Next 4th of July.
Originally posted July 9, 2017 on the previous Little Mountains Blog website.
Holidays are such an interesting barometer of time to me. Being the nostalgic, slightly obsessive person I am, I like using holidays as year-over-year metrics for life. This 4th of July, my equally as nostalgic and slightly obsessive friend (hi, love you, mean that in the kindest way possible) pointed out to me just how much things had changed since the 4th last year. This, naturally, got me thinking about just how different things might be again next year.
Let me start in the here and now. This year, I spent the 4th of July with my parents and our cats. I took a walk around the neighborhood (with just my parents, not the cats), visited with an old neighbor, and stayed inside to make sure the kitties weren’t too scared while people set off fireworks in the street. Then I went to bed at a reasonable hour. Wild night, I know.
Last year, things were vastly different. I was living in Los Angeles, working and “adulting” as best I could. My soon-to-be boyfriend at the time had called things off a few days before because he wasn’t sure about us. My roommates and I had a party for the 4th where I ended up meeting someone new. Later I watched the fireworks go off over the marina with him and our friends. In the following week we went on one date, he left for a month long vacation, and I got back together with the original guy who had called things off.
For some reason, this year my neighborhood-walking-cat-comforting 4th of July didn’t bring quite as much excitement or drama. And that is fine by me.
This year, I am boyfriend-less, apartment-less, and even full-time job-less. I have no dating prospects, I’m living with my parents, and I’m trying to make it as a writer. And I’ve never felt better.
I’m not dating by choice, but I haven’t closed myself off to the possibility. If someone comes into my life, great. But I’m not out there looking for someone to fill a void I need to figure out how to fill on my own. I’m taking the time to work on myself. And there’s a lot of work to be done.
I don’t have my own place, but I get to hang out with two of the most loving, supportive parents that have ever existed everyday. We listen to 80s rock together and watch sports and HGTV. My dad asks every other week when the next season of Stranger Things comes out, and tells me I can live at home until I’m 30 (I won’t, but I appreciate the permission). My mom takes me to flea markets and vintage clothing stores and tries her best not to ask who I’m texting or where I’m going because I’m an “adult.” I still tell her when I’ll be home because I know she’ll stay up worrying. They’re always on my team, and that means the world to me.
I don’t have a full-time job. I don’t have a regular salary, benefits, or job security. But what I do have is a passion that I’m slowly turning into a career. I’m pursuing this freelance writing thing, and truth be told, it’s not going half bad! I’m gaining clients, making connections, and for the first time, what I do everyday actually makes me happy. I’m confident that one day it will turn into something more stable. And I’m okay with the process of slowly getting there.
So if I had to tell you where I might be next 4th of July, I couldn’t. I have no idea. I can tell you that I’d like to be living on my own, making a living off of my writing, and enjoying my early 20s. More than that, I’d like to have a better handle on my mental health as well as my physical health. But if I’m learning anything from looking back on these markers in time, it’s that we simply can’t predict the future. Groundbreaking, I know, but sometimes it takes work to honestly accept that fact.
This is not a criticism of people who have relationships and jobs and homes of their own. A part of me is still incredibly jealous of you. But this is a recognition that we are all on our own path and moving at our own pace. I’m just settling into mine.
Do I want to be 24 and still living with my parents? No. But I’m more open to where life takes me now than I have been before. And I’m learning to let go of the things I think I should be doing because I think they will validate me as a successful adult. Now I feel validated when I write, when I do yoga, or when I connect with people over the things we’re passionate about. And right now, that’s more than enough.