Can You Ever Really Have Your Life Together?
I’d like to think I have my shit together. Everyone has that picture of themselves in their head, the one where their life is sort of like a movie, and the music plays whenever they are walking to class, and their outfit is always on point. But we all know that there is no movie, and when we walk to class we look grumpy, and our outfit could be from People of Walmart if anyone bothered to look at it. We all like to pretend we have our lives together, but no matter who you are friends with or who you live with or who you are dating, life makes things messy. You can never have your shit together.
While I’ve been happier this past semester than I have been in previous semesters of college, it hasn’t been free of dilemmas. There are the little things that have been building up in my mind that are backing my countdown to the end of the semester. Questions that have no answers. Annoyances that cannot be resolved. Endless studying and work to be done (okay, so maybe I’m being a little dramatic. The end is in sight, actually). So here is my compilation of things that I’ve been mulling over this semester, that prevent me from actually having my shit together:
1. Where am I going to live next year? I’m into my second year at college and am still in the dorms, because it’s convenient and I don’t have to cook my own meals. But I’ve vowed to live off campus next year so I can actually become a sort-of real grown-up, where I pay rent (or at least part of it), cook my own meals (or at least a lot of ramen), and can hang whatever the hell I want on the walls without some RA bitching at me (but there will be a landlord…). Right now I’m rooming with my friend Caitlin and it’s going great, but for the longest time I wasn’t sure if she would want to live with me next year. A few weeks ago, though, after talking with our friend Tamara I finally said, “You know, maybe it’s just me, but I was sort of thinking that it could be cool for the three of us to live together next year.” “I was thinking the same thing!” she said, and so now it is decided that the three of us are going to live together. All that’s left it figure out is where, when we’d move-in, how much we all can afford, and who will do what for chores. Also, how exactly does one go about signing a lease? Do I need to switch my bank from home to my college town? Are appliances included? What if I want to go home over the summers? Not a big deal at all….
2. Do I need to be thinking about an internship for this summer? Even though I need to get my master’s and doctorate before starting my career, will graduate programs want to see what I was involved in at school and how much I volunteered and job experience at internships? What kinds of internships are even out there for my degree?? I really need to talk to my advisor…
3. My boss is fucking grumpy puss. He’s always taking over whenever I’m handling something, as if he thinks I don’t know what I’m doing. I will ask if I have a question, leave me alone if I don’t! He also looks over my shoulder when I’m working on a job, which makes me nervous and highly uncomfortable. Plus he’s been making a bunch of new rules about how we spend our time whenever customers aren’t around. And then there’s the fact that he sometimes sends the creepy vibe, “Hi, whatcha doing? What is that?” And he either talks under his breath or yells, which is annoying. Pick a normal volume, so people don’t have to be all, “What? WHAT?” every time you speak! It’s not a big deal, and he’s a nice person, but I’m just not about his management style.
4. Charles. What do I do over Christmas break? Over the summer I told myself that I’d stick to a 6-month rule: only get together once with Charles every six months, so we can keep in touch, but he can’t screw up my head. I’m always going to have a connection with Charles, and he will always be important to me, but last summer took things too far. I’m not going to go down that road again. But is it wise to even have the 6-month rule? Every time I see Charles he manages to pull me into his world, and one visit turns into two, which turns into a week, which turns into junior year of high school all over again. Suddenly I’m convinced I need him in my life, and suddenly all of my former thoughts, feelings, and decisions are called into question. So what’s the benefit of staying in touch? Call me sentimental, but I hate the thought of Charles and I becoming strangers. He was my best friend, my first love, and sometimes he knew me better than I knew myself. I value his opinion still, even though I recognize that he sometimes uses that to his advantage. It’s a mess, but is it really necessary to give up just because I have to tread carefully?
5. The secret. I’m not much of a secret-keeper. I am a private person, but once I let you into my world, you get to hear all of my crap. But now I have something I cannot bring myself to admit to anyone besides my boyfriend. It makes me uncomfortable, it makes me ashamed. I thought I had this area of my life figured out, but apparently I don’t. And I’m scared of how it might change some things in my life, because I like how things are going. But it sits there in my mind like a lump of coal, and every time I even think of telling one of my friends I’m struck by paralyzing fear. So along with being uncomfortable about its existence, I’m also uncomfortable that for the first time in a very long time, my friends no longer know everything about me. (Not that they knew everything everything before, like when I shaved my legs or saw a movie, but all of the meat-and-potatoes stuff that makes up a person.)
So that’s my list. I just really wanted to talk about that stuff, because as much as I’d like to have my shit together, I don’t. And sometimes it’s hard to admit the less-than fluffy things to the people in your life, because we like to think they watch us like they watch a movie. But flaws and all, real life can be better than a movie; you can direct it, edit it, star in it, and watch it all as it’s happening. Even if you don’t have your shit together.