Observations of Adulthood Vol. 1: idk what I’m doing but no one else does either

It’s 2019 and I’m resurrecting the blog because when life is going sideways what better way to cope then to narrate and condense my persona for the internet to consume!

I’m now 23 years old and it’s been exactly 239 days (7 months) since graduation. I’ve been working for 7 months, I’ve paid rent 7 times, I started and stopped my MFA, I bought plants, considered a PhD, deleted Instagram off my phone but kept it on my iPad, and whatever else millennials do.

I have a good job doing work I actually like and I’m able to work remotely and live in a one bedroom apartment with no roommates. Lately I’m realizing how often I catch myself waiting for the other shoe to drop. I was a studio art major in undergrad at a small liberal arts school in Virginia — how the hell did I end up with a full-time graphic design job where I have healthcare and benefits and a 401k and vacation days I don’t even know what to do with??!

I was so sure that I needed to suffer more to really “earn” this (although I definitely did my fair share of suffering in undergrad) that I applied for an MFA a month before classes started because full-time school with my full-time job seemed like a great idea. I swore I would never go if by some miracle I got in because it was way too expensive but I ended up getting a merit scholarship and enrolled then hated the program and left.

I’m very afraid that I don’t know how to let things just be enough. I’ve worked so hard for every single piece of the life I’m living right now and I still don’t think I’m good enough to have any of it. I keep thinking I need to do more and be more or the universe will realize I’m not worthy and will take all of it away. 

The hardest part of post grad has been loosing the audience of classmates and professors I definitely took for granted. With everything I create or write, if no one sees it does it matter? Do I?

It’s not that the career stuff has been easier than I thought it would be; I think it’s more that I never realized how high my tolerance for difficult really was.

The weirdest part of post grad has been commitment. Signing leases, signing job contracts, MFA or PhD — these are years. The new standard of time is years. How am I supposed to know what my 27 year old self wants I’ve only just started understanding the crap my 21 year old self did??!

I wish more people talked about what you do when everything goes right (because frankly I have no fucking idea). What do you do after sitting alone in your apartment filling out w9 tax forms for The New Yorker and double checking to make sure you put in the right direct deposit info for your Condé Nast invoice? What do you do when you’ve meal prepped for the week and unpacked from your vacation to Florida to see one of your best friends slaying it at vet school and have already taped on your wall the letters your old studio/soul mates (shoutout Nene & Jinny always) just sent you? Like what the hell???

I really really do like my life. But I wish my friends were closer. I wish I didn’t feel the need to dilute all of the goodness happening by talking about the semi-failure of my adult socializing life in order to make the business school majors I encounter feel better about their own poor decisions even though some of them were the same ones who gave me hella shit in undergrad (“Studio art major? So you like want to be poor?” I kid you not a direct quote). I wish I didn’t keep saying “I don’t know how all this happened” as if I couldn’t give you an itemized list of all the internal jujitsu I put myself through in order to handle all of the freelance commissions, thesis projects, skill learning, concentration forcing and mental capacity pushing that I did for four long years of college (on top of the whole school and being on an athletic scholarship and trying to have life thing).

It’s so annoying how much the gendered stuff starts to slowly but surely reveal itself you. It’s like a re-introduction from the “you” you thought you were to the “you” society trained you to be. All of that stuff about how woman are socialized to put other people’s emotions over there own is a full on fact, that women downplay their accomplishments and bracket them with some type of flaw to make it more digestible for other people is another fact, and fact: I’m guilty of doing both. But, fact: it’s a new year and I’m gonna try to do better because even with all of the BS being a woman is still awesome.

As I’ve gotten older I’m starting to really understand how much some (and by some I mean a hell of a lot) of men (cis straight men in their twenties) are incredibly self tortured. It’s wild to behold; people who have everything laid out for them, all of western society literally engineered for and by them to succeed — and what do they do? They drive themselves insane in their own minds like some kind of sick cosmic penance for all of the inequality that exists.

Life is pretty crazy.

-Liz

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