Evolution of Envy

Everyone gets envious.  It’s not a good feeling to have, but it happens.  I’ve definitely had my fair share of envious feelings.  But I haven’t always been envious of the same things.

I don’t really remember feeling truly envious of anyone until middle school, when all of my friends suddenly looked like women and I didn’t.  I’ve mentioned here before, I believe, about how ugly I felt a lot of the time.  To me, it seemed that everyone else was becoming effortlessly beautiful, while I was stuck with frizzy hair and acne.  It was hard to feel not-pretty.  I felt undesirable, and that was something I really wanted.

Growing up helped, of course.  I wasn’t an awkward teenager forever.  I learned how to at least control my hair, and I learned how to wear a little makeup, which really helped my self-esteem.  And it didn’t hurt that I did well in school and other activities.  And then, once I graduated high school and started college, freshman year did absolute wonders for my confidence and self-esteem.  I met friends who liked me and continued to like me even when we had disagreements, and I met the man who is now my fiance.  Freshman year was a dream come true for high school me, and I was really lucky to have that.

But that didn’t mean envy went away completely.  Instead, the things I was envious for changed.  At first, I was envious of those who could speak Spanish better than I could.  I had had Spanish classes before college, but I felt a little behind during those first couple years.  There was always something I missed in class because I couldn’t understand, or someone who could figure out how to say what I wanted to say faster.  That, though, I overcame as I learned more.  I still wish I spoke and understood Spanish better than I do, but I have achieved my goal of being able to communicate in another language, so that envy has largely been alleviated too.

After that, I became envious of students who knew exactly what they wanted to do.  I was surrounded by a lot of highly driven people, who were good at what they did, who were involved and held high positions in campus organizations, who got great internships, and who had job offers before they even graduated.  I didn’t want to do all the things they did, but I wanted that drive, that passion, that talent.  I got a little lost senior year, trying to find a job, and realizing how little experience and knowledge I had.  I had a plan, but not a very concrete one, and the people I saw did have that.

Now, I’ve been graduated for a month, have just started a new job, and am still fighting envy.  Social media is a cruel invention, because I see people I haven’t seen since high school also graduating, getting their dream jobs, and basically just being beautiful people in a beautiful world.

I’m not trying to sound ungrateful, because most of the time, I really am.  I just graduated with no debt, am living with my best friend in a house that we can afford to rent because we both have fairly well-paying jobs, and I’m getting married in four months.  I am happy with my life, and I’m excited for the future.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t have those moments of oh, why can’t my life be like that?  (Even while I know social media doesn’t paint a full picture.)

I have to remind myself often that everyone is different, and just because someone looks like they are doing better than me doesn’t mean that my life sucks.  I’m working on striving for bigger and better things while at the same time being grateful for and happy in the life I have now.

The things we are envious of change as we get older, but it never goes away.  Do you get envious of people’s jobs or homes or lives?  What do you do to alleviate envy??

Change Comes With Compromise

News first: the boyfriend is not the boyfriend anymore; he’s the fiance, because we are engaged.

We’ve been together almost 3.5 years, and have been talking about this for a good bit of that time.  It’s so surreal that it’s finally happened, but I’m so ready.  We’re both ready.

His proposal, though, came in the middle of a roller coaster of a week.  For one, last week was the second-to-last week of class before finals, so all our projects are culminating.  Then, on Monday, his dad had a heart attack (he is fine and back home now, thank goodness).  Wednesday morning I butted heads with my parents about my plans for after graduation.  Wednesday afternoon he proposed, because it was the first sunny day after he had picked up the ring, and he didn’t want to wait any longer.  Thursday evening I went home to see my parents, to show them the ring and talk about plans.  Because of all of that, I changed my mind about 5 times in 2 days about what I’m going to do in May, and reached a compromise only after a lot of vacillating.

My original plan had been to not move back home at all.  He got an internship in a city to the southeast of us, and I was looking for jobs there as well.  But first, my parents began asking me whether I would come home for a month or two after graduation.  Then, my job prospects dimmed, as I kept applying and applying but got very few calls back.  When my plans didn’t change, my parents got restless, since to them, the lack of a ring signaled a lack of commitment on his end.  I knew that wasn’t the case, and while that was frustrating to deal with, I can understand that view.  After a couple emotional discussions with my mom, I changed my mind completely and decided to move home until whatever date the fiance and I get married.

