When I grow up

Today was a rainy Monday, and my mood matched the weather: bleh.

Last spring, when the hubs graduated from business school, I quit my very comfortable and safe consulting job to try my hand at freelancing for a year.  After an amazing summer of world travel and general care-free-ness, we settled in New York City and then…

…well, as it turns out freelancing is hard.

I miss my office and having co-workers around; I miss happy hours (obviously); I miss not waking up every day and having to hustle my butt off trying to find work so that I can contribute enough to our household income to bring our budget into the black (barely).

I have always said I’d love to work from home and work for myself.  Well, I’m living my dream.  And it’s damn hard some days.

Today I spent a considerable amount of time scanning my college alumni directory to see if any of my former classmates might be good people for me to network with or generate leads from.  I went to a very selective, professionally-driven school, so it’s not surprising that every entry seems to be “lawyer” or “doctor” or “president of blah blah blah.”

And then there’s me.  Wanna-be freelancer.  Wearer of pajamas on the couch at 2 PM.  Who talks to her cats all day.

What the heck have I done with myself for the last eight years?  Why does everyone else seem to have it figured out but me?

In short…how am I nearly 30 years old and still don’t have any clue what I want to do with my life?

I know that I’m not the only one who feels this way.  Actually, I think it’s a fairly common sentiment among today’s 20- and 30-somethings.  An intense anxiety about finding true happiness in our careers and a reluctance to settle for anything less.  We watched our parents’ generation work for the same companies for decades, surviving the drudgery, neither miserable nor happy.  We don’t want that.  We want to find the dream job, the elusive career that allows one to truly say that they love going to work every day.  And we’re determined keep switching jobs and collecting graduate degrees until we find it.

Does that job actually exist though?  Are we setting ourselves up for failure with this relentless quest for career nirvana?

I do know one thing.  The grass is  greener on the other side.  I love that I am trying out something that I’ve always wanted to do, but I’d be lying if I didn’t spend some days wishing I could just go to an office, clock in,  fill out some TPS reports, and clock out.

(And collect a paycheck, of course.  Oh paychecks…how I miss you!)

I guess I will figure it out someday.  Or…not?  Who knows.  Honestly, in many ways I don’t feel like a real adult yet, so maybe I’ve got some time to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

Today’s EAT: One thing that my flexible freelance schedule allows me to do is to play Martha Stewart.  Quite literally, tonight, with this MS Lighter General Tso’s Chicken:

I *really* liked how this came out.  It tasted like real restaurant Chinese.  No, better than restaurant Chinese, because the chicken was nice and juicy and not totally greasy.

Mods:

  • I used a red bell pepper and some chopped french green beans instead of snow peas.
  • I used a bit more than 1 TBSP of oil to fry the chicken in.  Maybe even 2.  Worth it.
  • I doubled (and then some) the red pepper flakes.  Spicy = good!

Today’s DRINK: The hubs did not want any wine tonight (hiss boo, hubs!), and I didn’t want to open a bottle just for me.  Instead I sipped on a Brooklyn Pilsner with dinner.

Today’s RUN: Day off!  I hadn’t had a full day off in over a week, so I relaxed and didn’t even leave my apartment today.  (It was a fine day for staying inside anyway, given the craptastic weather.)

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11 responses to “When I grow up

  1. I seriously dream of pursuing freelance writing when I graduate with my master’s in May…but I’m also terrified to try it, for all of the reasons you mention in this post!

  2. I surely don’t think you are the only 29 almost 30 yr old that doesn’t know what they want to do. I’m 25 , 26 this year and i have no idea.. i know what i’m going to school for, but I don’t know if it’s what I “actually” want to do. I need a billboard that says “Hey, Hey you, yah you , you need to do :::insert career::” That’d be nice =)

  3. I was just having this convo with Dan recently about how different we are compared to our parents etc. Our generation won’t settle for anything, but true happiness in a job, but damn it’s hard. You know I’m going through the same thing right now…you’re not alone!

  4. You explained my inertia to a T, except I have been with the same company for 10 years. I can’t cut the cord and give up the paycheque, but I feel all day like “what the hell have I done with the last decade???” I feel like I should have made my mark well before 30, ya know? Cheers to a delicious looking dinner though. you are making me hungry!

  5. Dude… you are _so_ not alone. Hell – at least your working. I’m just studying Japanese waiting for the “air to clear” before trying to use that Stanford Law diploma I got.

  6. WHEW. I am *not* alone. I’m in full crisis mode down here. In addition to not knowing what will truly make me happy and fulfilled (or knowing whether such a career exists) and being a smidge on the wrong side of 30, I am also unemployed, but doing it from a po-dunk college town with no opportunities….that we’ll be leaving in a year anyway…equal and opposite motivation and lack there-of. In other thoughts – it’s a shame they didn’t let us keep those chef hats!

    • @Gesina and @dana… I guess I forgot to add that all of this is X1000 when you’re trying to make everything compatible with the goals of your spouse too, right?

      So hard. 😦

  7. dude. i hear you – i’m totally lost in life. i just started a grad program in january to get my MSW, but heck, i don’t even know if i want to be a social worker! (don’t tell my parents that). i know it’s something i’m passionate about, and may pursue for a couple years… but honestly… i’ll probably go for my MBA after that. or maybe i won’t. i kinda just want to run really fast, cook fantastic meals, and buy cute dresses. having a career would be great, too, but until i figure out *how* to achieve my goals, and pinpoint exactly *what* my goals are, dress shopping is more appealing. sad.

  8. Preaching to the choir here. I am a career changing, degree collecting, consultant turned ‘regular’ office worker.

    I like school because of the more flexible schedule, but working offers those always useful steady paychecks. I like consulting because of the ever changing work, but I find comfort in the routine-ness of my ‘regular’ job because I know what I can expect day to day, for months, maybe years on end.

    Now to find a job that encompasses the bright side of all of these situations. Sounds simple enough. I have put searching on the back burner for now.

  9. As the last of my college friends with *just* a B.A. and no intention of going for my Ph. D., I hear you. Echoing everyone else, I’m also struggling to find what I’m supposed to be doing. I’ve said it before to people who think I’m nuts, but a big part of me can’t wait until I’m 45, settling in, financially stable and comfortable with myself. Until then…I guess I’ll keep on blogging my angst.

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