Twelve 20-somethings chronicle their lives for WBUR. Learn more.
The first person that came to mind when I read this question was my cousin. She is only a year older, but our lifestyles could not be more different. The economy, the price of an education, the accessibility of students loans in almost any amount, and our views on relationships have all conspired to drive a wedge between me and the one person with whom I’ve spent almost my entire life.
My cousin likes to go out, while I barely know what a weekend is. She subscribes to retail therapy, while I window shop at the grocery store. She works in benefits management, while, well … I don’t plan to retire. And she likes to bet on sports, when I feel adventurous buying a $1 scratch ticket. PS. I never win.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that online shopping is not a tandem sport, and that I am in no way obligated to make an actual wager while watching sports, but I’m embarrassed not to be able to afford a cover charge and drinks. Even without time constraints, of which there are many, I have to save up to give Celtics tickets as gifts. And I never have anything new to report, which I’m sure is boring to a girl that knows virtually everything about me.
I hate to think that money is driving us apart, but I know she tires of hearing me say I cannot afford something or I have to work, and I can hardly bear having to say it.
The second thing that comes to mind is how disappointing my life must be to those who educated and mentored me. I showed potential in college. They were great years. I was a dramaturg, director, and writer. Now I am a box-office manager, assistant house manager, and half-price ticket seller.
I am proud of myself, and I am sure that many of my professors are proud of me as well, but it gets harder and harder to explain that I’m not working on anything because I’m too busy or that I don’t know if I have it in me anymore to direct. I’m tired, and enjoying my mid-twenties is very high on my list of priorities. Balancing my potential, my expectations of myself, the expectations of others, the things I want to do, and my obligations is not easy. My obligations are winning by far.
I want to foster an artistic identity in the Boston arts community. But instead I am just the girl who is working about 50 percent of the events you attend in a given month.
I wouldn’t make it through without my mom and my friends. I have the kind of mom who thinks that I’m doing better because I am persevering in the face of hardship, and the kind of friends that buy me breakfast when I overdraft. These are the people who applaud finding both a dress and a skirt for $1 each, who think I’m funny instead of bitter, and who read my blog and tell me it’s good because it’s true.
I do not own anything fancy, I can never make it home for a visit, and sometimes life puts me in a really bad mood, but I have somehow found (or been born to) people that love me anyway.
I actually feel pretty blessed these days. I have been revealing a lot about myself and my situation on this blog. I am proud of what I have written, and I am amazed that people are not only reading, but responding. I am now more sure than ever that hard times are what makes good times worth having.