The WTF Years
I’ve recently hit the age that I call the age of what the fuck. I’m not even joking here. I wish I was. See, I’m in my 20’s. I had a pretty ideal childhood. I was taught morality and kindness. I was taught to rely on myself, but always had family and friend’s support. I was told I could do anything I wanted to do. I could be anything I wanted to be. The world was mine.
At 8 I wanted to be a scientist. I spent hours with my neighbors, kids who also wanted to be scientists (this was when science was cool and involved making things go boom), poring over how to books and DIY experiments. I could be a scientist if I wanted to be, my mom told me, handing me a book. I treated that book like a I mixed a few shiesty chemicals and the book was confiscated. I didn’t think too much of it at that point. Science was boring.
When I was 11 I wanted to be a doctor. My dad taught me anatomy, biology, showed me diagrams of DNA and showed me how CPR really works. Education is everything, he told me. Ironic actually because shortly after that speech a thing called high school happened. In high school I realized I hated math, science was not like Dexter’s laboratory, and essays were always more original when you haven’t read the book. I started to hear rumors about college acceptances, the job market. These speeches were treated like my geometry class. It didn’t matter anyway. I was 16 years old. I had my whole life ahead of me. The entire world was waiting.
I went to a good high school and graduated with an average GPA. I got accepted to a good college and enrolled in classes picked by me. Now people always say high school doesn’t prepare you for college. I disagree. For me, it was an easy transition. My parents’ advice stayed with me. If I wanted it, I could get it. Hard work pays off. I made good friend and went to fun parties. I chose classes that interested me, from world dance to religion, Kafka and Milton, social anatomy and linguistics, Spanish and writing. I joined a sorority and played dress up on Mondays, attended meetings and brainstormed ideas for philanthropies and projects. I got an internship designing marketing projects for a land development company. I learned quickly and worked hard. On weekends I put off work and drank beer. Friends who were older than me started complaining about the job market, moving home, choosing a career. I wasn’t worried. I could do anything I wanted to do. I was smart, and therefore, the exception.
And then I graduated. I went to Italy and taught English for a few months. I came back and made rent by modeling teen clothes lines and a hipster jeans brand. I wrote articles for a few local magazines and edited pieces during press time. I tried to ghostwrite until I watched the “author” receive praise for my words. I lived dollar to dollar. My parents asked me what I was doing with my life. I had no idea. I liked not knowing.
And then one day I caved. I took a job that allowed me to live stress free. My paychecks came every two weeks and my days were spent in an office on the outskirts of a large city.
And so I did what any 22 year old working 9 – 7 Monday through Friday and living on her own would do. I freaked the fuck out.
The outcome? Ha.