I feel like my life is a continuous cycle of volleyemotion. It is a jockeying back and forth between happy, not happy, questioning it all, feeling satisfied, screw this, I love everyone!, and maddening complacency. I just want a normal life. Normal as in there are no financial decisions that end in gas bill versus electric bill and whose cutoff notice date is nearest. Normal as in I have the desire to do my hair and actually follow through, the interest in returning to yoga that winds up with me actually on my mat. Normal as in there is no mouse in my kitchen that knows how to avoid a goddamn glue trap, that my kids are happily back in school, that my library card hasn’t had a block placed on it due to “an abnormal amount of late returns.”
It is inevitable, this countdown of nongreatness I’ve managed to acquire so fully for myself. I had such grand plans. And yes, I know I still have time, but the fact is, time says fuck you every chance it gets. In 43 days I will be 40. I will have had 40 years on Earth. Forty years to find myself, figure myself out, live. At least 20 of those should have been enjoying myself, finding a career, starting a family. At least 12 of those have been spent being a mother. At least 19 of those have been spent in a committed relationship and marriage. Six of them were spent in college. Over 23 have been as an employee, in dead-end jobs, in jobs that had potential but I squandered chances anyway, in jobs that were just…jobs. I have yet to find that career match, that I’m happy to leave my house each day to go do something for someone else match. Because none has alleviated the gas bill versus electric bill monthly dance.
I sound ungrateful. I’m not. I’m glad to have a home and family. Glad everyone is healthy. And yet. I still want more. Is that greedy? Am I supposed to stop wanting more? Stop wanting to better myself? Stop learning? Stop preparing? I want to pay for the kids’ college. All three of them if they choose to go (I hope they choose to go). I don’t want to saddle them with loans and debt in their 20s. I wish I’d had someone keep that from happening to me. I’ll be paying student loans until I’m dead and even then Sallie Mae will be knocking on my urn saying we know you’re home. I will still be paying my own loans when my children are in college. That’s bullshit.
I’m not upset about turning 40. Fuck 40. Seriously. I am still hot. Forty isn’t the issue. The issue is by now, by 40, certain things should have been accomplished. I have so much I’m still trying to do and sometimes it feels unfair to still be focusing on me when I have three other humans to give attention. Shouldn’t I, by now, be in a long-term career, not still scouring the want ads every few months to find something “better”? Shouldn’t I, by now, have made those home repairs? Shouldn’t I, by now, have a firm handle on adult acne, on what make the hemorrhoids worse, on not drinking so much Pepsi, let alone tequila? Shouldn’t I, by now, not dread the mail because of bills, not avoid the phone because of bills, not still be in debt of any kind outside of a house and car? Shouldn’t I, by now, have finished writing that novel or three? Shouldn’t I, by now, have figured out that a backup tampon is essential, that the dishes won’t wash themselves, that the green Skittles taste no better alone or with another flavor, that I won’t get a strawberry shortcake bar unless I eat one on the way home from the grocery store? Shouldn’t I, by now, have figured out how to get my credit score above -42?
When did I become so money conscious? When did I start to feel like it is the center of it all, it is the downfall of us all, it is the thing that can keep my lights on and if I don’t have enough of it, go find the flash lights? What kind of money management am I teaching my children? I don’t want to teach them the art of Putting Something On It instead of paying in full each month. I don’t want them to follow in my footsteps, not regarding money, at least. And by now, shouldn’t I have a clear handle on how to keep that from happening?
I don’t want to think in terms of by now but how do I stop? It slams itself into my head and keeps me up at night like Planet Rock did the other day. You can’t sleep when Planet Rock is playing in your head. You can’t sleep when also in your head is you should have done [insert EVERYTHING] by now and your life is meaningless as a result no matter how hard you try and why are you still trying when you should be focusing on your children and if you die tonight when Afrika Bambaataa and the beat finally stop in your head, you will not be known for anything other than a woman who squandered her life and boy we hope her kids turn out to be something but when asked about their mom they’ll all say oh my mom had such attainable goals but she never finished anything she started and didn’t teach me that the E in the car didn’t mean enough.
Shouldn’t I, by now, have the answers?