Category Archives: Life in the Real World

One year in

In the last few weeks Austin and I celebrated our wedding anniversary, and just a few days ago also marked one year since I moved to California, and it put me in a bit of a reflective mood.

There are a few things in my life that aren’t what I want them to be, but, on the whole, it’s largely what and where I expected it to be.

It’s challenging, however, to know you’re not where you want to be. Expectation doesn’t make you content or make desire or ambition go away, and even after a year, there are days that I have to remind myself that every step I chose to take led me here, and it’s where I wanted to be.

Sure, I could be working as a reporter at some newspaper learning and growing in my field, but in order for that goal to be realized, I would still be unmarried– though probably engaged– still coping with a long-distance relationship. And I didn’t want that.

I could dedicate a lot of time to my personal writing projects and work just part-time, but I would have to sacrifice the full-time job that, with any luck, will help Austin and I achieve other goals of independence.

Instead, I chose the option to get married and move to California (I’m only cranky when it’s hot… Mostly…) and work full-time at a job I still enjoy. It’s not my dream job or my career goal, but I don’t come home every day ranting and angry, which is more than a lot of people can say.

I’ll confess, for a long time, I clmplained to myself how it wasn’t fair. My choice wasn’t a simple, do you want to move or not? There was so much else hanging in balance. And sometimes I get caught up in thinking of the dreams and goals and even just options that have been taken off the table. And I wonder how the choices I made will affect my ability, or rather, hire-ability, once I’m able to actually pursue a career. At the end of the day, I can only remind myself that, if given a do-over, I’d do it all the same. Life isn’t fair, but I think, in some ways, we’d miss out if it was.

Life: Where I am vs where my college degree suggests I should be

I’ve had a fair bit of pressure lately to get a full-time job. Both from others and from myself, there is an expectation that, since I’ve got a degree, I ought to use it instead of working what some people might consider a dead-end job.

And when I see my peers, the people I graduated with all getting jobs and starting their careers, it’s all too easy to fall into a cycle of beating myself up for being behind.

I have to constantly remind myself that I made a decision to live a life quite different than many of my peers.

Many of them are taking jobs and moving to new places. I did it a little differently. I took a husband, and moved to a new place. And while it gets discouraging sometimes, feeling like I committed career suicide in moving to Modesto, I have to remind myself that this is what I wanted. All I wanted.

The pressure to get a job in my field, to have a career, is pressure to pursue a goal that has always been secondary. Yes, I’m one of those women who wants to be a wife first, mother second, and employee third.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want a career, or that I am telling myself to settle for a career that isn’t what I really want, what it means is that my life is mine, not any one else’s, and I can’t determine my success based on how I compare to others.

We all have various goals and they are all ranked differently. The choices we make determine where we end up, and the only one who can definitively say a choice is good or bad is ourselves. If I’m happy with the job I’ve got now, happy with my husband and the life I have, no one can (or should) convince me otherwise.

Life is a constant learning opportunity. And I’ve always been one to learn by doing. And right now, that means being confident in where I have chosen to be, not putting myself down because my life looks different than others around me.

One month in: marriage, moving and motor vehicles

It’s been a little over a month since I said “I do” and committed my life to my husband, Austin.

It’s been a great month together, but it has also been mass chaos, at some points, and extremely stressful at others, the main reason being, I lived in Washington, he lived in California. Most lucky couples get married and have only a few legalities to take care of after the wedding. For, me, they still haven’t ended.

We returned from our week in Boston on a Sunday evening. The following Monday was Memorial Day, useless for doing anything in preparation for my move to California on Wednesday. Tuesday morning, bright at early, we hit the Social Security Administration to legally change my name (luckily my mother had picked up certified copies of the marriage license while we had been gone, or it would have been a much longer day). It was so easy I thought for sure I’d been stressed for nothing.

My husband and I packed my ’93 Geo Metro full of all my stuff, plus the cat, and made the 13-hour drive from SeaTac to Modesto without a hitch and I waited for a few weeks for my new SS card so I could legally become a licensed driver in the state of California, though apparently I didn’t even need it, just the number. So far, so good. The move has been fine.

But then I had to tackle insurance.

Aside from my two years at university, I’ve lived with my parents, stayed on their insurance and taken it all for granted that I can drive care free. But now that I live in a different state, it’s time for my car to become legally mine, which means I need my own insurance policy. And that’s some grown up stuff that no one and nothing had prepared me for. Many numbers and few words — the exact opposite of how my brain is hardwired to work.

If I didn’t have massive anxiety about busy streets, I’d walk or bike the six-minute drive to my work and mooch off my husband whenever I need to go farther distances. But, alas.

Instead, we’ve been sifting through insurance quotes wondering how much dollar-coverage we really need and hoping our parents can help us make an educated decision. Then we have a whole other adventure of smogging and registering my poor little car, which I’m supposed to do within 30 days of moving (which, I get, it has to be done in a timely fashion, but give me time to figure out my life and all this grown-up stuff. It’s 2015 and adulthood 101 still isn’t required for any kind of degree or diploma.)

Long story short, it’s been a whole month of one continuous thought for me: “once I get this taken care of, I’ll feel better and less stressed.”

And it’s true every time. For about five minutes. Until I think of the next thing I have to do and learn.

Good thing I always knew life is a continuous journey of learning.