I unloaded a U-Haul and then organized an entire for one of my best friends moving into her first home today. This is just the most immediate milestone someone I love and am excited for has reached in the last month.
If your Facebook feed or friend group is anything like mine, it’s probably littered with a smattering of four- and five-year anniversaries, a couple of newborn shots, a nauseating engagement session, a stunning wedding, a huge vacation on a different continent by four different friends, new jobs, promotions, relocations, new homes, and an alarming number of sonograms. Simply put, life is happening for so many people I love and I am so excited for them. Truly, deeply excited for each and every one of them.
But when is my turn?
I take a lot of solace knowing that my people, my squad, my clique, whatever will celebrate raucously for me like I have for them. That’s how we do life. That’s what community is. That’s what love is. That’s what friendship is.
But when I come home to my room—a blessing of an escape just for me—I sit and struggle with how to feel. I don’t want my friends to know how hard it is for me to watch their life continue on sometimes. I don’t want them to feel guilty for asking me to help paint a room or move furniture or pick out a tuxedo or when they send their new sonogram or baby photo. I love every second of it and wouldn’t be anywhere else.
But it’s exhausting. And it’s exactly the types of things my depression uses as a weapon against me. There’s no point in hoping in the timeline of my life I always pictured—I’ve quite literally missed every single milestone on it already—but it’s the reference and reckoning point that my mind grabs onto.
I recently took a ten day break from job searching at the request of my mother. Monday afternoon, just after lunch, I sat back down at my desk and opened my five job search tabs. It’s pretty easy to scan the Scripps and UT boards quickly. If I am to stay in Knoxville, I really want it to be because I’m working at one of those places. LinkedIn and ZipRecruiter I check for their recommended jobs. And then I switch to Indeed.
At this point, I am fifteen minutes into my first job search in ten days. I have ten saved searches on Indeed, and combined they had over 25,000 “new” job postings. The four I check the most alone had close to 3,000. Five pages into the first of those four, I had a panic attack. I didn’t even tell anyone. It’s not like it really matters. No one can do anything to help anyway.
The longer this process takes, the more daunting and overwhelming it feels. And this is the number one thing that has to happen—an actual career, not just a piss-off amount of money an hour “job” to “fill the time”—if I ever want to hit a half-mile stone like not having to budget for shampoo, let alone a major life occurrence milestone like buying new running shoes. I’m kidding, but it should also show you how tight of world I’m working with now.
I think the craziest thing is I don’t really want any of their actual lives. There are very few people with jobs I envy—though, there are definitely plenty with jobs I respect. I don’t like the system people are giving away so much of their life to just work and not enjoy life. I don’t like that most people never see more than the business-centric parts of the world.
Of course, I want the relationship and dad-stuff. But I’m equal parts ashamed and pragmatic to even attempt a relationship.
But really, I’m just not seeing the point right now. And it may be the depression talking. I don’t know. I’m tired. I’ll never have the life I want because I’ll either never have the money to afford it, or I’ll have to work too much and never accomplish a single thing. It’s a pretty shitty trade-off system.
I don’t know. Life is beautiful and I’m tired of being a sad sack of shit. The world is beautiful and I can’t see even the closest parts of it. People are beautiful and I can’t afford to step into life around them.
I am so beyond blessed that I can go through this time period in my life in the safety of my mother’s home. That the provision is always there, even if it’s just enough and nothing more. I’m blessed that friends come and visit me. I’m blessed that people pay for me to go to the gym out of the blue. I’m blessed that people pay for a plane ticket to go visit a friend.
I could be living in a box with no food. I’m aware of my privilege. And it just makes it all so much worse. I’m floundering and not even on the path. It’s not a race, but everyone else at least is walking somewhere.