Every now and then the seriousness of life hits me and I get scared.
I think I’m an adult because I work, pay my own bills, have a husband, own a house, etc. But sometimes these just seem like nothing. I am still like a kid in some ways. I get upset when I don’t get what I want. I cry when things are hard and it seems like there’s no way to make them better. I’m impressionable. When my husband gets worried about things, I worry about them too because I’m used to him calming me down when I’m upset. When we’re both upset, everything seems doomed.
I start to think we should have gotten a car with a cheaper lease, that we spend too much money on food, that I shouldn’t go back to school because it will take a long time, that I should find some job that pays good money, anything I can get without three years of training, and just do that regardless of whether I like it or not.
When I’m feeling worried, writing makes me feel better. When I’m feeling scared, writing becomes part of the problem. I regret every time I decided not to get a second job because I wanted free time to write. I regret buying a real computer when I could have gotten something small and cheap and slow if I wasn’t concerned about it being inconvenient for writing. I start to think all the time I’ve spent writing, editing, rewriting, making timelines, doing research, looking at pictures, taking notes, and drawing maps was just a huge waste. That I could have been doing something more productive.
I get down on myself and think that if I was really, truly acting like an adult, I’d give up this pipe dream about writing, give up the idea that I have to like my career, and just go do something to make real money. Enough so I don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck and worry that if three students don’t pay me on time I won’t be able to make my mortgage payment.
I think about all the things I wish we could afford – small things like an overnight vacation or some shelves for our books – and feel foolish for wanting anything, feel like I don’t deserve anything because I’m not willing to do whatever it takes to get it. I start thinking that any luxury, like doing my college’s 3-day camping trip orientation for $140 instead of the 1-day campus orientation for free, is just frivolous and silly, something a real adult wouldn’t even think about.
I get down and gloomy and feel like the weight of responsibility is crushing me, squeezing everything out of me until all that’s left is this numbness void of real feeling. I don’t care about anything anymore. I don’t care if I get a wildlife job, if I go back to school, or if I just skip it all and become a real estate agent instead. Real estate agents don’t have to go to school for three years, and they make a lot more money than I can probably hope to make in any wildlife job. In either I can earn at least twice what I make playing and teaching violin.
I feel this way, and no amount of crying makes me feel better. I vow to cancel my camping trip, to keep our books and movies in boxes for the next year, and to indulge in only free entertainment. Give up archery, don’t take any vacations, and don’t ever go out with friends because all that will lead to is spending money. I decide that I should give up writing, because even though it’s free it takes up a lot of time and mental energy that could be devoted to something more fruitful.
Then my husband comes up to me and says he overreacted. He can make money making instruments. I can make money doing wildlife stuff. Maybe writing will go somewhere. He says we’ll be okay, and when he says that I’m just as impressionable as I was before. I go cry on his shoulder for a few minutes, and then everything feels better. I make a budget and lowball my earnings by about $500 a month and feel better because we can still afford to pay for everything.
I wonder if feeling all of the above makes me immature. Then I decide I want to write and I forget all about all of my sadness. Until next time.