Well, it's official. I'm 28. Yesterday was my birthday. I just keep getting older, and I really don't like it. It was fine when I was younger, trying to hit that ever-important 21, and it was even ok up until 25. But since 25 it just keeps getting more and more depressing. And now I'm 28, two years to 30, and what have I got to show for myself? Not much in my opinion.
Sure, I live in France, next to Paris (practically every Americans' dream), but I'm not particularly happy about it. As a result I work a job I HATE and as each year goes by I wonder when I'm going to get to start my career. You could argue that, as an English teacher, I have started my career. But I'm not talking about just any old career, but MY career, the one that I WANT to do, the one that makes me happy. I want a job that I enjoy. I'm sick of dreading going to bed every night because that just means morning will come and I'm tired of literally forcing myself out of bed every morning knowing that the day is just going to bring the misery of teaching some more stupid, pointless English lessons. I can't stand the fact that the only thing that gets me through each and every week is the fact that the weekend will come and that the only time I feel even remotely happy is on the weekend, yet I still manage to spoil half of the weekend thinking about work.
Basically, I just thought that by 28 I would have started my career. I would be done doing jobs I didn't like (or in this case truly hate) and I would be doing something that made me happy, regardless of the amount of money earned. Instead, yesterday I realized that I am still in a thankless job that makes me more and more miserable every day and I find myself actually longing for the days of pizza delivery when I was in school. Perhaps it's not the best job in the world, but I sure was much happier when I was doing it and I didn't feel depressed every day of my life.
Maybe my expectations were just too high. I thought that if I worked hard, got the degrees, got good grades and dedicated myself to different projects that I would be assured of having a good career by this time. Of course, I had never factored a move to France into my equation, but I can't imagine that this country is all that is holding me back. So what is my problem? Why do I feel like my life is so much more of a failure at 28 than at 22 or 23 or 25 even? I mean I live in France, I'm married, I have a nice (by Paris standards) apartment, I have an adorable cat, I have friends (of course, most of them reside in the US), I have enough money to live decently (though not extravagantly by any means, but we aren't in the poorhouse either). But for some reason, with all of that, my life at 28 feels incomplete and I know it is the career that is missing.
Most of my friends in the US are already well established in their chosen careers and I have nothing but a job I despise. And now that I'm almost 30, I'm really starting to feel that all hope of starting my career is gone, that I will still be dragging myself through metro tunnels and around Paris lugging a heavy Longchamp full of books to various companies 20 years from now, and that is a future that makes me feel sick.
I know I never really seem to be that positive about France and about living in France, and I think that the biggest reason why I'm always depressed and down in the dumps about my life here is my job. But who knows, perhaps today I'm down because of getting older, but maybe 28 is when my career will really start.
And, on the slightly brighter side, though we didn't do anything special for my birthday yesterday because I was gone for work from 8am-8pm, Lionel did at least get me some flowers:
And he claims there will eventually (maybe this weekend) be a present, which I'm guessing will either be a new Longchamp since my old one is definitely feeling the pain of lugging those books around Paris, or a Blackberry.