But I couldn’t feel good about that either, since he and I planned to move together and I would be leaving him in the lurch for those few months.  So I had the idea to move back home right after graduation.  But in June, I’ll join my fiance.  It is a compromise, and by definition those don’t really make anyone completely happy.  But I will get to spend some time with my family, and an added perk will be that I will have more time to job hunt.  Neither of my parents are completely happy about this decision, but they’ve both accepted that it’s the one I’m making.

The real struggle for me is that when it comes to my family, I am a pleaser.  I want to make my own decisions, but it is hard to be the first one really leaving the nest and thus the cause of some grief on my parents’ end.  It has to happen, and I’m excited to have my own space and my own life, but it is not without its downsides.  There comes a moment in time where the paths of the parents and the child separate, and my time is now, and it’s weird and hard.

Of course, it’s not like I’m going to drop off the face of the earth.  When I move to join my fiance, I’ll only be moving two hours away from my hometown.  It’s about the same distance from there as my school, and the drive is a lot easier (according to my dad).  Even though I’m notoriously bad at keeping up with people, I’m not just going to let my family float away.  They’re too important for that.

I know they know this, and I know they’re going to be able to accept whatever decision I make, even if it takes awhile.  What’s made this more difficult than it had to be is my job situation — I have tons of applications out, and on the off-chance I finally get a job, there’s the possibility I’ll move earlier than expected.  I have a plan, but it’s a little bit contingent upon various prospective employers.

So what I’m trying to say, I guess, is that my life is messy right now.  Up till now, I’ve always had a clear plan.  I still have long-term goals I want to achieve.  But the immediate future is unclear.  When will I get a job?  When will I move out?  I don’t know.  It’s a little stressful.  But it’s life, and it’s gotta happen sometime.

Big Decisions

I’m two months away from graduating from college.  (With two degrees.  I’m proud of myself, but also kind of wondering why the crap I did that to myself.  But it’s too late now, so.)  If you’ve been reading this blog recently, you know I’ve been looking for jobs and trying to plan for the real world, for my next steps.  And y’all — it’s kind of hard.

I know I am not the first person to grow up and leave home.  And honestly, I do feel very well-prepared (as prepared as I can be at this point, anyway).  I know I don’t know everything there is to being an adult, but I feel like I can handle what will come my way next.

The thing is, I don’t know what that is.

My degrees will be in Marketing and Spanish, so (obviously) I’d like to find a job where I can use one or both of those.  I’ve been applying to jobs and internships since last summer, and still have gotten nowhere.  I have a Plan A, and a Plan B, and a half-baked Plan C.  I have long-term goals I know I can achieve, and I know it’ll take some doing to get there.  I’d just really like to know which one I will be starting on in two months, you know?

I’m at the point in life where I’m starting to have to make big decisions.  I’ve made biggish decision before, like deciding where to go to college, what to major in, and whether or not to move off campus.  I’ve decided not to go grad school, even though I considered it.  I’ve decided what I want to pursue long-term.  Those are all big decisions.

But now, I’m starting to make decisions I can’t turn back from.  The boyfriend and I are starting to plan for engagement and marriage.  We’re planning which city to move to, and how much we want to save up for a down payment on a house, and which big expenses we’ll need to make in the next three to five years.  I’m making decisions that will completely rule out other options, which I’ve never really done before.

I’m not really nervous, per se.  I know a lot of people my age who are terrified of graduating, because they have no idea about the future.  But I do have an idea, and I am not afraid I won’t be able to make a living or anything like that.  I know I’ll be able to move out of my parents’ house, and I know I’ll be able to find some kind of employment, even if it’s not necessarily my first choice.  The thing with me is I know I’m about to be independent, and I’m really making my own decisions.  And I know that some of the decisions I make may not be what others want for me.

That shouldn’t be a big deal.  After all, it’s my life, right?  But like any child, I do want to please my parents, and I want them to be on board with all my decisions.  I know they are with my job plans.  But the boyfriend and I are planning on moving in together after graduation, mostly to save money.  And neither of our parents are thrilled with that idea.

