So Saturday, October 29th, was my birthday. I’m now 31 years old. So I thought I’d take stock and talk a bit about aging, where I am, where I thought I’d be, and all that jazz.
Twenty years ago, if I’d been asked where I’d be now, I’d have told you (with all my 11-year-old confidence) that I was gonna be a veterinarian. Although I still love animals, I’m glad I changed my mind about that, because I know now that I would never have been able to deal with the amount of pain vets see on a daily basis, especially from creatures who don’t understand what’s happening.
Ten years ago, if I’d been asked “where do you see yourself in ten years”, I would’ve said something like “starting my opera career”. At 21, I was 100% sure that I was going to be an opera singer. There’s still a significant part of me that wishes that’s how my life had gone, but being older and wiser (although still young and foolish), I know now that it never would’ve worked out. Even if I’d somehow gotten over the significant hurdle of fatphobia in the opera world (and it is a big issue right now, no pun intended), I lacked a lot of the drive and self-marketing capability that’s required for a successful opera career. Not to mention, having to travel constantly, being away from my cats and having to budget my earnings, all the little things that are part and parcel of that life would’ve been incredibly stressful for me. I know, objectively, that I have the singing talent (although my voice is woefully out of shape now, almost ten years after graduating with a degree in singing), and if talent was the only factor, I would’ve been a star. But talent is only one small part of the greater equation, and I didn’t have the drive or fortitude necessary to sustain me when talent wasn’t enough.
Last year at this time, I thought I’d already be in Germany by now, with a job and an apartment, happily plugging away at translations by day, going grocery shopping and then cuddling with my cats by night, thoroughly enjoying my life in the country I’d wanted to call home for so long. It’s frustrating as hell, feeling stuck here, like being on the edge of the Grand Canyon and knowing you really want to be on the other side, but having no idea how to get over there. I’ve been applying to jobs since I got here, only had a couple interviews, and so far no offers. I’ve even applied to some retail jobs nearby, just so I can have a source of income while I look (since my mom can’t afford to pay all my bills in addition to her own), but even those haven’t called me back (not surprisingly, since I have an M.A. and I’m applying for entry-level retail positions). I’ve applied to jobs in the US as well as Germany, and I’m waiting to hear back about a position I interviewed for on the 21st in Tennessee, but suffice it to say I’m not where I want to be yet. Part of me really hopes I get this job, because it would be very good to finally have a job, and I have friends who live in the area (my best friend from college and her husband and daughter, specifically), but another part of me shouts that this isn’t what I want, it isn’t where I want to live, it isn’t what I want to do (admin assistant, not translation stuff). My mom assumes I’ll take it if they offer it, and I probably will, but it rankles that after months of job searching, this is all I’ve gotten offered. It’s so frustrating because I want so much more. On the plus side, I would be using my German regularly, as the parent company is German, and I heard German being spoken while I was there waiting for my interview (as well as during the interview, of course).
Next year, when I turn 32, I hope it’s with a night on the town, or a quiet dinner in my apartment, with friends. I hope it’s in a town or city I love (whether I thought I’d end up there or not), with people I care about (or at least have a good time with). At the very least, I hope it’s with a job and my own apartment, feeling more like an adult again. Although spending my birthday with my mom was pleasant, and going sailing yesterday was really fun, I definitely don’t want to be here next year.