What’s My Age Again?

Time for some real-talk on this here blog.

There isn’t much that stresses me out. School, no problemo! Work, bring it on! I’m one of those people who flies by the seat of their pants, way better at making game-time decisions than having everything planned out. So, that’s why it’s surprising that I’ve been stressed lately. Even more surprising is what I’ve been stressed about: The Future.

It all started the other night after a conversation I had with my mom:

Mom: I watched that show Property Virgins on HGTV the other day, have you seen it?
Me: Yeah, I’ve seen it. Why?
Mom: Well, I just noticed that a lot of the people on that show were your age. I was just wondering if you’ve thought at all about investing in property?

After vehemently saying “no” for about 15 minutes (and citing many credible reasons: I don’t want to settle down here, I don’t know where life will take me in a few years, I don’t want to be tied down by a mortgage, it’s super expensive to own in Silver Spring and I don’t want to leave the city, etc, etc), it really got me thinking.

Is this something I’m supposed to be thinking about right now? I’m 25 years old. Buying houses is for old people who are married and settled down. I’m 25 years old. Oh god, should I be thinking about getting married and settling down? A lot of my good friends from high school and college are getting engaged, and some are already married and homeowners. Am I late to the game? This isn’t something that has been on my radar. Is it supposed to be? I’ve never been one of those girls who is itching for that, and I’m still not. So, I can’t figure out why this is causing so much anxiety (and it is…enough so for me to feel compelled to write about it anyway).

Don’t get me wrong. I like my job, I like the company I work for, I like my friends, I like where I live…for the time being. But I also know that things won’t stay like this forever. My friends are already relocating, forging new relationships, and moving on. So what happens when everyone I like in this town is gone? Then what? I do want to get married, buy a house, have kids…eventually, but when is that supposed to be? Not just that, but also career wise: am I supposed to know exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life? Because I have no idea. I could just as easily stay in media forever as I could open a wine and cheese shop. I’d be happy with either. When am I supposed to decide?

Recently, I’ve had a few serious conversations about where I want to end up in life. What’s alarming is that, when prompted, I can’t honestly say what I want. I don’t know. I don’t have a 5-year plan because I’ve never been one for planning. My family moved around a bunch when I was a kid so I’ve never felt super connected to one place. Home was wherever my family was. I don’t even really know what I consider to be my hometown, I’m a Pennsyvirgitonian! Which may be why I’m having trouble picturing myself settling in one place.

I’m not even ready to settle down right now, so I’ve been trying to figure out where this pressure is coming from. I read a bunch of healthy-living blogs on a regular basis, and everyone seems so perfect. They are settled, married, living healthy, happy lives. Is it possible that I’m jealous? Not only that, but being young in the professional world, I am constantly surrounded by people who are older than me. A lot of people who I work directly with (although they are all older than me…but not by much) are married and most have children. They talk about them all the time, and sometimes bring them to the office. They all seem to have their lives figured out. Do I feel left out? My sister is expecting her first child (a boy!!) and while I’m very, very excited, I can’t stop thinking about how she is only 4 years older than me. When she was my age, she was already married for a year.

Then again, people may very well look at my life and wish that they could live free and spontaneously like I do. The grass is always greener on the other side, is it not?

I feel like I just graduated college. But really, not that recently. Sometimes I still feel like a kid (this might be due to the fact that I watched 2 hours of Hey, Arnold! the other night, but whatever), and other times I feel like a full-fledged adult. It’s like I’m in some sort of weird limbo.

I’m 25 years old. Is that too old or too young to be thinking about all this stuff?

No cliche question to ask. If you have any thoughts, feel free to share.

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12 Comments

  1. As someone who is four years older than you, let me say, this feeling is incredibly common for the second half of your 20s. Almost every 20-something I’ve talked to feels this way. I’m married and a homeowner and even I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. I think it’s just what happens in your 20s. Of course, that doesn’t mean your feelings are any less important, but it does mean that it’s totally normal to go through a bit of a quarter-life-crisis. And if you figure out how to figure it all out, let me know. 😛

    Reply
    • I know that all the uncertainty is a product of being in my 20’s. I think it’s definitely something everyone goes through. I was just hoping that someone else would figure it out and tell me what to do!

      Reply
  2. tirzoh

     /  April 26, 2012

    hey caitlin! don’t stress! i’m almost 30 and only getting the married part in order this year. no plans on buying a house anywhere any time soon either. i’ve been where you are too – wondering if i’m supposed to have all that stuff in order at 25. put a lot of gray hairs on my head. my advice… just keep doing what you’re doing and things will fall into place. there’s no rush – unless you want to rush into it! it’s totally up to you! i think that life events come into some lives faster than others – don’t stress about it. the important thing is to have fun! 🙂

    Reply
    • Thanks for the advice Tirzah! I think you’re right and I’m DEFINITELY not in any rush to figure this stuff out. Just some stuff I’ve been musing over lately. I’m feeling the gray hairs coming on too! hahaha!

