Fifteen years ago from tonight was my Senior Prom, which I attended with my high school boyfriend. Normally the evening’s events would be dinner, prom, hotel in that order. We didn’t exactly do it that way. I’m not a follow the rules kind of girl. We ate. But then we went to the hotel. We made it to the prom eventually, but, well, my hair was a mess by that time.
So, fast forward 15 years. Staring out at a sea of traffic in front of me this morning, trying to get to work, I wonder, how the hell did I get here? Not on 495 per se, but here, to this juncture in life. When did I turn 33? Where did all these years go? It’s a mystery. When I look back, I see a complete blur, reminiscent of the Motley Crue video for “Home Sweet Home” where they speed it ahead and their tour just flies by in a whirlwind. And now, I’m caught up in a life that I’m not sure is mine.
I’m looking through the windshield of Speedracer and I feel like I could chuck it all. So easily. I tell myself over and over that I’m doing this thing called life all wrong. Totally wrong. I’m not living it. It’s living me. It’s using me. It’s making a mockery of me. I don’t know what it’s doing but it’s using me and I’m not paying attention.
We get one body, and roughly 80 years on earth. No one knows where we were before. No one knows what happens after we go. All we know is what we are and what we can be when we are here. Thoughts like that put things into perspective for me. I’m spending countless hours a week commuting, countless hours working for the man. Why? Who said this is the right way to do it? I would trade all this in for a house at the beach and a steady bartending gig. I could be involved in conversations about fishing and tanning instead of politics and how much it sucks to date in D.C.
Three summers ago, I went to the Florida Keys for a much needed vacation. I ate at a well known restaurant in the Keys, and remembered the bartender as the same man who served me drinks at this same bar while I was in college, 8 years earlier. (I went to U. Miami and we often trekked down to the Keys on weekends.) I asked him about it, wondering if he was the same man I recalled. He said, “Yup. I’ve worked here 23 years. I haven’t been north of Key Largo in the last 17 years.” That sounded so incredible. That man is what I aspire to…someone who just doesn’t care what else there is because the life they have is so very much the life they want.
My industry is crashing down and for the first time, I don’t care. I’ve checked my bank accounts. They are all in good shape. If I were to get laid off, the solution would be so easy. Find someone still enchanted with D.C. to rent my condo. Pack the dogs, hit the road, reclaim my life, and be forever the girl who showed up at the prom with her hair a mess.
I can understand a little of what you are feeling. I have had similar thoughts lately about what I am doing and where I am headed. And I don’t know what the answers are…
You can’t leave before we go out for drinks. Which will have to be next week. I might be going to the shore with Givenchy suit guy this weekend.
Yeah, I’ve thought about chucking it all too. But I’m secretly worried that I’ll end homeless with a sign that says “will assassinate recalcitrant feudal lords for food”.
Guess I’m a little behind the times – I’m still hoping to figure out who I’d be, if where I was and whom I was with didn’t matter. Congratulations on figuring that out – sounds like you’re ahead of the game, to me…
I have been feeling this way for about 5 years….move to Hawaii…get a bartending job or learn how to scuba and instruct and just take it easy. 🙂 Do all the things I want to do…Or move to Florence and write all day…only prob for me is the money…debt sucks. Parents rule. Whatever you do baby…you’ll do it beautifully…Good luck!!
Live the life you love… it is the hardest thing in the world to do yet it seems like it should be so simple to figure out. Fear of failure, self-doubt, the security of “routine” all work as obstacles.
Cheesy spirituality aside, I am reminded of this excerpt from Richard Bach’s “Illusions”…
Oh, and why was your hair so messed up for the prom? Let me guess… you drove a convertible with the top down? You big silly!
Join the club baby, we all feel that. I actually had somewhere in my files, an email that described your situation as the “quarter-life crisis”. If you decide to do the bartending gig, I could join you as the cook, since when I get the questions and the itching for a change, I go back to my first dream: Cooking for a living. And I agree with KassyK, whatever you do in life, will be done Velvet style, hence: Beautifully
Its all a matter of attitude…can you not be that person wherever you are, even in DC?
-Spoken by the lady with separation anxiety…some folks I bid farewell to easily…others not so much.
So do you want to be Thelma, or Louise?
In the words of the immortal “Tony Montana” aka “Scarface”, a man who chased his dreams–
“What you lookin’ at? You all a bunch of f-in’ assholes. You know why? You don’t have the guts to be what you wanna be? You need people like me. You need people like me so you can point your f-in’ fingers and say, “That’s the bad guy.” So… what that make you? Good? You’re not good. You just know how to hide, how to lie. Me, I don’t have that problem. Me, I always tell the truth. Even when I lie. So say good night to the bad guy! Come on. The last time you gonna see a bad guy like this again, let me tell you. Come on. Make way for the bad guy. There’s a bad guy comin’ through! Better get outta his way!”
