Last Friday marked exactly six months since I left the suburbs of Portland for the suburbs of New York City. I was going to post about this on Friday, but today is the exactly six months since I started my job, and I didn’t want to write two anniversary posts.
A couple of weeks ago I was talking to my dad’s cousin, who lives not too far from here in Pennsylvania, and he asked me if I was planning on staying here for the “long haul.”
It kind of caught me off guard, though not because I haven’t been thinking about it, but just because I haven’t really come up with an answer. This year had so many changes for me that I can hardly think about changing things yet again. In the short term, yes, I am staying, but at the same time, I don’t know what the “short term” means anymore.
Thus far, I have had inevitable and identifiable ends to each stage of my life. When I was in middle school, I was preparing for high school. When I was in high school, I was really preparing for moving away to college. When I was in college, I was preparing for my entrance into the job market and real world with jobs and bills and more responsibilities.
But now I’m here. I’m in the “real world.” Tomorrow I’m turning in the forms for my 401(k). I have the job, I have the apartment, I have the car, I have the bill payments, I have only a small amount of debt. I have work clothes, and casual clothes, and gym clothes. The social life and romantic life are lacking a bit, but that’s to be expected and (God-willing) only temporary.
It’s a strange sensation to go from such a consistent momentum of life – moving forward to a goal of making it to the next stage in life: graduation from high school, acceptance to college, passing my classes, getting my degree, finding a job.
And now… now what? How do you keep the momentum when the goals are so intangibly in the future? There is no date for when I’ll get a promotion or get married or buy a house or have a child. I know those landmarks are out there, somewhere, but they aren’t anything I can plan for. There is no graduation from real life, not date on my calendar I can circle for when the next stage of my life is going to change. Maybe this is where all those quarter-life crises come from that I keep reading about. You have all these set benchmarks you’re supposed to meet and then all of a sudden, they stop unless you create them for yourself.
I don’t know if I’ll be here for the “long haul.” I don’t even know where I’ll be after the next six months. I’m not entirely sure if I’m okay with not having the typical life benchmarks that have been handed to me over the years, but I have a feeling that I’ll probably figure it out.