      Reply
  3. Aaron

     /  April 26, 2012

    Caitlin! I saw your link on facebook and felt compelled to read and then respond with my situation, different as it may be, just letting you know how I feel and where I am with similar things.
    I was in Forest my whole life, three different houses, but all within a 5-10 mile radius of each other. Then I moved to Blacksburg, and always envisioned myself moving back to Lynchburg to start a family and be with my family. I felt just like what you said, home is where my family is. But, as you know, before I was done in Blacksburg, my mom passed away. It wasn’t something that I ever thought was tying me to Lynchburg but after she died, for the first time I felt like I wasn’t tied to Lynchburg. Oddly enough, shortly after she died, Selena and I were presented with the opportunity to move to Cleveland and work for her family’s business, which has worked out very well so far.
    My professional life and yours are a lot different, I’m sure. A family company has a very weird atmosphere…I really wouldn’t describe it as “professional” at all. It means great job security though, and a whole lot is expected of me. Not because I’m a professional at what I do, (which would imply that the same would be expected of any other professional here) but because I am family. Given that, its a lot easier for me to decide to stay where I am.
    My concerns as far as investing in property are different since my personal life and career are reasonable buttoned up (I know that doesn’t help with /i/your/i/ thought process :-\ ) My concerns are mostly financial, or family planning related, like if we bought a house now how soon would we outgrow it and need to look for something bigger? I have moved every single year since 2006– I really want to stay somewhere for a LOOONG time. 10 years minimum without even thinking about moving again.

    Anyways, I know that my situation is quite different from yours, and that probably isn’t exactly what you want to hear 😉 but I figured I would let you know what my thought process was on the topic.

    Hope you are doing well otherwise 🙂

    Reply
    • Hey Aaron! It’s SO good to hear from you. Thanks for your perspective, while it’s different than mine in some ways, it’s also similar. Just goes to show that we’re all dealing with the same sort of things. I didn’t know you were in Cleveland now, that’s fantastic! How do you like the change? Congrats on the engagement by the way, have you set a date?

      Reply
  4. Cait! My best friend! I needed to start out with that because I love you. Isn’t that enough response to your question? Don’t you feel better already? I have no wise words to pass onto you because I am one of those married homeowners making you feel stressed. But don’t we always say that I live vicariously through you and your awesome single life in the city? Because I do. Because your life is awesome just as it is in the present. If I were to offer any advice it would to keep doing exactly what you are. Another way to put your “non-planning” is that you live in the moment. Which is awesome and what people strive to do. It sounds like your stress is stemming from trying to plan a life that isn’t you. These “things that are expected” of you are just &(*(@$. I know many a person who has gotten a divorce because they wanted their life to be a certain way or because it was just “time for them to be married”. Everyone has their own timetable. You have your own. It may be different than everyone else’s. But that is because it is yours. Just remember, no matter how old we get, we will always keep it real by being Ryan Cabrera groupies.

    Reply
    • Yes! That’s exactly what I’m trying to say. I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned cultural pressure. I’m feeling pressure from society — seeing all these images and people who are my age that are settling down and now I’m asking myself, “is that what I should be doing?” even though that’s not at all what I want to do right now. That’s why I’m so confused! It’s just kind of like WTF!

      PS. I LOVE YOU! And also, Ryan Cabrera has been super annoying on facebook lately. Am I right?

      Reply
  5. Meredith

     /  April 26, 2012

    Noooooooo! Not you too. Concerned about the future. I suppose maybe I should be more worried about it. I just feel like when you try to plan things life throws you a curve ball. Ive decided focusing on being happy in the here and now is most important. And I don’t want to become one of those people who sees checking off major life events as ultimate happiness. I want to make sure I’m already in a good place before making those moves. And that’s a much less overwhelming way to look at things.

    Reply
    • I like that. I’m definitely not trying to check everything off my list all at once (that’s for sure). But, I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to start thinking about the steps you’re going to take to get there either. Sometimes life just happens, but sometimes you’ve got to make it happen too. If that makes sense.

      Reply
  6. I so get you. Now I’m stressed out about my life. Every time I get on Facebook someone else is pregnant. I live in a small town, the same small town I grew up in. I kid you not, 15 percent of my high school’s graduating class has kids. Some have more than one kid. Some have kids in elementary school. My cousins have kids (my cousins are older than me by 5-7 years). My little sister has a kid. The kids I substitute for have kids. I will have at least 2 pregnant girls in class today.

    This stresses me out. I’m not ready for kids, if I even want kids. But I just try to remember that I am where I am supposed to be in my life and that people want different things in life and everyone gets to places in their life at different times. I’m on my Tiffany schedule and you’re on your own Caitlin schedule. And everyone’s schedule is right for them!

    Reply
    • Oh, wow! 15%? That’s an insanely high number. The high school I graduated from was in a really small town too. I knew a few girls who got pregnant, but really not that many (either that or I probably was too naive to know/turned a blind eye to it). It’d be interesting to go back now as an “adult” and see how much more I notice.

      I like the idea of everyone being on their own schedule. I don’t know about you, but I feel like I have a lot more to cram into my schedule before I start thinking about kids and houses and all that jazz!

      Reply

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