I’m the oldest kid in my family.  It’s up to me to kind of draw lines.  The thing is, I’m not sure where to draw this one, and I don’t know if my parents are, either.  On one hand, we both know that it is my life, and I am going to make the decisions that I feel are best.  But on the other, I do want them on board.  Even if it’s reluctantly.  But the decision is pretty much already made — the boyfriend turned down the housing he was offered through his internship so that we could move in together, and neither of us can really afford our own apartment by ourselves.  So now we just have to hope our parents will go along with it.

It’s been weird this semester to see our lives start to fall into place.  We both knew that this would be happening, but it’s an odd feeling to actually be searching for apartments and making real plans.  It’s nice and exciting, as I knew it would be.  I wasn’t counting on feeling a little nervous, too.  But I’d be a robot if I wasn’t.  As nerve-wracking as it is, I can’t wait for these 1.75 months to fly by so I can dive into whatever happens next.

Discussion: What Makes an Adult?

There’s a term that’s been floating around the Internet for a few years now that’s become a very popular term among my generation.  According to urbandictionary.com, that oh-so-erudite resource, the word is:

Adulting (v): to do grown up things and hold responsibilities such as a 9-5 job, a mortgage/rent, a car payment, or anything else that makes one think of grown ups.

I’ve been thinking about this term a bit lately, mostly because I see it so much online.  Many bloggers I follow use it, since a lot of them are around my age, and I see it all the time on Facebook and Twitter.  Even my actual, real-life friends use it sometimes when speaking with their actual mouths.  I’ve been guilty of using it.

The other day, for reasons I can’t remember, my mom and I had a brief discussion about the word.  She had heard a poll on NPR about what makes an adult, and the top picks were, as they are in the quote above, owning a home, having a permanent job, and getting married.

However, we agreed that that’s not exactly right.  Anybody with a bit of money and the ability to set an alarm can have a job or a house or a spouse.  So what makes a real adult?

My definition was the ability to prioritize.  I think a child becomes an adult when he or she realizes what is important in life and can prioritize based on that.  For example, knowing that family continues after jobs are over should hopefully cause an adult to make time for his or her family, even when he or she could — and maybe even wants to — stay late at the office in order to make an impression or achieve a work goal.  Of course, that is not to say that work goals aren’t important — quite the contrary.  It’s learning to balance all goals and knowing which ones to cut back on if needed that really makes a mature adult.

My mom agreed, but had her own spin.  She said that a person is an adult when they can take responsibility for their decisions and actions.  Many college students, for example, rent their own apartments or even houses, but not all of them make responsible decisions in other areas, such as health or relationships.  She also added that this doesn’t mean adults have all the answers — it simply means adults know how to take care of themselves and whoever they may be responsible for.  It means putting their own and their families’ best interests at heart.

At this point in my life, I don’t quite feel like an adult.  I pay for my own expenses during the school year, like rent and food, but my parents still pay for my cell phone, car insurance, and many other things.  I’m extremely glad both that I am able to support myself to the extent I am and that my parents are able and willing to help me out on things I can’t pay for.  However, I personally will feel like much more of an adult when I am able to pay for all of my own expenses (and hopefully buy my parents some nice things too!).  For me, monetarily supporting myself will be a big and wonderful step.  (Although I know I might not think that after a few months’ worth of bills.)

However, even though I still have that step to take, I also feel like I and many of my friends are more of adults than many “adults” I know.  Most of the people I hang out with really have their priorities straight — they know what is important in life and their words and actions show it.  They don’t put anyone down or exclude them based on appearance or opinion and they know how to disagree respectfully — at least most of the time.

We all have our flaws, of course.  I’m not always good at prioritizing my family or friends, I tend to have a negative attitude and consequently don’t try as hard as I should sometimes, and I judge people more than I ought to.  However, I know that I tend to do these things, and I (usually) try to combat them.  I think that’s another thing that makes an adult — knowing you have flaws and taking steps to better yourself.

I’ve really come to love the community of bloggers I follow and that follow me.  If you liked this post or it made you think, please don’t hesitate to comment!  I would love to know others’ thoughts on this topic.  Thanks for reading!