Once in a while, my girlfriends and I decide we want to feel a little bit more like adults, so we’ll switch our sneakers for heels, maybe even put on some lipstick. We pick a suitable destination, ruling out places where teenagers would be allowed. We studiously ignore the fact that as twentysomethings, we have technically been adults for a few years now. In any case, one recent evening, 3 of us went to Bourbon&Branch, the appeal being its aura of secrecy – dim lighting, lack of signage, a password at the door. Also, they simply do not serve rum&cokes, so you couldn’t relive your college days even if you wanted.
[An aside: the evening’s password was, disappointingly, “face”. We pondered this one for a while, shivering in the waves of fog as we waited to be allowed in. What happened here? Did previous nights already check off “appendix” or “uvula” or other more obscure and/or alluring bodyparts from the potential password list? In my one previous experience of B&B, our password had been “munitions”. How satisfyingly old fashioned sounding, we thought! How pleasant to extend the secret passcode over 3 syllables! “Face” didn’t do it for us. “Face” is too blunt and forward and… pedestrian. One of us was wearing a corset, for chrissakes!]
In any case, once inside with our adult, proper whiskey cocktails, our topic of conversation turned to our usual: what are we doing with our lives, anyway? It’s this twentysomething existential angst that seems to crop in almost every conversation I have lately. Sometimes, when we feel particularly masochistic, we play the game of backtrack-planning – if I want this milestone in my career at this age, what degree do I need, and by when? If I want kids by that age, by when do I need to get married? If I need to get married by said date, how soon do I need to meet the lucky guy? In 3 years? 2? It’s enough for any of us to want to stick our fingers in our ears, scrunch our eyes shut and hum vigorously.
The thought preoccupying me lately is: at least careerwise, there must be some way to opt out of this obsessive life scheduling. Surely there must be an alternative to getting job after job in successive approximations of the One [Job]. Surely there must be a way to avoid demoting most of my interests to side hobbies while I pursue a sensible career path. The people in my life who have actually done this number in the low single digits. So I feel that I am setting out on mostly on my own, some quest for the holy grail of job and life fulfillment. If nothing else, I hope to document some of the trials, errors and thoughts along the way. Who knows, there may even be a breakthrough.