Waking up on Tuesday, I thought I’d have knots in my stomach for hours. I just knew I wouldn’t be able to eat, I’d change clothes six times, I’d miss the subway and show up late, and then find out the past 3 weeks had been a dream. It was like the first day of school times adulthood, watching the minutes tick, tick away till it was time to start my Shiny New Job.
At times, it feels like there are very few things to get excited about in adult lives. We work, exercise, complain about getting older, drink, eat, sleep, repeat. There’s a beauty in the monotony, a familiar feeling on Monday that in the grand scheme of the coming week, we know what to expect. There can also be a complacence, a certain “This is how things are and will be” feeling in waking up to the same job, same days, all over again. For a really long time, I was content with the monotony, an understanding with myself that this was life as an adult: wake up, go to a job you like but don’t love, text the boyfriend who thinks you’re a burden, go back to the apartment you can’t fall in love with because it’s supposed to be temporary, eat dinner, sleep, repeat. It was a content life, and happy most of the time, which was, in a word, fine.
Life shouldn’t settle for “fine.” I’m in my mid-twenties, in an amazing city, surrounded by brilliant, driven, competitive, insightful people who came here to chase a dream, an idea, a goal. Who am I to allow myself to settle with feeling “fine”? How can you be content with a routine in the city that never sleeps? It was the break-up that started shaking that routine for me, like a crack in a concrete wall: CRACK now you need to learn how to be on your own for real, CRACK now you need to make your apartment look like home, CRRRRACK now you need to start taking care of yourself. Bits and pieces of this wall of monotony I’d built for myself in the past few years started falling everywhere and all at once, a wave of changes, one, another, another.
Change is scary, and hard, and no one really enjoys starting over. Walking into day three of the new job though, I’ve never felt more content in my choices and changes in the past few months. Looking back to this time last year, six months ago, even up to the breakup, its near surreal that I could have had this self-fulfillment, contentedness, whatever you want to call it; and yet I settled for “fine.”
I loved my life before – I loved the beautiful monotony: the understanding of what to expect as the days, weeks, months went by; the feeling that someone loved me, really loved me; the fact that I had a wonderful job, surrounded by wonderful people. But I wouldn’t change what’s happening for me now for anything: the understanding that I can’t control my surroundings and that’s exciting; the feeling that I can find love and peace within myself instead of needing another person; and the fact that I have a new job, which is challenging, and scary, and exactly what I need.