Seriously gave me goosebumps-I think about this All The Time. Part of me wants that little thing to happen that is the catalyst for moving somewhere awesome and beautiful (not that I don’t love VA) and living the ultimate. But then the other part of me thinks, “Idiot, you don’t need a catalyst, just do it!”
i say make a run for it without even thinking twice. someone has to do it and i’m too busy enjoying beautiful days such as this in my neon-drenched office hunched over my glowing monitor. sweet paradise.
There are strategic places in life where you look back and you look ahead and you just take stock. Sounds like you are there. Also sounds like you have a plan. You only have one life to live, so make the best of it. Squeeze every bit of enjoyment out, I say.
Wow. Can’t believe you hit on this today. With my current situation, I was up until 2AM last night in similar thoughts. And there you go giving me another panic attack! You must find other conversation other than our industry! You KNOW I read this! 🙂
Hell yeah I feel that way too.
But then I’m also the guy who went back to college full time at 28. I’m getting there. There are plenty of things for me to do. Places to go. People to meet. What I have before me is not my final destination. Neither is you like at the moment Velvet, we are works in progress, we are seekers.
So we realize that what we have isn’t what we want, we’re still ahead of the game.
Plenty of people don’t even know that.
You rawk Velvet, your best days are ahead of you not behind.
To play devil’s advocate, the reason that your hypothetical withdrawal from the work-a-day world would not work is the same reason that you are such a brilliant writer; you are finely in tune with a variety of people and you need that stimuli.
There is a reason that Hemingway left the Keys and went to that shack in Montana… for the intellectually gifted like yourself, there is only one “permanent vacation.”
Hang in there, kiddo. Sometimes everyday life IS like the prom: years of build-up to an event that is never as good as you expect, yet you remember it being the best it could possibly be.
And if someone else understands what I think I meant by that, please explain it more eloquently…
Right. That last person explained it. But, you knew all that.
Don’t be afraid to write your own guide. Teach your own course.
I realized that I kept “grading” myself on what I had acheived, where I lived, etc. WHO IS GRADING ME BUT ME??
Now, some would wish I hadn’t used ALL CAPS, BUT WHO CARES?
Does it seem that I am yelling? Well, I am not, but what is really important, how I feel or how the masses view me?
Hmm. Now, someone pass me a daquiri.
You do what you have to in order to survive.
It’s important to have your own goals to guide you, rather than let life drive you to where you don’t necessarily want to be and then rationalize their lives away. Why else are there so many unhappy relationships – in work and personal life? People have no goals, and are a little too laid back.
That said – don’t just run from something (although DC is a great place to run from). Run TO something. What is your goal? What is it going to take to make it happen?
V, you’ve spoken as a woman who is comfortable in her own skin, and happy with her life. Clearly that girl with the messy hair hasn’t gone anywhere – she’s still there. She’s just smarter, that’s all.
god i seriously love you and love how you think. i want you to be happy.
and if its cheap rent, i am in lol.
I agree with Sharkie. There have been times in only two years where I thought about how easy it would be to have an “easier” life. But I’m tired and have a lot of homework, and we have to talk for real soon.
Siryn, you always have the best advice. Run TO something. Everybody has the idle thought on a Monday morning about what they’d rather be doing, but few take the time and effort to research, plan, and actually do the things they dream. I say start planning with small steps, at it will happen with time– and with thoughtful deliberation… rather than crazy-ass not-thought-out impulses that have gotten me in lots of trouble. Many times.
my comment is if you do go and live your life as a carefree bartender, make sure you still blog. The stories that you’d have then…
Funny story, I remember in 11th grade, our English teacher made us fill something out and one of the questions was what we wanted to do when we “grow up”. I put down “bartender in Boston”. I even researched different bartending schools. In front of everyone, she told me that it was a stupid thought and that’s not a career. Tell that to your Key West friend…
Escape to Australia. It’s bloody wonderful.
“No one knows what happens after we go.”
I can tell you, you daft cunt! But first I need to know whether it was number one or number two.
i could dig that life. pourin’ drinks in the sand. workin on my tan. ahhh yes. the romance.
Coming from a girl who has done it…DO IT. Last September I took a leave of absence from my current job and moved to Maui to work in a restaurant. It was an amazing experience and helped me figure out how to live the life I want to live, without sacrificing the financial part. I figured out the things I need to do to have my current job and still be happy. Would highly recommend doing it…even if it’s just for a few months. Good luck!