear, I am fine and happy where I’m at when I can shut out the rest of the world, but this call for rushed maturity can carry pretty far.
What’s a Career?
One kid I went to high school with has a full-time job at his father’s business. Scratch that – two kids I went to high school with got jobs at their father’s businesses. Both of their fathers have been very successful, and they were the “rich kids” growing up. Personally I don’t have anything against them for that. Granted, their futures were basically predetermined for them by their families. The point is, though, they will probably be working in these businesses for the rest of their lives. I have other friends who are working career type jobs too without the family hand up. To me, however, that’s unthinkable. Not because I’m opposed to it, but it seems so far away from where I’m at. I don’t know enough about myself or my life or the world to settle on a career yet. I have aspirations and dreams: writing, music, etc. But I don’t know what I want my actual job title to be. The fact that these people are getting there way faster than I am, and that’s kind of scary.
Two of my best friends moved to Oklahoma last year. A strong person in my support system moved to Los Angeles and has entered into a committed relationship. I’m still living in the city I grew up in, though. Frankly, I like it here, but I’d be lying if I said a change didn’t seem nice sometimes. But rent is cheap, I’m working a good job that allows me to play music and travel, and I get all four seasons. However, I can’t always shut off that dissenting voice in my head that says “what are you doing with your life? Why are you still here?” I think the reason for that is I imagine people I grew up with – those peers who have moved away and are onto “better” things or “the next stages of life” – what would they think or say that about people like me who have stayed where they’re at. On some level, it’s easy to say “forget them” But on another, when I see people my age moving across the country to go do things they love, it makes me wonder if I really am in the right place. At the same time, I don’t want to become the jaded jerk who leaves and thinks they’re cooler for it. When I get discouraged by thoughts of those people who have moved, I become at-risk for that attitude.
I have successfully dodged several relationships at this point in which I may be having kids before I found myself ready for them. Every time I see my ex girlfriend talk about her baby fever on Facebook, I cheer for myself a little inside for breaking up with her. Every time I see other my ex girlfriends with kids talk about them, my thoughts are somewhere along the lines of “that’s cute” and also a big fat “NOPE.” I find this really weird as most of us are in debt and haven’t accounted for the financial cost of having children. Many of them have already found the person they plan on spending their lives with as well. I use the word “plan” very intentionally. Some of these people are really stupid and probably don’t have themselves in check enough to be successful at marriage (though I wish them the best). The point is that it’s strange when people ask me why I’m not married yet — Isn’t that the exact opposite of something you should jump into? Don’t pressure me. And kids? I’m not thirty yet, let’s talk about it then.
Light at the End of the Tunnel (It’s Okay)
At the end of the day I’ve found solace in the time I have left to do all of these things. I’ve found solace in being happy where I’m at. Most of all, I’ve found solace in knowing that as long as I’m taking care of myself and my responsibilities, that other people’s feelings of what I’m doing have no bearing on my life. Of course, I’m writing about this right now because those thoughts of “you’re not moving fast enough” get to me on a regular basis. But when I’m able to separate my fears from reality, things start to feel better really quick. It’s nice to have good feelings based on good facts.
Tell me about your best friends moving away or your first time hearing Blink-182 on Twitter @robolitious.