Most days I play a very domestic role. I drive the same five-mile radius from our house to Target, Costco or Safeway (if I need something that’s worth paying the extra money for). Most days I’m content to put away small things in the house – to get it to start looking more like our home and less like the cinder block building it is – to plan dinners and prepare them and time them so that they’re not done too early or too late. Today I even ironed clothes. Not mine, of course; right now there’s nothing in my day that requires any fanciness.
I make up lists of things that need to be done in the house and things that need to be purchase, and I’m careful to space them out so that I don’t finish them all in one day. I space them out to take up the entire week lest I get bored with this lifestyle and Friday finds me a drunk puddle on the couch watching whatever TNT is offering at that hour.
I’m trying to stay positive, as per my New Years’ Resolution, but it’s not as easy as flipping a switch and saying, “Find joy in cleaning the toilets!” I flip the switch but the wiring must be off because my mind mostly just says, “Excuse me?” like a woman who just got her ass grabbed by a stranger on the subway. Like, How dare you expect me to be content with this.
Sometimes, I feel like a colossal failure. Like I let down the dreamy eighteen-year-old who had such big plans. I realize that most people don’t live out their teenage fantasies; I’ve seen plenty of my classmates alter their idea of success. The problem, for me, is that even those who have changed have still gone on to do something. Right now I feel like nothing. I haven’t done anything. I feel like I let myself down and I’m having the damndest time grabbing on to another dream of who I want to be. Right now I have no idea of what success would look like for me.
My closest friends and I have this conversation a lot: love versus career. The grass is always greener on the other side and we spend a lot of time going back and forth about the ways in which the other is lucky. My best friend just finished law school and is working with a nice firm in Palo Alto making six-figures as a first year lawyer. But she hasn’t found love. I, on the other hand, found love but haven’t found a career. We look to each other to see the patch we didn’t choose, and sometimes we’re thankful that we chose as we did; but sometimes we’d give anything to live that other life. Just for a day. Just to see what it’s like and confirm that we picked the right thing.